KANSAS CITY, Mo. —
“I sat there and talked to them this morning and there were a lot of long faces,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Sunday. “They had their hearts ripped out. I can work with that.
“They should hurt,” Reid said. “That’ll make us better.”
The last time the Chiefs won a playoff game, Joe Montana was the quarterback and the Titans were still the Oilers. Since then, there have been all manner of playoff heartbreaks:
— The Chiefs missed three field goals against Indianapolis after the 1995 season, when they had gone 13-3 during the regular season and harbored championship aspirations.
— Two years later, the Chiefs lost a 14-10 heartbreaker to the Denver Broncos, who would go on to beat the Green Bay Packers and win the Super Bowl.
— After the 2003 season, the Chiefs lost again to the Colts in a game featuring two of the league’s premier offenses — and in which nobody punted.
But the way that Kansas City melted down Saturday may trump all of those disappointments.
“It’s hard to put in words, to lose a game that we clearly had control over,” said linebacker Derrick Johnson, who is now 0-3 in playoff games in his nine-year career.
“Coming from having the first pick last year to making the playoff this year, we did accomplish some things,” Johnson said. “At the same time, our standard is very high and this one hurts.”
While players were going through final meetings Sunday, Reid met briefly with reporters at the team’s practice facility. He said that no changes are planned for his coaching staff, though he did acknowledge that some of his assistants would be pursued by other teams.
Reid also said it was too early to discuss personnel issues.
The Chiefs have most of their key players already under contract for next season. Their biggest loss figures to be left tackle Branden Albert, whom they gave the franchise tag to this season. But even he may be allowed to leave in free agency with viable replacements already in house.