The Kansas City Chiefs were given an opportunity to send the rest of the AFC a statement and get back above .500 with a critical win over the Buffalo Bills. The team squandered that chance, and now the repercussions have to be dealt with.
At 4-1, the Bills essentially have a three-game lead over the 2-3 Chiefs when it comes to the race for the conference's top seed. Not only is Sean McDermott's squad two wins ahead of Andy Reid's, but now a tiebreaker comes into play as well. The Chiefs aren't completely out of contention for that spot, but it will be extremely difficult for them to climb out of the hole they've dug.
That's not just within the conference, either. With the Los Angeles Chargers' win on Sunday, they also have a two-game head start on the Chiefs and a tiebreaker to work with. There's another matchup between those two coming but with how the Chiefs have played as of late, winning the division is now worth questioning at least a bit. When asked about the team's feeling after such an ugly 38-20 loss to Buffalo, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid didn't mince words.
“They’re embarrassed by it," Reid said. "We didn’t play well. So, we all are. I surely don’t want to play that way anytime, let alone at home. We’ve got to do better. From the coaches on down to the players, we’ve got to do better.”
The Chiefs have hampered their own progress by committing costly mistakes. Dropped passes, missed tackles, a lack of communication and a large number of turnovers have made victories hard to come by for one of the NFL's most talented teams. Those miscues aren't necessarily reflections of who the Chiefs are as a team but when nearly a third of the season is filled with them, it's clearly a trend.
“Mistakes," Reid said when asked about the most frustrating element of the team's poor start to the 2021 campaign. "Those are things that frustrate you and you know that we can do better on turnovers and penalties, big plays. I know what we’re capable of and I see that. We just have to get that done. As coaches and players, we’ve got to get that done.”
The Chiefs have shown what they're capable of. They have several main pieces from the same core that won a Super Bowl just two seasons ago and returned there last year. With that said, things do need to improve. No matter how good a team is, it can't consistently win — let alone dominate — when it constantly shoots itself in the foot.
Reid knows it. His team knows it. Everyone knows it. The Chiefs need to get better if they want to accomplish the goals they set out to achieve before the season. There's still plenty of football left to play, so it isn't time to panic yet. That moment is getting closer by the week, though.