For the first 59 minutes of the Kansas City Chiefs game on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos, the crowd of 76,000-plus at Arrowhead Stadium created an atmosphere of football that those in attendance won't soon forget.
But as Chiefs fans drove home on Thursday night, it's unfortunately that last minute of the game that they'll probably never forget.
Ultimately, the Chiefs lost 31-24 to the Broncos, but as most people will discuss and debate the final moments of the game, the truth is the Chiefs had opportunities throughout to put themselves in a better position than the one they were in late in the game.
"I mean it was pretty simple," Chiefs coach Andy Reid explained after the game. "5 turnovers, 60 yards worth of penalties—very tough to win in this league having those kind of stats."
Despite turning the ball over 5 times (3 fumbles, 2 interceptions) and the penalties Reid mentioned, the Chiefs also finished 0 for 7 on third down, a statistic most often used by Reid to determine his offense's success.
"We were still there right to the end so that would be a positive in what's a tough loss," Reid noted. "We have a lot of season left.
"We'll feel this one, but we'll get over it and get ourselves ready to play Green Bay."
The Chiefs couldn't have made it more difficult on themselves and they still almost beat the four-time defending AFC West champions.
While close doesn't cut it, the margin of error to win key games was put into focus tonight, and that margin has moved from where it has been in past years.
2 of the 3 fumbles came at the hands of one of the Chiefs best players, running back Jamaal Charles, who finished the game with 21 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown.
But of all of his carries in the game, the one that'll be most often discussed was his final one.
After the Peyton Manning-led Broncos offense finished off a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, which tied the game 24-24 late in the fourth quarter, Charles and the Chiefs offense had 35 seconds left on the clock to try and get into field goal range to potentially win the game.
On the Chiefs first-down play, a rushing attempt, Charles had the ball stripped out by Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall before cornerback Bradley Roby scooped it up and ran it back for the touchdown, giving the Broncos the stunning 31-24 lead.
The Broncos had scored 14 points in nine seconds.
"I just don't feel good right now," Charles said after the game. "It's one of the hardest feelings I've felt in a long time."
Reid said after the game they were hoping Charles could get a chunk play on that first-down carry to get them within striking distance of field goal range.
"We were going to try to bust one," Reid explained. "If we could get within a field goal shot, you have an opportunity. The way [Charles] was running, he was running great and I thought that was a good play."
Photos from the Chiefs home opener matchup against the Denver Broncos
Charles finished the game with an impressive 21 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown, but it's the final carry that he was asked about after the game.
"I was just trying to make a play and [wasn't] careful with the ball," Charles explained. "I should have just been smarter and put two hands on the ball.
"I tried to put the team on my back. It's on me tonight."
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith spoke after the game about Charles.
"He plays a big leadership role in our locker room," Smith said. "You know, he is the type of guy – you can see it – you don't want to jump on the sore so to speak. We're going to need him. It's a long season."
But even with the suddenness of the loss and how it transpired, the most important thing for the Chiefs is that this loss doesn't become more than it is—simply one of 16 games on the schedule.
"It was obviously hyped up," Smith explained. "It was Thursday night football, a division game, but it's just Week 2. We have been playing long enough where things can change quickly. You know, this hurts – for everyone in the locker room. Everybody was at a loss of words a little bit. "But in the end we have everything we want in front of us."