Last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, the Chiefs offense uncharacteristically committed a season-high nine penalties and turned the ball over twice.
Over the entire season, the Chiefs offense has committed just 66 penalties through 13 games (5.07 per game), which ranks third in the NFL, but a few key penalties last Sunday made the difference.
"In these tight games this time of year, you hate saying it but there are a handful of plays that can define the game and you don't know when they are going to come," Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. "You've just got to try and do it every play. You are trying to go out there every single play and execute more consistently."
Those plays could be something like the third-and-14 scramble for 21 yards from Smith, which came in the second quarter of the Cardinals' loss and set up the Jamaal Charles 18-yard touchdown reception and gave the Chiefs the 14-6 lead at the time.
If the second half had turned out differently and a few things had gone the Chiefs' way later in the game, the Smith run could have been seen as a game-changing play.
The same could be said for the "Dwayne Bowe leaping over two defenders" play later in that same drive to pick up a crucial third down.
But those plays are largely forgotten because of how things ended.
The Chiefs' final offensive drive resulted in just seven yards in almost a minute of play, and Smith explained what he saw from the Cardinals defense on that series and how pushing the ball down the field wasn't a given.
"They're an unorthodox deal there at the end of the game – most teams do kind of go into a prevent, more coverage and softer defense – and for them it was pressure so a little bit of a challenge," Smith explained. "Sometimes the ball does have to come out and we have to try and make a play.
Kansas City Chiefs vs the Oakland Raiders in the 1980's
"You don't necessarily have the time or the opportunity to kind of push it downfield so to speak."
Despite being sacked 11 times over the last two games, Smith said his confidence in his offensive line hasn't changed.
"[The confidence] is as good as it always is," Smith said. "It's a part of the game and we've had our fair share of games where I have been very clean. There is a lot that goes into that and I know those guys up front take the brunt of it but certainly it's on all of us, myself included. We knew that going into that game last week that it was going to be that type of game.
"We've just got to continue to fight through it."
In the last game against the Raiders on November 20, Smith finished 20 of 36 for 236 yards and two touchdowns.