2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Dream season for Chiefs ends in nightmare fashion

By DAVE SKRETTA - AP Sports Writer
    2014-01-05 15:20

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - In many ways, it was a dream, going from 2-14 and the first overall pick in the NFL draft to 11-5 and a spot in the playoffs. Yet it ended in just about the most nightmarish way possible, a second-half collapse and another round of postseason heartache.

No wonder the Kansas City Chiefs had such a hard time summarizing their season in the minutes and hours after a gut-wrenching 45-44 loss at Indianapolis on Saturday.

''You know, I certainly think you use this as drive,'' Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said Sunday between wrap-up meetings. ''I think it's good to be playing in these types of games. I think these types of games are contagious. You go back to playing in just regular-season games, you want that itch. You have that urge to try to get to these types of games.

''I certainly think that foundation has been laid for next year.''

The Chiefs have lost a record eight straight postseason games, their last victory coming after the 1993 season. Most of the current members of the team were in grade school, some of them still in diapers, the last time Kansas City tasted any success in games that truly matter.

It appeared for most of three quarters Saturday that things would be different. Kansas City had raced to a 31-10 halftime lead, and then took advantage of an interception early in the third quarter to tack on a touchdown that several Chiefs would say later should have sealed the game.

The problem was that they started playing as if the game was in hand, while Andrew Luck and the playoff-tested Colts started to play as though they had nothing to lose.

The result was a furious second-half rally, one made possible by unconscionable breakdowns by a defense that was spectacular during a 9-0 start. Luck torched a secondary that wilted when it faced premier quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers, and his 64-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton with 4:21 left finished off the second-biggest comeback in NFL playoff history.

''I sat there and talked to them this morning and there were a lot of long faces,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Sunday. ''They had their hearts ripped out. I can work with that.

''They should hurt,'' Reid said. ''That'll make us better.''

The last time the Chiefs won a playoff game, Joe Montana was the quarterback and the Titans were still the Oilers. Since then, there have been all manner of playoff heartbreaks:

- The Chiefs missed three field goals against Indianapolis after the 1995 season, when they had gone 13-3 during the regular season and harbored championship aspirations.

- Two years later, the Chiefs lost a 14-10 heartbreaker to the Denver Broncos, who would go on to beat the Green Bay Packers and win the Super Bowl.

- After the 2003 season, the Chiefs lost again to the Colts in a game featuring two of the league's premier offenses - and in which nobody punted.

But the way that Kansas City melted down Saturday may trump all of those disappointments.

''It's hard to put in words, to lose a game that we clearly had control over,'' said linebacker Derrick Johnson, who is now 0-3 in playoff games in his nine-year career.

''Coming from having the first pick last year to making the playoff this year, we did accomplish some things,'' Johnson said. ''At the same time, our standard is very high and this one hurts.''

While players were going through final meetings Sunday, Reid met briefly with reporters at the team's practice facility. He said that no changes are planned for his coaching staff, though he did acknowledge that some of his assistants would be pursued by other teams.

Reid also said it was too early to discuss personnel issues.

The Chiefs have most of their key players already under contract for next season. Their biggest loss figures to be left tackle Branden Albert, whom they gave the franchise tag to this season. But even he may be allowed to leave in free agency with viable replacements already in house.

They'll be seeking help at wide receiver and in the defensive backfield in free agency and the draft, but for the most part, the Chiefs should return intact next season.

When they make another run at ending two decades of playoff futility.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

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Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

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Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

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Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 01:53p

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Julius ThomasNov 26 01:23p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Phil LoadholtNov 26 12:33p

Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Geno SmithNov 26 12:23p

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Timothy WrightNov 26 10:43a

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R. Griffin IIINov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Colt McCoyNov 26 09:43a

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