Well, it was fitting that this was the fifth week of the season because the Chiefs have now gone through all five stages of grief.
There seemed to be no denial left in the locker room after the Chiefs' nauseating 34-0 loss Sunday against Carolina. There wasn't much anger. The Chiefs players were not in the mood for bargaining, and few players even seemed very depressed.
All that is left for this team is acceptance.
“Games like this are going to happen,” Chiefs running back Larry Johnson said in his brief and thoroughly indifferent press briefing. He answered as many questions (two) as he had yards (two).
Still, his seven-word answer above more or less captured the spirit of the locker room. Yeah, it was a tough loss. Hey, we're a young team. Look, we're still rebuilding. Games like this are going to happen.
Thing is, games like this should never happen, not if you're rebuilding, not if you're rehabilitating, not if you're regressing, not if you're redecorating, not if you're Regis and Kelly.
The Chiefs were shut out on a dry field for the first time in 15 years.
The Chiefs managed 127 yards of offense, their lowest total since – get this – Oct.12, 1986, at Cleveland. That was one day after President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in Iceland. The Chiefs' leading rusher Jamaal Charles (18 yards) was not even born then. Those Browns were coached by Marty Schottenheimer.
Long time ago.
The Chiefs' defense gave up 441 yards to Carolina, which is the most the Panthers have piled up on anyone in almost two years.
And perhaps the most telling play came in the third quarter when Carolina's Muhsin Muhammad caught a pass over the middle and outran the entire defense to the end zone.
Why was this telling? Because it seemed pretty apparent that 35-year-old Muhsin Muhammad is a lot faster than every single player on the Chiefs' supposedly talented and fast young defense.
This was the biggest blowout victory in Carolina Panthers history.
So no, this wasn't just a game that happens, wasn't just a bump in the road or a slip of the tongue or a flat tire on the highway or a temporary power outage on a stormy night or any of that.
This was a disaster, a kick in the teeth, a humiliation.
And yet the Chiefs' locker room had a surprising and disconcerting chipperness after the game.
From coach Herm Edwards on down, the Chiefs seemed three connecting flights away from reality.
After playing in what might be the worst professional football game they ever play in their lives, there didn't seem to be too many emotions.
The anger was drained. The depression was muted. Acceptance has set in.
I'm not sure what lesson there was to learn in this other than these Chiefs, when properly unmotivated, are capable of playing historically bad football.
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