It’s hard to get used to high wire acts

Chiefs defense did not play its best game

How about those Kansas City Chiefs on opening day. It was close and yet the team pulled off a win against the Cleveland Browns.


Ladies and gentlemen, step right up. Walk right in. Take your seats at the greatest show on earth. Be prepared for death-defying acts of magisterial excellence and ineptitude. Hold your breath as the daring young men without flying trapezes make your stomach do summersaults. This is not for the faint of heart. You must commit to the bitter end for amazing rewards of scintillating pleasure and joy.

While it is not the main slogan or promotion coming out of One Arrowhead Drive, it is fitting to consider it a possible public relations campaign. One has to wonder how many times will the Kansas City Chiefs take us to the brink of disaster, test our intestinal fortitude, and with consistent tenacity keep coming back week after week to answer the only question that matters, are they good enough for another Super Bowl?

It is a valid expectation when you think that of all the teams in the AFC, the Cleveland Browns would seem to have an inside track on being the Chiefs most persistent nemesis. I know that fans are not ready to discount the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Las Vegas Raiders or Los Angeles Chargers or any number of pretenders that are floating around in the division. This is not to talk badly about these teams, it is more to celebrate the fact we know what we have in this team, and we know what the Browns have on their team. The margin was that close.

The Chiefs have consistently shown they never give up, they hardly ever panic, and they have this uncanny way of pulling out victory from defeat, except when they don’t as in last year’s Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At a certain point you have to stop saying they are lucky, and accept that teams that win consistently the way the Chiefs do have more character than sheer luck makes up for. It will be hard to convince the Cleveland fan, who after the loss is more convinced the Chiefs have to go through the Browns to get to the Super Bowl, and but for a few miscues they would have won the opener.

I don’t think at this point I disagree. The Chiefs will have some stout opposition and they have work to do to get better. But just like it was the first game for the Chiefs, so it was for all the other teams in the NFL. The only real surprise was the way the Green Bay Packers lost. That was illuminating. Off season acrimony is not good for any team, and the Chiefs have managed to avoid that so far.

In all honesty, I was not too worried about the Chiefs prospects even when they were down 22-10. It is a dangerous tightrope no doubt, and you can make bet the Chiefs will probably not cover the betting line often but they have something that is hard to quantify. Never count them out and never let up on them just be prepared for more nail biters.

The defense did not play its best game but hardly would I say it was its worst game. Three turnovers indicate the defense shoed up. Starters Frank Clark, Willie Gay and Tyrann Mathieu did not play. The defense still managed to put pressure on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield when it counted, including on the final two Cleveland drives of the game. That is how championships are won.

The newly configured offensive line did its job for the most part thought there were moments Patrick Mahomes felt the sting of the pass rush. I can think of one play in particular where Mahomes set the conditions for the sack by drifting beyond his pocket protection. Tony Romo pointed it out when he noted on third-and-long Mahomes has a tendency to drift too far back and gives edge rushers a more direct path to him, negating the ability to step up into the pocket. The good news is Mahomes acknowledged that in the postgame interview. This is something that will be corrected. Mahomes is not one to let moss grow under his feet.

It was good to see Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce continue to frustrate defenses, something that is likely to continue day-in and day-out. Mecole Hartman is still a question to me. The dude checks out sometimes in the game, but he has tremendous promise that needs to translate to consistency. I’m not going to go out on a limb and say the Chiefs are ready to go undefeated the rest of the season. There are too may good teams.

Sometimes even the trapeze artist falls. Thankfully there is a net called the regular season – the place to figure it out so that come January the high were act will be a thing of the past. My stomach and heart hope so.