NFL Wildcard Weekend Update: The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same

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     I always try to add a bit of humor to my weekly football posts.  I’m sorry to say that this one is more sad, or should I say pathetic?  I’ll let you be the judge. 

     27 – 17.  That was the final score on November 11th when the Denver Broncos defeated the division rival  Kansas City Chiefs.  It should have also been a sign of things to come.  Prior to that Week 11 showdown, the Chiefs had not lost a single game.  In fact, they were the only team in the league to remain undefeated through Week 10 of the 2013 season.  That same team won just two games in all of 2012.  What had changed?  As it turned out, maybe not much. 

     For better than two months, the Chiefs looked not only good but dominant.  Then they lost to Denver, to San Diego, and to Denver again.  They lost five of their last seven games, their only two wins coming against the Redskins and Raiders, two last place teams.  Kansas City made it into the playoffs as a wildcard team with a record of 11 – 5.  That looks impressive, but only if you can somehow overlook the fact that they didn’t beat a team with a winning record all season long. Still, relying heavily on solid defense as well as Jamaal Charles, the league’s top rusher, they looked like they could still be contenders moving forward. 

     Against the AFC South Champion Colts, a team they’d been blow out by two weeks previously, Kansas City got off to a fast start to Wildcard Weekend.  They were up 10 – 7 at the end of the first quarter, 31 – 10 at the half, and 38 – 10 a few minutes into the third.  But over the final twenty-five minutes or so, the Chiefs were outscored 35 – 3.  Indianapolis turned the ball over four times during the game, yet it was Kansas City on the wrong end of the largest post season comeback since the Buffalo Bills used a backup quarterback to overcome a 32 point second half deficit to knock the Houston Oilers out of the playoffs more than twenty years ago.  That was one of the most memorable games in NFL playoff history and is still referred to as the comeback.  The Chiefs’ unceremonious end to their 2013 campaign may be remembered as the meltdown.  In addition to blowing a huge second half lead, they were the only wildcard team to fail to advance to the second round of the playoffs.   The Chiefs are now 0 for their last eight in post season games.  They are likewise our Losers of the Week.    

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