It's been a tough couple weeks for the Kansas City Chiefs, but while the back-to-back defending AFC champions are coming off consecutive losses for the first time in a while, there isn't the slightest bit of panic at One Arrowhead Drive heading into Week 4.
"I think the guys were real [with each other]," said Head Coach Andy Reid, who discussed the mood at the team facility following Sunday's loss to Los Angeles. "As coaches, we're real with them, and I think the situation is obvious on what needs to take place and we've got to make sure we get it done. We're all in [this] together."
There's certainly been an element of bad luck during the Chiefs' recent slide, as they've held the lead with less than four minutes remaining in each of the last two games only to lose both contests by a combined seven points. They've also turned the ball over six times across those two games, allowing Baltimore and Los Angeles to each stick around before ultimately falling behind late.
The measure of a championship-caliber team is about how they rally together during the difficult times, however, and that's exactly what has quarterback Patrick Mahomes excited moving forward.
"As I've kind of sat back and thought about it, it's exciting," Mahomes said. "We've put our backs against the wall, so how are we going to respond? I think this is where you'll get the best out of everybody. You'll get the best out of every person in this locker room because you know that it's time to go. Every game matters if we want to do what we want to do. I'm excited to see how these guys respond, myself included."
There's plenty of reasons for optimism, too. Kansas City is averaging more than 30 points-per-game and has recorded the fewest three-and-outs of any team in the NFL. The Chiefs still have all of their goals right there in front of them with plenty of season remaining, it's now simply about cleaning up the issues that have gotten in their way of late.
"Yes, we're 1-2, but you know what, we're going to go back to work and work on the basic fundamentals of what makes us special," said Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy. "We just need to line up, be ourselves, play with some poise, have some fun and let our personalities show. When doing that, we [also] need to make sure we're taking care of the football. If we can do that, guess what, we'll give ourselves a chance to win a lot of ball games this year."
It's a certain mindset that many teams don't possess when things get tough, but the Chiefs' recent track record of success lends itself to seizing this current challenge. Tight end Travis Kelce – the longest-tenured member of the squad – said as much on Thursday when asked what his message to the team was moving forward.
"Have a sense of urgency and don't panic. It's right there. We've got a long season left and we've got the guys to get it fixed," Kelce said. "We've got the mentality and the leaders in the locker room to make sure we're all doing the right things, but it starts in practice and with our attention during the [game plan] install…[Just] making sure we're covering all the little details."
And for Mahomes, once again, this is just another opportunity to show what makes this particular collection of players so unique.
"It's how we respond, I've said it a lot now, but it's true," Mahomes said. "If you have that championship swagger, you don't let a loss in September affect your mindset. [It's about getting] better every single day so that you can put yourself in the best [spot] to make a run at the end of the season."
The Chiefs will aim to respond on Sunday as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles.