With their backs against the wall and seemingly no one giving them a legitimate chance at victory, it wasn’t difficult for the Chiefs to find an emotional re-charge before facing the undefeated Green Bay Packers.
In many ways, it was the perfect storm.
An undeniable energy was shown in Romeo Crennel’s first game serving as Chiefs head coach, but matching that kind of intensity again this weekend is a new challenge in itself.
“It was definitely noticeable,” OLB
Kansas City’s playoff hopes revived when Green Bay’s perfect season was put to rest, but this is also a team that’s struggled with week-to-week consistency all season long.
A team of extreme streaks, the Chiefs have already gone through two separate losing streaks of three or more games and have been blown-out by a combined score of 68-13 in its two losses following victories.
Kansas City was downed 31-3 by Miami one week after a 23-20 overtime win against San Diego put the Chiefs in the AFC West driver’s seat despite a 0-3 start to the season. A four-game losing streak ensued until Kansas City was able to snap the skid with a road win in Chicago.
A week later, the Chiefs were thumped on the road by the New York Jets in Todd Haley’s final game as the team’s head coach.
The Chiefs have struggled with inconsistency all season long.
“The important thing is to try to win the next one and how to get that energy level and keep it the same with the Raiders coming to town - not having all the hoopla that went with Green Bay and being an undefeated team and a great quarterback and a pressure defense and all of that,” Crenel said.
“We’re trying to get our guys to understand that you cannot get the big head, because we really haven’t done anything yet. We won one game.”
Winning that one game has put the Chiefs on the lead of every major sports program over the past 24 hours, sparked serious talk of Crennel taking over on a permanent basis and put the Chiefs in an attainable playoff scenario.
It’s funny how things can change so quickly in the NFL.
Just over a week ago the Chiefs suffered through an embarrassing loss, followed by a seismic shift in the organization’s leadership structure. This week, the Chiefs are one of football’s most discussed storylines.
That’s been Kansas City’s inconsistent season in a nutshell.
“This all feels great, but we have to move on and put this victory behind us,” FB Le’Ron McClain said. “We’ve had an up and down season coming out of big games.”
There won’t be any lack of motivation on either sideline Saturday afternoon in what is essentially an elimination game in AFC West play. But just in case, Crennel is using last year’s Week 17 meeting with Oakland as a reality check.
The Raiders dominated Kansas City at the line of scrimmage to throttle the Chiefs 31-10. Oakland finished the season with a 6-0 division record and, despite missing the playoffs, felt they were the best team in the AFC West.
“I’m going to remind them of is last year this Raider team came in here and they whipped us pretty good and will feel like they can come in here and do the same thing again,” Crennel said. “So that’s what I’ve got to get them prepared for and I’ve got to remind them of that hey, you beat the Green Bay Packers, that was great. But now, if you don’t prepare, if you don’t get ready to go then we will lose to the Raiders and then everything we gained will be kind of down the drain.”
A loss to Oakland eliminates Kansas City from playoff contention.
The Chiefs are once again believers, but the fact remains that sustained success has eluded this team all season. Finding consistency remains one of Kansas City’s most difficult challenges.
“We could have packed this thing up and gone home, but we knew if we kept fighting that you always give yourself a chance at the end of the season,” Studebaker said. “Our ultimate goal can’t be to beat the Green Bay Packers. We have more work to do.”