The Chiefs said all the right things after last Sunday’s blowout loss at Pittsburgh.
“We’ll come back and get it right,” defensive tackle Dontari Poe said.
Linebacker Tamba Hali recalled the Chiefs beating the Patriots in a similar fashion in 2014.
“And they came back and won the Super Bowl,” Hali said.
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Will actions speak louder than words when the Chiefs visit Oakland in their next game on Oct. 16?
History suggests yes, the Chiefs will use the most lopsided loss in the Andy Reid era — 43-14 in a Sunday-night nightmare — as a springboard to better things. How much better is the mystery.
Before Sunday, the worst loss by a Reid-coached Chiefs team was 16 points. It happened twice, to the Colts in 2013, and in the 2014 season opener to the Titans. In 2015, the Chiefs fell at Cincinnati by 15, their largest deficit last season.
Each loss was followed by better play, but not a victory.
In 2013, after the loss to the Colts, the Chiefs played mostly reserves in the season finale with a playoff position clinched and fell at San Diego 27-24.
The miserable 2014 opener was followed by a much more inspired effort at Denver in a 24-17 loss, a game in which the Chiefs drove to the Broncos 2 in the final seconds but failed on fourth down.
After the loss to the Bengals last season, the Chiefs fell at home to the Bears 18-17, a game that the Chiefs led by two touchdowns late in the third quarter before wilting after the season-ending knee injury to Jamaal Charles.
Not all big losses are created equally. The speed in which the most recent one got out of hand was breathtaking as the Steelers set a team record with 22 points in the first quarter. No matter how differently losses are constructed, Reid admits he’s not the best source for insight on the Chiefs’ ability to bounce back from one-sided defeats.
“I try to get them out of mind fast, move on and learn from it,” Reid said earlier this week. “I’ll do the same with this one.”
Assuming the Steelers loss will be the season’s worst, projecting improvement isn’t exactly going out on a limb. The Chiefs’ roster is full of veterans, many of whom have delivered Pro Bowl seasons. Their pride took a hit last weekend.
“We have a bunch of fighters here,” Hali said.
Because they do, the team’s 2-2 record — not unexpected based on the schedule — feels like a letdown to Reid.
“It’s not the end of the world, even though it feels that way,” he said.
Reid’s Eagles teams also showed a penchant for responding well to disappointment. In 2001, the Eagles lost three games by 10 points and won the following week each time.
In their Super Bowl season of 2004, the Eagles were smoked by the Steelers 27-3 but blasted the Cowboys by four touchdowns the next week.
In 2008, the Eagles followed a 29-point loss at Baltimore with a 28-point triumph over the Cardinals, a team that beat Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game that season.
This year is a little different. With the open week, the Chiefs aren’t playing immediately after the nasty loss. Reid’s teams are traditionally good after a week off — 13-1 in Philadelphia and 2-1 with the Chiefs, including last season’s victory in Denver when they intercepted Peyton Manning four times.
“It’s what you make it,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “After getting your butt kicked you wish you could play to get that feeling out. But we have to sit on it.
“You can tell a lot about a team’s character and what you can do after adversity. We’ve been tested. Let’s see if we can handle the challenge.”
History says the Chiefs will.