If you go based on reputations, Washington at Kansas City was really a battle between the quarterback who “can’t win a big game” and the quarterback who’s just a game manager.
Winning in October isn’t the same as winning in January, but go into Arrowhead, on Monday night, and beat the last undefeated team in the league, and that’s a big win. And on the opening drive of the game, Kirk Cousins looked like he was about to do just that, hitting Terrelle Pryor for a 44-yard touchdown pass.
And then he chased that with a field goal on their second possession. 10-0 Washington. But Kansas City did what Kansas City does – they didn’t panic and figured out a way to get back into the game, taking a 20-17 lead with just under 5 minutes left. Now it was back on Kirk Cousins. And for a moment, it looked for all the world like he was going to shake that “can’t win a big game” rep.
Cousins broke off one scramble after another, looking like a Steve Young-Cam Newton hybrid, just shredding up the Chiefs defense with his legs. 10 yards on 3rd and 8. 15 yards on 2nd and 8. 8 yards on first and ten, down to the Kansas City 22. And then on third and two from the 22, he went for it all. A perfect pass and one that Josh Doctson nearly had and probably should’ve had. He elevated, caught it, brought it in, and then just lost control as he hit the ground. He did everything except finish the catch. Don’t get me wrong. That wasn’t an easy catch. It would have been a legendary moment. But it was there for Washington and for Cousins. Instead, they settled for a field goal that tied the game.
And then it was time for the quarterback formerly known as a game manager to manage his way to a win. As Travis Kelce said after the game, Andy Reid has given Alex Smith the keys to the car. And that’s working out well. 293 yards and a TD in the air, 56 yards and a TD on the ground.
And there was no better moment than his play to Albert Wilson. A dime on the rollout on the game-winning drive. Great pass on the run and a great catch. One more completion and they were in field goal range for rookie Harrison Butker. In the words of Elk, the rookie laced it. 23-20 Kansas City. Ballgame.
Not quite. Because Washington still had one play left in them. And what a play it was.
I don’t need to tell some of you the significance of that play. Those who know, know. Either an incredible moment or an absolute gut punch. Either way, Kansas City is 4-0. They’re the only undefeated team in the league.
And you know Chiefs fans will be banging on about how they don’t get enough respect, which is a hobby for Chiefs fans. But this time, it’s true. Not just because this is a very good team. They’ve had very good teams in the past, but this feels like a different team. They’re explosive, they’re versatile, they’ve got a confidence and swagger about them that they’re going to figure out a way to win, even when they aren’t at their best. They have Travis Kelce, they have Kareem Hunt, they have Tyreek Hill, and they have Alex Smith. He’s got the keys to the car and he’s driving it pretty damn well. It’s early. But right now, it’s Kansas City and everyone else. And no one can debate that.