Looking on the Bright Side

Whenever a team loses, there always seems to be a debate among fans over which type of loss is preferable. Would you rather see your team lose in heart-wrenching fashion in the game's final seconds? Or would you prefer they get blown out early on, so that you're able to come to terms with the loss and move on by halftime?

However you come down on that issue, the unfortunate part of it is that the Chiefs are actually letting us experience the debate first-hand with their back-to-back road losses over the last two weeks. Last Sunday's overtime loss to the Raiders was a painful last-minute defeat, while this week's loss to Denver was pretty much wrapped up by the end of the first quarter.

Personally, at least in regards to this specific two-game stretch, I kinda preferred the loss to Denver. Of course, part of that is based in my hope that the team will be able to put it behind them and bounce back. But I thought it was far more painful to watch the Chiefs blow a game against Oakland that they had numerous chances to win.

Because I was able to get past the Denver loss rather quickly, I spent the final three quarters trying to focus on the positives – not just in the game, but the season overall. Since doom and gloom is spreading like storm clouds over Chiefs Kingdom, I thought a few positive observations might make for a welcome change.

Here's five reasons why things aren't as bad as they seem.

#1 - At least they didn't quit.

Down 35-0 in the second quarter, it would have been remarkably easy for the Chiefs to pack it in. But they showed some life, scoring 10 unanswered points before halftime, and putting up three touchdowns in the second half. Things obviously would have played out differently from that point forward, but looking at the score alone, if the Chiefs could have avoided that 14-point swing when the Broncos returned a Matt Cassel fumble for a touchdown, the game actually could have been close in the final minutes.

#2 - Don't forget: 3-0 turned into 3-2.

The Chiefs' hot start to the season was nearly erased by their back-to-back losses in Indy and Houston. But they pushed their record out to 5-2 before these last two losses.

Now at 5-4, the Chiefs will have another chance to regroup. They're home this weekend for a game with Arizona, who just got thumped at home by the Seahawks. Then the Chiefs travel to Seattle, which certainly won't be easy, but may be their most winnable road game since Cleveland in Week 2. Then they get their home rematch with the Broncos, a game they should have no trouble getting motivated for.

Unless the Denver loss is a sign that the team has fallen off a cliff, the Chiefs will have a chance to push their record to 8-4 before traveling to San Diego in mid-December.

#3 - The Broncos' win will quiet the talk of firing Josh McDaniels.

Todd Haley didn't like his counterpart Josh McDaniels running up the score and that should make for a very interesting re-match in three weeks.
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Not that McDaniels' job was necessarily in trouble anyway, with reports of Pat Bowlen not wanting to pay both him and Mike Shanahan when neither man is coaching the team. But this win should quiet down that talk, at least for a bit.

We discussed the Denver game here at WPI over the last week: it was one the Broncos desperately had to win, and they had two weeks of preparation for it. So kudos to them for getting the job done. But it does nothing to reverse the slide the McDaniels-led Broncos have been on for the past year.

The longer he remains in charge, the better things are for the Chiefs.

#4 - Hey, how about that quarterback?

Statistically, Matt Cassel had his best game as a Chief, throwing for nearly 500 yards and hitting four touchdown passes on the afternoon. That's great news for anyone who was desperate enough to start him on their fantasy team this week.

But as it relates to reality, I'm not sure that Cassel loading up on stats against a team playing prevent defense with a 35-0 lead is going to be all that relevant as we move forward. Maybe one of these days he'll turn in a performance like that in a game that's actually competitive.

But no matter what you think of Cassel overall, it can't be ignored that he's thrown 16 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. That's a dramatic turnaround from a season ago.

#5 - The Raiders travel to Pittsburgh this week.

Assuming the Chiefs can handle their business at home against the Cardinals, their stay in second place may not last long. This time next week, K.C. could be right back on top of the AFC West.

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