The Chiefs won their fourth straight AFC West title with their win on the road against the New England Patriots, but Chiefs fans are shaking their heads and thanking their lucky stars.
The Chiefs have the talent to make the Super Bowl, but they need to learn the meaning of composure. The definition of composure is the state or feeling calm and in control of oneself. Patrick Mahomes may need to lay off making commercials and concentrate the rest of the season on the field.
However, it was great to hear all the boos at Gillette Stadium as the Chiefs dominated the entire first half. The win means the team moves forward with the goals set at the beginning of the year.
One thing that deserves to be mentioned after the fair-weather fans sold their tickets to the Green Bay and Minnesota fans is that the Chiefs do have an improved defense. That has been true in the last three games.
If the team is going to continue to excel in the playoffs, it will take the entire 53-man roster. Mahomes is the lead player, but the last three games have shown Chiefs fans that the team has become more complete with the Steve Spagnuolo-led defense.
They have improved in stopping the run. The two new safeties have made the difference in the secondary, and the pass rush has been better than solid. Spagnuolo is not afraid to bring the blitz. He has a lot of faith in his secondary and that allows the pass rush to get home. Guys like Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu make the offseason look like a success.
If special teams can become more consistent, it will make a huge difference in a playoff run. The Chiefs lost the Tennessee game because of special teams and they lost all their momentum when the Patriots blocked a punt.
If you win any championship you have to be both good and lucky. We got really lucky in the New England game when the Patriots ran out of challenges at the end. New England has had more than their share of breaks against the Chiefs through the years.
The Chiefs also need to avoid making stupid penalties at key times. The whole league has been challenged by officiating calls now dictated by technology. Every time the ball is thrown down field even the announcer seems surprised if a flag is not thrown.
The Chiefs do play hard every week. Andy Reid does a good job with his team in the locker room. They do believe in one another, but they just need to slow the roll a little to retain some composure. Winning teams play with a purpose together. Andy Reid’s lips could be read on TV as saying “that is stupid football” when the team was penalized on a kickoff with a personal foul. You can be tough and mean without being stupid.
Kudos to the coaches and players this year as they have overcome key injuries. GM Brett Veach deserves credit for building a roster with a lot of quality depth. He had a good draft last year when he picked up wide receiver Mecole Harman, defensive tackle Khalen Saunders, safety Juan Thornhill and cornerback Rashad Fenton. All four rookies have been difference makers this year when it came to injuries.
So, here we are again playoff bound, but the entire 2019 season is still ahead. It looks like the team will play at least one playoff game at home, but if the team is going to the Super Bowl, they will need to win on the road. Fortunately, so far, they have played well on the road. If the kicking game had not broken down at Tennessee, they would be undefeated on the road. The talent and coaching are good enough to win it all, but they have to continue to play hard with team confidence and composure.
• The quote of the week comes from legendary Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt: “Whatever the project, the key ingredients are persistence and determination. These two traits can overcome most every obstacle.” I wish he would have also added the word composure.
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.