Chiefs begin second half still with playoff aspirations
Chiefs coach Andy Reid insists that September defeat remains firmly in the past.
''They got us. I said that after the game,'' Reid said Monday as the Chiefs, now on a modest two-game win streak, returned to work after a week off.
''They won the game. That's all that counts. You move on and you get ready for this game.''
The Chiefs (3-5) head into the second half of their season still harboring playoff hopes, but the road isn't about to get any easier.
Kansas City's game at Denver begins a stretch of three of the next four games on the road.
And the Broncos are sure to be smarting from their first loss of the season.
Denver has beaten Kansas City seven straight times, including earlier this season, when it scored twice in a span of 27 seconds in the fourth quarter for a 31-24 victory.
''They're the best team in the division, right? And so they're holding that. And they've had a good season to this point,'' Reid said.
''You've got to be able to beat them to take charge of the AFC West, and that's how it rolls. That's what is real. The important part on our side is we take care of our business - study them, respect them, get ready to play a good game.''
After a moment's hesitation, Reid clarified: ''Four quarters of a good game.''
Playing even one quarter of a good game against the Broncos figures to be more difficult this time around. Star running back Jamaal Charles, whose fumble cost Kansas City dearly in that first meeting, is out for the season with a knee injury.
Other players have been banged up, though most of them benefited from the week off following Kansas City's victory over Detroit in London.
''I think what they'll do is go back in and re-MRI it here, and see where it's at,'' Reid said. ''It comes down to making sure he's OK to play. If not, we'll see how much longer it'll take.''
Grubbs did not practice during a short workout Monday, and Reid declined to say whether the injury could be long term. But he did say that if Grubbs is unavailable against Denver, the Chiefs would trot out the same offensive line that they used against the Lions.
Not that it's a bad alternative.
The Chiefs carved up Detroit for 206 yards and four touchdowns rushing, one each by four different players. Even quarterback Alex Smith got into the act, ripping off a 49-yard run and accounting for 78 yards rushing and a touchdown in the 45-10 rout.
Sure, Smith was still sacked three times. But on the whole, the offensive line held up, even rushing to protect running back Charcandrick West and others when things got testy.
''Our job as offensive lineman, we always talk about, `Protect the quarterback, protect the football and protect our brothers,''' Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck said.
''And at the same time make your presence felt. The defense has got to feel you every single play, and so if it gets a little bit chippy, within the rules of the game, we want to make sure we're the aggressor.''
That aggressiveness may be the biggest change from early in the season.
Kansas City lost five straight beginning with that game against Denver, and Reid - in a roundabout way - acknowledged Monday that there may have been some hangover from such a letdown.
But he also promised the Chiefs are now pointed squarely toward the future.
''You could probably argue that, there was a bit (of a hangover). I haven't looked at it like that,'' Reid said. ''You just have to keep rolling. They got us.''
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