KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A majority of NFL teams, including the Chiefs, subscribe to the 24-hour rule following a game.
Coaches and players are afforded that window to either bask in the glory of a win or feel down about a loss.
Thursday night’s gut-wrenching 31-24 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos, however, could linger.
And that’s OK.
“I think there’s a part that has to hurt,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday during a conference call with team beat writers. “You spend a lot of time preparing for any game and so if they don’t hurt, there’s probably something wrong there.”
Of course, it wasn’t so much that the Chiefs lost. It was more the manner how the defeat went down.
The Chiefs went up 24-17 on Knile Davis’ 8-yard touchdown run with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, only to watch the Broncos score twice in a span of nine seconds with less than a minute left in the contest.
“This happens; this is the game of football,” outside linebacker Justin Houston said after the game. “I’ve seen people win in the last five seconds of the game, that’s football. The game is not over until the last second runs off of the clock.”
Running back Jamaal Charles had two lost fumbles, the last returned for the game-winning score. As a team, the Chiefs had five turnovers and were penalized nine times for 60 yards.
The Chiefs also went 0-of-7 on third down and are now 3-of-20 through two games for a dismal .15 percent on third-down efficiency.
“That was ugly, man,” tight end Travis Kelce said after the game. “We killed ourselves, we killed ourselves. Give credit to the other team for going out there and playing, man. If we take care of business on the offensive end – myself, with three false starts, we had five turnovers, you can’t win in the NFL doing that.”
There are silver linings in the loss, and the AFC West division could ultimately come down to these two teams.
The Chiefs (1-1) and Broncos (2-0) appeared evenly matched statistically, with the Broncos gaining 21 first downs to the Chiefs’ 20. The Chiefs outgained the Broncos in total yards, 314-299.
Those areas and the way his team performed overall offered optimism to the Chiefs head coach that the errors in Week 2 are fixable.
“You got to look at it and understand that you’re a good football team and you’re playing a good football team,” Reid said. “And we made some mistakes that caused us to be put in a bad position and end up losing the game, and that’s something we can take care of. We go right back to the drawing board and fix that.”
While the loss will be felt, the players can utilize the lessons learned to jump start the rest of the season.
And it starts in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers for another primetime spot on Monday Night Football.
“Just use it as motivation,” Houston said. “It’s only the second game of the season. We’ve got a long season ahead of us. Just put this behind us, don’t let this beat us again.”