Backups, Backups Everywhere
This game meant next to nothing for head coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs. A loss would not set them back in the playoff standings; A win would not move them up. They were locked into the 5th seed no matter what. So Reid decided to sit the majority of the starters in hopes that they will be completely healthy and rested for the Wild Card game next week.
Some people dislike this plan. Without the starters (Jamaal Charles, Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe, Dontari Poe, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, and others), people argued that the Chiefs were just giving this game away. Why not take the chance to build some momentum with the starters that they could use in the playoffs? Generally, I side with Reid. This choice sets up the Chiefs with a completely healthy offense and defense, and it give the Wild Card opponent next to nothing to work with, especially since the Chiefs didn’t really play their best during their Week 16 game. In a way, it was like the Chiefs had a semi bye week before the playoffs began.
Before we continue, let me just recognize that the players on the field today, the one labeled as backups, did an excellent job verses a San Diego team that is now headed to the playoffs. The definitely held their own, except for their 4th quarter defensive failings when they allowed the Chargers to come back from a 10-point deficit to tie the score. They were either one field goal or one bad call away from winning the game.
The Week Ahead
After one final week, we know the destination and opponent of the Chiefs’ first playoff game since the 2010/11 season.
The Indianapolis Colts will welcome the Chiefs to the Lucas Oil Stadium. The date and time is yet to be determined exactly, but it is known that it will either be on Saturday, January 4th or Sunday, January 5th. It’s a seven hour drive from Arrowhead to Lucas Oil, so you better start preparing for the drive.
If you remember, the Chiefs and Colts played just one week ago. The Chiefs were still nursing a few injuries and already knew their playoff fate, so they didn’t play all the starters, and didn’t give up much of the usual schemes. The Colts won though, 23-7.
Andrew Luck & Co. will be preparing for the Chiefs, a team that started off with a nasty defense, and have played the final stretch with the addition of a fairly good offense (when their starters play). The Colts, of course, rely on the arm and brain of Luck, who will make only his second playoff start. The Chiefs will be bringing back the attacking duo of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali who have not played on the field together for over a month.
The Season as a Whole
You know what? I’m so incredibly, unbelievably happy right now. The Chiefs, who were the worst team of 2012, are now in the playoffs. The. PLAYOFFS.
All season long, you’ve pinched yourself, trying to make yourself believe that you weren’t dreaming. My friend, let me tell you: It’s not a dream. For once in a very long while, the Chiefs have not crawled into the postseason, but exploded, starting the season with a very improbable 9-0 record. You can walk amongst you coworkers or fellow colleges with your head held high, strutting and gloating about the number five seed.
This has been the best Kansas City Chiefs season in a long time.