After yesterday's loss to the San Diego Chargers, Matt Cassel said this loss hurt more than the others. Those familiar with the season that the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback is having might find those words rather interesting since the first two games were much more devastating on paper than the 20-17 loss to the Chargers. In fact, they were outscored 89-10 those first two games against the Bills and Lions, so why exactly would Cassel say this?
Specifically, Cassel mentioned the fact that they were playing their rivals as the reason for the sting. The game was also within reach. It's certainly understandable for this loss to sting. They all should. But the beatdowns administered in the first two weeks of the season shouldn't be so easily dismissed -- as if the healthy thing is to just move past them and hope for a brighter day.
It's depressing to linger on such horrible performances, I understand, and as a team it's time to move on to some degree. Then again, losing by 40 or so points on two straight occasions when you're a defending divisional champ needs to linger. It needs to sting for quite a while. It needs to serve as a reminder of just how much you need to improve -- not just to play a close game or put together a decent offensive half.
The Chargers game, in all honesty, could have been much worse for the Chiefs. Questionable play calling, odd timing by Phil Rivers and/or Norv Turner and turnovers kept the Chiefs close during a miserable first half that seemed like the team hadn't learned a single thing at all from the first two games. The defense deserves some praise after today's game and yet it's difficult to forget that they'd laid two eggs in a row themselves to Detroit and Buffalo.
Cassel's comments today were made in the moment and any further analysis here would be reaching toward overanalysis. But in the end, what warrants mentioning more than anything is that the memory of the Bills game and the Lions game both deserve to stick around all season. The team is not merely a few players away or a few lucky breaks from putting it all together. It's clear that if anything was a mirage, it wasn't the two early season losses but rather last season's division winning run.
That's not to take anything away from the joy and fun of last season, but as a Chiefs fan, I think we've all learned just how big a factor the schedule is after all.