The Kansas City Chiefs head into the bye week with a 6-3 record after falling to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Texas by a score of 28-17.
The Chiefs, who still have a two-game lead in the AFC West, have dropped three of their last four games—capping off one of the league's most difficult schedules through the first nine weeks of the season.
That said, Chiefs coach Andy Reid noted that they have to improve moving forward.
"We've got to go back and figure some things out, here, and do a better job, obviously," Reid explained. "We'll do that. I thought as the game went on, third downs on either side, offensively and defensively, were not good. We got some penalties on offense that we normally don't have. We've got to get to the bottom of that.
"You're having things going your way and then you're taking steps back—you can't do that, either."
The Chiefs briefly took a lead early in the second half after they opened up with a nine-play., 62-yard touchdown drive that took just under six minutes off the clock. That drive followed up Tyreek Hill's improbable 57-yard touchdown to close out the first half.
Within six minutes of game clock, the Chiefs went from trailing 14-3, to leading 17-15, and feeling pretty good.
But the Cowboys responded with a couple of long touchdown drives to take and ultimately keep the lead.
"We've all got a piece of it but it definitely starts with me on this," Reid added. "We didn't have a lot of energy. There were a couple of good things in there. Tyreek did a nice job with the catch before half and the middle screen. But we're going to take a step back, here, and get some rest during this bye week and we're going to regain our thoughts and evaluate ourselves and go forward."
Quarterback Alex Smith, who finished 24 of 35 for 263 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, spoke after the game about the stretch of games the Chiefs just finished heading into the bye week.
"A bunch of physical games, physical teams, good football teams that we've been playing back-to-back-to-back," Smith said. "For us, we're kind of just past the midway point, not a bad spot to catch our breath a little bit. We've had a couple of these short weeks on the road against a really good football team. Those are kind of the excuses that everybody has to deal with those things. That's a good football team.
"I think we were right back in it when we came out in third quarter. If just a couple of those possessions go differently, it really could have been a different ball game. Certainly, they made the plays that were there."
The Chiefs will return after the bye week to go on the road to take on the New York Giants (1-7).
Overall, the Chiefs will play one team with a winning record over the final seven games of the regular season, and that's the Buffalo Bills (5-3) on Sunday, November 26 at Arrowhead Stadium.
But if we've learned anything over the course of the first half of the NFL season, it's that things can change quickly and all the injuries to superstars across the league can change the complexion of a playoff race quickly.
It's really a week-by-week thing, and the Chiefs have proven under Reid over the past five years to be able to turn the page quickly and get things moving in the right direction.
The Chiefs are 12-2 in the final seven games of each of the last two seasons.
"Families go through things," running back Charcandrick West added. "I feel like we are going to take some time off, get away, and come back to get this thing on track."