Merry Christmas Chiefs Fans

On Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs gave their fans one of the best gifts of all, the gift of hope. The Chiefs playoff chances right now are dwindling quickly, yet with a dominating 20-7 win over San Diego Chargers, the Chiefs gave their fans something nice to think about while sipping egg nogg and exchanging gifts.

Okay, dominating is a strong word, but seriously, the game was never in doubt after the first quarter. The team was clicking on all cylinders, in just about every phase of the game.

The Chiefs defense frustrated the visiting Chargers, limiting running back LaDainian Tomlinson to only 67 yards rushing, and holding quarterback Drew Brees to a paltry 63.5 quarterback rating. Offensively, the Chiefs needed only for Larry Johnson to be his usual punishing self, and he pounded the Chargers for 131 yards and a touchdown.

"I think the key really, is that they played so hard," said Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil. "They played so determined. Our challenge was: what do you do when you have to. There are some teams-and I've coached them-when you have to get it done, you didn't get it done."

With today's win, the Chiefs officially eliminated the Chargers from playoff contention. Still, the Chiefs are going to need some help to make the playoffs. Next Sunday, the Chiefs have to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead, and hope the Detroit Lions beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, the last team standing between the Chiefs and the final seed of the playoffs. Also, the Chargers have to lose again to the Denver Broncos.

So, this win may not mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of the season, but it's fun to think of what this Chiefs team could do in the playoffs. I'm not going to beat the dead horse of squandered opportunities this season, but the Chiefs shouldn't be in this situation. However, despite this season of frustration, the people of Kansas City deserved to find something other than a loss this in their football stocking.

Plus, there's hope. On any given Sunday, the Lions could defeat the Steelers. Sure, it could happen. Weirder things have happened, and there's no such thing a sure thing in the National Football League. Then, if on New Years Day, the Chiefs defeat a Bengals team that more than likely will have nothing to play for; they're in the big dance.

"That was our whole goal coming in today," said Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, "just to try to stay alive and give ourselves a chance for next week. I don't know how good those chances are, but the fact remains we are still alive. Crazy things happen all the time and the fact that we still have something very valuable to play for next week. I think everybody will be ready to go."

Here's hoping the Chiefs will be ringing the New Year with a playoff berth.

"We still have a mathematical chance," said Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen. "Now we have to win one game. That's it. We'll have a nice Christmas and a couple days off, then come back to work and get ready for those Bengals."

Let's hope the three day pass the players are being given by the coaching staff is not precursor to the time off this team faces if the stars don't line up next Saturday and Sunday in the AFC.

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