On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs did something they hadn't done since 2016: lose a game in the month of September. Initially, the team's loss to the Baltimore Ravens sparked a ton of overreactions and emotionally charged takes from many. Now that the shock value has worn off, it's time to reiterate something about the Chiefs.
They're playing the long game.
No position group on the Chiefs is a finished product. The units you see in mid-to-late September aren't the same ones you'll see at the end of the year — that's been said time and time again. NFL seasons aren't sprints, but rather grueling marathons. It's the job of the team to make sure it's well-conditioned and well-positioned for sustained success. Conner Christopherson of Arrowhead Report joined me on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast to discuss that further.
In the Chiefs' heartbreaking loss to the Ravens on Sunday night, the run defense was extremely poor. The same was true against the Cleveland Browns a week prior. With that said, both Cleveland and Baltimore are two of not just the top rushing teams in the current NFL, but two of the top rushing teams ever. The odds of the Chiefs continually playing historically bad run defense are quite low. Those who believe things are truly this terrible are almost surely being prisoners of the moment.
Speaking of that, a popular phenomenon comes to mind: process vs. result. If the Chiefs kick a game-winning field goal on Sunday instead of turning the ball over, how much changes? Does your outlook on Clyde Edwards-Helaire become less pessimistic? Does Andy Reid catch as much heat for "taking his foot off the gas"? What about his decision to take the ball out of Patrick Mahomes' hands? Are the complaints about Steve Spagnuolo's defense anywhere near as plentiful and loud? One play — a very untimely fumble by an otherwise sure-handed player — shifted countless perspectives.
The Chiefs are a play away from being 2-0 right now. They're also a play or two away from being 0-2. That's the nature of football: Nothing is as set-in-stone as we think. At the end of the day, sure, the results are what teams play for. Although that's the case, their processes are what they learn from. The better the process, the higher chance of a positive outcome. Poor processes leading to good results shouldn't be praised excessively, and negative results stemming from solid processes shouldn't lead to a "the sky is falling" mentality.
Again, the 2021 Chiefs are playing the long game. They will be a different team every week. The important thing is that they grow. A narrow loss to a quality football team shouldn't cause anyone to panic. If you're uneasy, keep in mind that there are 15 more games left to play — and that's without considering the playoff slate that the Chiefs are slowly gearing up for. Check back in a month or so.
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