Photo: Jim Brown USA Today Sports
At some point the Kansas City Chiefs glass slipper may eventually fall off. But after defeating the Tennessee Titans 26-17 on Sunday afternoon one thing is absolutely clear, this football team is resilient.
Let me see if I get this straight.
The Chiefs offense didn’t find the end zone until the fourth quarter. Starting Quarterback, Alex Smith, nearly gave the game away with a third quarter interception and despite the fact the Chiefs defense was on the field the entire third quarter, they found a way to win.
Add those tidbits with the fact KC’s defense gave up 17 straight second half points. Further for the first time this season they trailed in the fourth quarter needing a touchdown to reclaim the lead they gave up.
To date, Smith hadn’t shown he could deliver a come from behind effort for his new team. But against a very talented Titans defense and the entire Chiefs nation still swimming in the non-believer pool, Smith led Kansas City on another highly successful fourth quarter drive that gave his team a lead this time they wouldn’t relinquish.
I could argue Smith was below average on Sunday. He could have had at three interceptions but also thrown for two touchdowns. Instead, he ended the day with 245 passing yards completing 20 of 39 throws, one pick and zero touchdowns.
But that’s his game and Chiefs fans better be ok with it. Because that’s all he’s been asked to do by his head coach, Andy Reid.
Now this wasn’t the most brilliant game plan by Reid, who began the game focusing on journeyman receiver, Chad Hall. And Reid’s reluctance to run the ball more still baffles me. However, the Chiefs are 5-0 and remain tied with the Denver Broncos for the division lead.
In winning on Sunday, the most impressive part of this game was the Chiefs resilient nature in the fourth quarter. The defense was brilliant in the first half especially their epic four-down goal line stance from the one-yard line late in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, the defense couldn’t get any pressure on Titans Quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The former Buffalo Bill, who entered this contest with a 4-1 career record against the Chiefs, nearly won this game with his arm and feet.
He proved to be pesky enough the Chiefs nearly forgot he had a propensity for turning the ball over down the stretch. So after the Chiefs took a 20-17 fourth quarter lead, Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions that proved to be the difference in the game. The first pick was a nifty play by Chiefs rookie cornerback, Marcus Cooper and the second by veteran safety, Quinton Demps. Both led to field goals that gave Kansas City a two-possession lead in the final stanza.
Still every Chiefs fan, including yours truly, wasn’t feeling confident Kansas City would pull out a win after giving up a late lead. The Chiefs offense had multiple chances to put the Titans away and didn’t. That’s something Reid must fix. Granted this might be the best fourth quarter team in the NFL, they still can’t continue to walk that tight rope.
Yet despite some anxious moments, they won their third game on the road this season. What this victory shows me is the 2013 edition of the Kansas City Chiefs has a long way to go before we can anoint them ready to face the Denver Broncos in six weeks.
Kansas City still has four tune up games plus their Bye Week, three of them in a row at Arrowhead, to iron out the kinks and really put a statement on the season. Right now the Broncos are the best team in the NFL. The Saints are probably the next best team while the Chiefs sit right behind those heavyweights.
I’m not going to make excuses the Chiefs got somewhat lucky on Sunday. But in crunch time, as they’ve done all season long, they outplayed their opponent in the fourth quarter to win another football game. And that’s all that matters.
That’s the mark of a good football team; one that very well could win their next four games before that Mile High Showdown where both teams could stand 9-0.
Oh Baby what a game that might be.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
It wasn't pretty but who cares Chiefs are 5-0.
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