At 1-5, the Kansas City Chiefs were left for dead, but then a funny thing happened: They stopped losing. In fact, Kansas City (11-5) won 10 straight games to earn the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs.
If you need some perspective on that, there’s this: The Chiefs haven’t lost since the Royals won the World Series.
“It’s amazing as far as what Andy Reid has done to lead this team,” Chiefs sideline reporter Kendall Gammon said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “When I speak to the players after each game, to a man, they just talk about his leadership and how he never wavered. He always told them that they were going to get there and he felt like they were doing the right things and the wins would eventually come. That’s hard to sell when you’re 1-5, but he did it.”
When the streak started, the Chiefs were minus-2 in turnovers.Ten wins later, they are plus-15.
“That was huge,” Gammon said. “They had been turning the ball over before that and they weren’t taking it away.”
The Chiefs have also remained dominant on the ground despite losing Jamaal Charles in Week 5. Charcandrick West averaged 4.7 yards per touch and had 848 total yards and five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving). Spencer Ware even filled in as the lead back at one point, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and rushing for 403 yards and six touchdowns.
“It’s amazing,” Gammon said. “It’s the true definition of next man up. Charcandrick West came in and did a nice job. When he got hurt, all of a sudden you had Spencer Ware, who wasn’t even added to the squad until Week 6. It’s kind of crazy.”
Alex Smith has been impressive as well. After failing to throw a touchdown to a wide receiver all of last season, Smith found Jeremy Maclin early and often in 2015. Maclin finished with 87 catches for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns, while Travis Kelce became one of the top tight ends in football. Kelce finished with 72 catches for 875 yards and five scores.
Smith, it is worth noting, was second on the Chiefs in rushing and fourth among quarterbacks with 498 rushing yards. He had 22 touchdowns (20 passing, two rushing) to just seven interceptions on the season.
“Alex Smith started running the ball quite a bit more (as the season went on),” Gammon said. “He got a lot of big first downs, a lot of big runs that kept drives alive. It’s been pretty impressive.”
The Chiefs play the Texans (9-7) in Houston this Saturday at 4:20 p.m. ET. Kansas City beat Houston, 27-20, on the road in Week 1. The playoffs are a different animal, but the Chiefs streak – and thus, their momentum – could be a huge factor this weekend.
“I think it’s huge because you always want to go into the playoffs certainly with the momentum that you talked about,” Gammon said. “There would have been all kinds of fanfare this week had they lost (to Oakland) of, ‘Okay how are you going to deal with this? You had won nine in a row.’ And then they would have to talk about the schedule, which wasn’t the toughest (at the end of the year). However at 1-5, it was one of the toughest first halves (in all of football).
“But I just think the confidence factor (is important),” Gammon continued. “In the NFL, confidence and momentum are so fleeting. They can come quickly and they can leave just as quickly. So for the Chiefs to go in with the 10 games that they’ve got right now – the most ever in the history of the franchise, the most wins ever by a team that started 1-5 – you can go on and on with the superlatives. This team is playing with a lot of confidence – and they should. There’s a lot of swagger there. That counts in the NFL, there’s no doubt about it.”