The Kansas City Chiefs began the season by opening against the defending champion New England Patriots to kick off the 2017 season of the National Football League. They went on to get the Patriots season started off on the wrong foot, as they defeated them IN Foxborough no less. They are also the only team to have defeated the Philadelphia Eagles so far this season. With those type of accolades, why is it that the title of this article is so named? Well, there are several factors, so let’s take a look.
Before the season began, they lost starting running back Spencer Ware to a season-ending knee injury. Not to make light of his injury, as it was quite devastating for him personally, the opportunity allowed the Chiefs to learn of the diamond in the rough they drafted in the form of rookie running back Kareem Hunt. Hunt has more than capably filled in while establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with. While the Ware injury has been overcome thus far, it did in fact happen and can’t be overlooked.
Safety Eric Berry, whose inspirational return from his battle with cancer, to regain his All-Pro form has been quite the story as well. He gave tight end Rob Gronkowski all that he could handle in the season opener. Unfortunately, he tore his Achilles and was lost for the remainder of the season as well.
Wide receiver Chris Conley suffered a season-ending injury and Tamba Hali started the season on the physically unable to perform list. That’s four major components that this team was counting on to contribute that are now unavailable. These types of losses are not easily overcome . . . if at all.
The performance by the defense has not been up to par. As previously mentioned, Eric Berry was lost for the season in the very first game, so that was definitely a tough pill to swallow. Pass rushing specialist Justin Houston hasn’t performed to his previous levels of production. Their defensive backfield, outside of cornerback Marcus Peters, has not played up to its usual standards. To that end, this week they signed Darrelle Revis off the street to hopefully provide some support in its defensive backfield.
On the offensive side, Tyreek Hill has not consistently been the dynamo that we saw last season. He has produced some big plays/highlight reel-worthy moments, however, they have come too few and far between from what is needed. Given their lack of depth at wide receiver, Hill is being counted on to produce from that position as well as on special teams. While doing an admirable job, more is needed from him.
Is quarterback Alex Smith looking over his shoulder at rookie Patrick Mahomes II? While his numbers suggest he is having a stellar season, after a 5-0 start, the Chiefs now sit at 6-5. Quarterback is the most magnified position in sports, and, until he leads the Chiefs to the promised land (i.e. a Super Bowl victory), he will have to continue to wonder if he is their guy. One can only wonder if Reid is going to look to make a change with his signal caller in the 2018 season.
Placekicker Harrison Butker has been quite the pickup, as he has proven to have both an accurate and strong leg. He is a bright spot as well as a building block. Tight end Travis Kelce has done his part as well, but perhaps more is also expected of him given their receiving woes.
Who knows. The season is far from over and perhaps the Chiefs can string together some wins and wind up 11-5. Until then, based on the past month, the contender that we saw start the season, has sunk into pretender status. Kansas City Chiefs fans are hopeful that Andy Reid and his staff can push the right buttons and figure out how to turn things around so that they can go back to the beginning. If so, then perhaps we’ll see them lifting the Lombardi Trophy after the season’s final game. If not, it will be “Wait Until Next Year.” Again.