Overall Record: 11-5 (Regular Season) 0-1 (Postseason)
Division Winner? No, and it speaks to both the strength of the AFC West and the ultimate weakness of the Chiefs that their divisional record was unfavorable at 2-4. With the Broncos in the Superbowl and the Chargers managing to sneak into the playoffs, the Chiefs found themselves sandwiched between two talented teams who both managed to proceed further in the playoffs. A surprising development, considering the Chiefs were the last team to hold an undefeated streak in 2013.
Milestones Of 2013: Coming off of an abysmal 2012 season, it seemed as though the Chiefs might have already had most of the pieces in place to quickly turn things around. With multiple Pro Bowl players and a fresh vacancy at the head coaching position, Andy Reid’s tenure in Philadelphia ended at just the right time for everyone involved. He quickly jumped at the opportunity to lead the Chiefs, and in the process retooled the roster to suit his offensive mindset. Alex Smith, cast off from the 49ers after the emergence of Colin Kaepernick, seemed to fit Reid’s system like a glove and, more so, was a solid counterpart to the Chiefs’ revitalized defense. Smith’s tendency to avoid mistakes kept the Chiefs defense fresh, and they took advantage of this by preying on opposing quarterbacks and forcing their opponents to play to their strengths.
Essentially, all the talent this team maintained during a drought of a 2012 season was put in great positions to succeed by a coaching staff that has a wealth of experience in doing just that. What remains to be seen is how the team can improve going forward; but in discussing the here and now, Chiefs fans have to be more than happy with the turn-around.
The Season In Review
The Chiefs didn’t lose a game until November 17th. In the ten weeks prior, their games were mostly close contests, decided by the narrow margins of a team that prides itself on safe execution, strong defense and a handful of playmakers making their plays. A rousing opening day victory over the hapless Jaguars was followed up by a near miss against the Cowboys, but two weeks in and you had a sense that this was a team destined for bigger things. That feeling was ultimately turned to reality as Andy Reid took his new team back to Philadelphia and thoroughly out-coached the Eagles’ new kid on the block, Chip Kelly. After this, each victory was at first icing on the 3-0 cake…until one Sunday, the Chiefs had their bye week and were 9-0. The attention of the football world was squarely in the west, between the Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers…but the Chiefs certainly earned some of that spotlight as well.
It wasn’t until after their bye week that the easily missed truth of the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs was revealed; this was a good team that, despite their record, couldn’t hold their own against the bigger dogs in their pack. In their last six games, they lost twice to the Broncos and Chargers, showing that they weren’t quite ready to compete with their own division. Despite these losses, and a let down against the Colts, the Chiefs managed to finish 11-5 and take their mostly successful season to the next level.
What happened on that next level will remain in our memories forever. After the Colts had gotten the better of them only several weeks before, the Chiefs were out to prove a point in the wildcard round, jumping to a huge 38-10 lead early in the 3rd quarter. Game over? Absolutely.
Only, it was the Chiefs who had lost, and in such a remarkable, jaw-dropping fashion that the entire feel-good season seemed to be a memory of some long forgotten success. In retrospect, however, the 45-44 outcome of that game doesn’t quite tarnish the otherwise solid season in Kansas City. The only real concerns, beyond those that have followed Andy Reid his entire career, center around whether or not they can overcome the Broncos and Chargers in 2014.
There are few holes on this team, but they could definitely use help at wide receiver. Dwayne Bowe has been a one-man show at the position for the vast majority of his time in Kansas City, and as Alex Smith has shown in his later years in San Fransisco, he can shine with the right talent at his disposal. The offensive and defensive lines have health and age-related question marks, but a wide receiver that is more polished than Dexter McCluster and more athletic than Bowe is a necessity this offseason.
Beyond that, the team is in excellent shape to shore up depth across the roster. With a stacked front end of talent on both sides of the ball and wiggle room under the salary cap, the Chiefs can use the draft to stockpile picks and dig for diamonds in the rough(er) rounds past the 3rd.
In all, the Chiefs can easily bounce back into contention in 2014, so long as they maintain their composure and don’t let the disappointing finish to this season carry over.
QB – B
RB – A-
WR – C+
TE – D
OL – B+
DL – A
LB – B
CB – B
FS/SS – B+
K/P – B
KR/PR – B
Team MVP: Jamaal Charles, RB
Offensive MVP: Alex Smith, QB
Defensive MVP: Justin Houston, DE
Rookie Of The Year: Eric Fisher, OT (The trade for Alex Smith technically applies to the Chiefs’ draft class, which easily makes him a co-winner in this category)
Biggest Disappointment: That Wild, Wild, wildcard game.
Very Early 2014 Prediction: 10-6, Top AFC Wildcard.