Good luck is main ingredient to Chiefs' 6-0 start

Martin Rogers
Yahoo SportsOctober 18, 2013

The good folks of Kansas City are too busy enjoying their football team's undefeated start to spend much time thinking about the reasons why last year's 2-14 chumps have morphed into this year's … well, Chiefs.

If pressed, the locals would surely interrupt their 6-0 smiles for a moment to point to variety of factors, from Andy Reid's invigorating energy to a monstrous and motivated defensive line, and even the Arrowhead Stadium crowd, proud owners of a newly minted Guinness world record for ear-splitting amplitude.

And then there is the bit they don't talk about, but still has to be considered a vital contributor. It is that naughty little wildcard people call "luck."

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Not that the Chiefs performances themselves have been fluky, far from it. All but one of the six wins has come by a margin of at least nine points. However, the swashbuckling start to the campaign is due, at least in part, to an extraordinary collection of good fortune that has added up to a whole lot of happiness on the banks of the Missouri River.

For one, there is the schedule. It always looked quite rosy with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders in Weeks 1 and 6, respectively, but was aided with the cheerful bonus of the NFL's new "automatic win system", otherwise known as playing the New York Giants.

All told, the Chiefs' opponents are 11-25, the kind of collective record that would see a boxing contender accused of beating up on tomato cans.

But just as the first shivers of winter generally signal the point when unbeaten pretenders start to see their luck run out, the Chiefs' friendly karma may be just getting into full swing.

"If you just focus in on getting better you don't worry about all of that," Reid said during his news conference Wednesday. "That's what you can control, everything else is what it is. Getting better as a player, as a coach, as a team, that's where you put your energy. Make sure you study your opponent, and if you keep yourself in that frame of mind, you're fine."

Good health on a football team is often as much to do with preparation and conditioning as it is luck, so the fact that Reid could work with a squad missing only one man, free safety Kendrick Lewis, this week, shouldn't be seen as fortunate.

However, the state of opposing teams is much more a lottery, and the Chiefs look to have hit the quarterback jackpot over the next three weeks.

Although a double date with the all-conquering Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning looms murkily on the horizon, Reid's buoyant defense will first match up against QBs who might as well be wearing question marks rather than numbers on the back of their jerseys.

[Related: Manning's 10 best moments as a Colt]

The Houston Texans come into Kansas City this Sunday beginning what could be the start of the Case Keenum era, or simply a rookie QB being thrown to the wolves.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak's selection of Keenum instead of T.J. Yates to replace pick-6-addict-turned-injury-victim Matt Schaub is either creative genius or cruelty. Either way, the Chiefs won't complain with an inexperienced youngster taking his first pro snaps amid the Arrowhead din.

Throw in injuries to Arian Foster, Foster's lead blocker Greg Jones and 17 other Texans, and the rousing and admirable no-excuses speech issued by defensive stud J.J. Watt this week sounds more like hope than the spark for a revival.

Fast forward a week and the Chiefs take on beleaguered Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns, with Weeden coming under fire for his careless flipped interception in the closing minutes of a defeat to the Detroit Lions.

[Related: Norv Turner says Weeden INT not an all-time low]

Following that, Kansas City meets with Buffalo Bills, who had former practice squad member Thad Lewis under center last weekend. No sooner had Lewis narrowly failed to complete a comeback win against the Cincinnati Bengals, he too was laid low with a gimpy right foot.

So here we have a 6-0 team and no prior mention of the offense. But that's just how it is in K.C., with the brick wall resistance of the defense formulating the cornerstone of the success.

The offense is a different beast, unspectacular and not especially productive, with just 216 net yards on offense against the Raiders last Sunday, 128 of them from Jamaal Charles.

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But what QB Alex Smith, with the 22nd-best passer rating in the league, has done exceptionally well is protect the ball, with just three interceptions and now the chance to become the first QB since 1970 to start 7-0 with a new team, according to The Kansas City Star.

Meanwhile, the defense has wreaked havoc on all in its path, with Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Dontari Poe helping put their Chiefs on course to shatter the 1984 Chicago Bears season sack record of 72. They have 30 so far, and are on pace for 80.

The intensity shown by that marauding trio seems to have filtered throughout the entire team, and everyone wants to be a part of it. Offensive lineman Branden Albert is penciled in to start against the Texans, wearing sprains to his shoulder and knee like badges of honor rather than painful injuries that should probably be rested.

But that's how it is with a winning team and a winning mentality, no matter if there was a helping hand from luck along the way.

"This is just like being a farmer," Reid said. "There is always work to do."

He's right, but that work is a whole lot more enjoyable at 6-0 than 2-14.