Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Here's why K.C. playoff streak will end
By Adam Teicher
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As any long-suffering fan can tell you, it has been 20 years since the Kansas City Chiefs won a playoff game. It has been so long, the team the Chiefs last beat in the postseason has moved on to a different town and taken on a different name (the Houston Oilers are now the Tennessee Titans).
Since that day in January 1994, when the Chiefs beat the Oilers 28-20 to advance to the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs are 0-7 in the playoffs with three of the losses coming against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Chiefs again play the Colts on Saturday in Indianapolis in a wild-card playoff game. But fear not, Chiefs fans. I'm here to give you three good reasons the playoff streak will end Saturday and 20 years of this particular brand of misery will come to an end:
- The Chiefs will have the best offensive player on the field Saturday. Be it Buffalo's Thurman Thomas, Miami's Dan Marino, Indianapolis' Jim Harbaugh, Denver's Terrell Davis, Indianapolis' Peyton Manning or Baltimore's Joe Flacco, the opponent through this seven-game losing streak has consistently had the game's premier offensive player. With respect to Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, the Chiefs will have that Saturday in running back Jamaal Charles. Not only that, but the Chiefs also have a coaching staff that knows how to bring out the best in Charles. He is rested and ready after sitting out last weekend's game in San Diego and the Chiefs will go to Charles early and often. Charles was on his way to a big game against the Colts when the teams met two weeks ago. But the Chiefs inexplicably went away from Charles in the second half.
- The Chiefs are road warriors. The Chiefs are 6-2 on the road this season, tied for best in the NFL. That record includes a loss in San Diego on Sunday that could have, should have and would have been a victory. The Chiefs fit the profile of a good road team. They have the ability to control the clock and prevent the opposing offense from imposing its will. They don't commit many turnovers, so they don't put themselves in tough spots. And their defense, for whatever reason, has played better away from Arrowhead Stadium.
- The defensive starters will return refreshed. The defense looked tired down the stretch. That has been reflected in a subpar pass rush and sloppy tackling. To remedy the problem, coach Andy Reid gave most of the starters a bye in San Diego. None of the 11 defensive regulars started against the Chargers and eight didn't play at all. Their play will be renewed. The Chiefs will show a defensive fire they rarely displayed in the season's second half.