Inconsistent, that’s what the Chiefs are, but since the flop in Denver, I realized something.

Inconsistent, that’s what the Chiefs are, but since the flop in Denver, I realized something.

Not once has Todd Haley named his team good. He didn’t when the Chiefs were 3-0 and his opinion didn’t change at 5-2. Haley wouldn’t bite. Haley smiled more at 4-1, but he wasn’t convinced. Last Sunday brought things back into perspective, not for Haley, but for fans like me. Like a bungee cord, the Broncos game snapped realism back into place. Kansas City isn’t there – not yet.

It was a tough loss and a hard lesson, in particular for first year players like Eric Berry, who’s being educated on the ups and downs of an NFL season.

“We’ve went back to the basics, you know all those things, like a wake-up call,” said Berry. “This is my first NFL season and from the looks of it there are a lot of ups and downs. You got to find your routine, but don’t get so involved in it. You have to find a way to keep it going without getting lullabied to sleep. You have to find that energy and not go through the motions, which we’re doing now and getting back to having fun.”

For the first time this season Berry felt embarrassment, but Berry told me he doesn’t believe in a “bad” team, because the Chiefs have played in some tough games. Berry did take some positives from the Broncos game.

“I found out that we have a lot of guys on our team that will fight to the end no matter the situation,” said Berry. “Even though the score went down the way it did, everyone still stayed in. All the starters were still in on defense, and everyone was still in on offense, so I know that this team is something special and that we have each other’s back regardless of what’s going on. I took that as a positive thing.”

The Chiefs have had victory, but since Buffalo, things have gotten sloppy. I know Haley likes his cup of tea divided into quarters, but in their last six games the Chiefs are 2-4. That’s me: Just put it on the table. But Haley, from day one, has kept the optimism in check.

It was pure carnage. Before the Chiefs saw what hit them, the Broncos had 21 unanswered points. Most found something else to do after the first quarter, but I must like pain, because I stayed put. When my better sense said to rake the yard, my left shoulder said one more play. It never came, but like the players, I stuck with them.

Most fans are cautiously optimistic and still happy with the improvement. When the Chiefs were 3-0 and some were talking to past Dolphins about an undefeated season not all participated in the Kool-Aid. Haley’s done a good job of not putting the cart before the horse, something I need to remember. The wagon isn’t going anywhere without the horse just like the Chiefs won’t be contenders until they become consistent. Steady is a mark of a winner.

MIKE VRABEL: “You’d like to get better every week and not win two and lose two,” Mike Vrabel said after being asked about the younger players. “But it’s part of the business; it’s not the end of the world. But you come back here and you continue to practice and work. Create an environment that’s good for the whole team.”

I asked Vrabel to define what getting back to the basics means.

“As a team we try to look at how we came out of training camp on a positive note from inside the organization,” said Vrabel. “Improvement from day one of training camp to the first game to the second game to the third game and tighten it back up. I think that’s what we’re trying to do. We want to get back to making sure our fundamentals are where they’re supposed to be and to concentrate on the little things. Those are the things that make a difference in these games as tight as they are in the NFL.”

ARIZONA CARDINALS: I thought the Chiefs had a favorable game against the Broncos, but I’m learning something about stats. Stats are a reflection of what a team has done, but it doesn’t guarantee you a win. The only guarantee is there are no guarantees. The Cardinals are coming into Arrowhead with a losing record. The Cardinals are 1-4 on the road this season.

The Chiefs have an overall record of 7-2-1 in their last 10 games with the Cardinals and have won four of their last five against Arizona. The Cardinals are ranked nearly last in seven different categories. Unlike Denver, there’s no threat of a passing attack, but then those are just numbers.

What matters is what Derrick Johnson said Thursday.

“We need to win this game,” said Johnson to the media. “This is a game we must win. We have to win and get back on track to lead the AFC West.”

I like that, because even though the Chiefs had the more positives going into Denver, what was lacking was the need to win. Johnson told us it’s a must-win game. The snowball has to end Sunday and melt away, because the Chiefs are still in the front seat of the AFC West. There’s plenty of time to get off the ropes and get back into the fight. It’s what Haley calls bumps in the road. The last two have been some pretty big potholes, but the key is for the Chiefs to keep on trucking and getting better.

No predictions, just go out there, Chiefs, and get back on the momentum train. Play the way you know how and win. They do that, and all will be fine.

Good day, Chiefs fans!