KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — After getting trounced by Tennessee in their season opener, the Kansas City Chiefs returned to their practice facility the following day and went through the game film in all its gory detail.
They saw the missed blocks and tackles. They lamented the missed opportunities. They watched as defensive starters Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito went down with season-ending injuries.
“Then we moved on,” wide receiver A.J. Jenkins said. “We haven’t looked back since we watched that film, that Monday.”
They might want to now. The picture in the rear-view mirror is a little bit rosier.
After rallying to beat Buffalo on Sunday, the Chiefs have won four straight and six of their last seven. The only teams that have won more consecutive games are New England, a team that Kansas City has already beaten, and Arizona, which just lost quarterback Carson Palmer for the season.
In other words, there is arguably no hotter team in the NFL.
“We have a great team and great team chemistry, and team bond,” running back Jamaal Charles said. “We have a lot of leaders on this team and people who have been in this position before.”
That position would be a game back of Denver in the AFC West. The Chiefs (6-3) play the Super Bowl champion Seahawks on Sunday, then face winless Oakland before the Broncos return to Arrowhead Stadium. Games against Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Diego still loom later on this season.
It’s a tough finishing kick, and the road to the playoffs will not be easy. But at least it is a distinct possibility, something many thought was a longshot one week into the season.
The perseverance that the Chiefs showed in bouncing back from their humiliating loss to the Titans was on display again on Sunday in Buffalo. Their offense was getting stuffed by the Bills’ front four, and quarterback Kyle Orton — no stranger to the Chiefs — and wide receiver Sammy Watkins had the Kansas City defense on its heels early in the game.
Yet the Chiefs weren’t rattled when the scoreboard flipped to the third quarter, and they still trailed 10-3. They weren’t nervous when the Bills’ Dan Carpenter kicked a 23-yard field goal late in the third quarter, putting Kansas City in a 13-3 hole as the fourth quarter came around.
Their defense had held Buffalo to a field goal after the Bills had second-and-2 at the 3-yard line, and the momentum had started to swing their way. Kansas City headed the other direction, and coach Andy Reid showed some moxie in going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Buffalo 39. Charles wound up scampering the rest of the way for a touchdown.
After the teams swapped possessions, fullback Anthony Sherman stripped Bills returner Leodis McKelvin on a punt and recovered the fumble deep in Buffalo territory. Two plays later, Smith took a read-option over the left side for an 8-yard touchdown run that gave Kansas City the lead.
The Chiefs had scored two touchdowns in a span of about 4 minutes, and they had taken the lead in a game in which they had been thoroughly out-played. Kansas City ultimately held the Bills on fourth down to wrap things up.
“I certainly think there’s something about winning this type of game,” Smith said. “You’re not going to play games where you always have success and things are always going well.
“You know these wins are different, that’s for sure,” Smith said, “and I think it’s a different type of confidence you get when you win games like this and you keep that momentum going. There’s certainly going to be a lot for us to look at on the film and see what they did to us and how they played us and how we can grow from that. It’s a little bit hard to define winning games like this.”
NOTES — Reid said Monday that backup RB Cyrus Gray (torn ACL) and TE Demetrius Harris (broken foot) are likely out for the season. ... TE Anthony Fasano bruised his knee and Charles had a stinger, Reid said, but both would have been able to work if there was practice on Monday.