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NFL Report: Reid's Chiefs on the comeback trail

There was that sickening loss at home to the Denver Broncos in Week 2, when the Kansas City Chiefs gave up two touchdowns in the final 36 seconds. And there was that devastating home defeat to Chicago in Week 5, when the Bears scored twice in the final 3 minutes, 5 seconds to erase a 17-6 deficit.

There was that sickening loss at home to the Denver Broncos in Week 2, when the Kansas City Chiefs gave up two touchdowns in the final 36 seconds. And there was that devastating home defeat to Chicago in Week 5, when the Bears scored twice in the final 3 minutes, 5 seconds to erase a 17-6 deficit.

You know exactly what they were saying on the street corners of South Philadelphia, the taverns in the Pennsylvania suburbs, and the coffee houses in South Jersey: Same old Andy Reid. Still can't manage the clock. Will never win a Super Bowl. So glad he's gone.

It sure did look dark for Big Red and his Chiefs six weeks into the season. The same week they were beaten by the Bears, they also lost four-time Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles to a season-ending knee injury.

At that point, Charles had accounted for five of his team's 10 offensive touchdowns and 31.5 percent of his team's yards from scrimmage. When the Chiefs only rushed for 57 yards in a 16-10 loss at Minnesota the following week, their record stood at 1-5.

You can cut off nine of your fingers and still count the number of teams that started a season 1-5 and made the playoffs since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Coach Paul Brown's 1970 Cincinnati Bengals, who actually started 1-6 before winning their final seven games, are the only team to do it.

Reid's Chiefs, riding a seven-game winning streak heading into Sunday's game at Baltimore, are in position to become the second team.

In many ways, this is really the same old Andy Reid.

Even though he never won the Super Bowl that has become an unfulfilled obsession for Philadelphia fans, Reid did bring the Eagles back from the brink quite a few times during his tenure here. In fact, the last time he took a team to Baltimore, he benched Donovan McNabb in the middle of a lopsided loss that left the Eagles with a 5-5-1 record. Two months later, the Eagles were playing the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC championship game.

The Eagles also looked dead in 2006 after a thorough beating from Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Jeff Garcia's first game replacing an injured McNabb as the starting quarterback. That Reid team rebounded to win its final five games and its fifth NFC East title in six years.

After being outscored by 48-10 in their first two games in 2003 and stumbling to a 2-3 start that included the loss of star safety Brian Dawkins, the Eagles reeled off nine straight wins on their way to a third straight NFC championship game.

One of Reid's greatest strengths during his time with the Eagles was that he never panicked. His steady, stay-the-course approach was on full display in Kansas City earlier this season after the loss to the Vikings.

Instead of destroying his team in the postgame news conference, he stroked them. He talked about a great effort on defense, a better level of play in the second half, and he even refused to dismiss his team's playoff hopes.

"Crazier things have happened," he said.

That would not have gone over well in Philadelphia, and it probably didn't in Kansas City, either.

During the Chiefs' seven-game winning streak, the oft-maligned Alex Smith has thrown nine touchdowns and only one interception while posting a 103.5 passer rating. A streak of 312 passes without an interception - the second longest in NFL history - finally ended last week against San Diego.

Former Eagle Jeremy Maclin has filled the gaping hole the Chiefs had at wide receiver last season. He needs just 65 yards for his second straight 1,000-yard season.

Reid, of course, has the same obsession as Eagles fans, and this Chiefs team may give him another shot at that elusive Super Bowl because it has the kind of defense needed to get the job done. During the Chiefs' winning streak, they have allowed only 12 points per game and come up with 18 takeaways while turning the ball over four times.

That's a good formula for winning a lot of games. It also does not hurt to have a coach who can see the light even during the darkest of days.

Father rooting for son

The 1972 Miami Dolphins remain the only team in NFL history to go unbeaten in the regular season and also win the Super Bowl, but the coach of that team is rooting for Carolina to become the second team to do so for a very good reason: His son is the Panthers' offensive coordinator.

"Yes, there's no question about it," Don Shula told the Associated Press. "I am proud of my record and my teams and the things they have accomplished, but this is a new era, a new team, a new quarterback, new coaches. I'm always rooting for my son [Mike]. I want him to be the best that he can be."

Thumbs up

Cleveland coach Mike Pettine, pride of Doylestown and former head coach at North Penn and William Tennent, was asked last week whether he thought Russell Wilson ranked among the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. He responded with an elaborate answer that ranked Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers ahead of Wilson, but added that the Seattle quarterback has "certainly played himself into that next tier." That, of course, would put Wilson in the top 10, if not higher. Somehow this was perceived as a disparaging remark by a lot of the talking heads who fill the airwaves with their empty thoughts. In reality, it was a thoughtful and accurate answer, something we rarely get from NFL coaches.

Thumbs down

If you're looking for a stupid statement, it came from Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley on his way out of the visitors' locker room Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Asked whether Tyrod Taylor was the Bills' future at quarterback, he told "Let's put it this way: He's shown us enough that we can obviously keep trying with him. But it won't preclude us from going out and protecting ourselves [in case] he's not." Nice vote of confidence for the guy with the fifth-best passer rating in the NFL.

Top early afternoon game: Carolina at N.Y. Giants

The Panthers will attempt to become the fourth team in NFL history to get to 14-0. The other three are the aforementioned 1972 Dolphins, the 2007 New England Patriots, and the 2009 Indianapolis Colts. Carolina QB Cam Newton has 17 TD passes, two interceptions, and a 118.9 passer rating in his last six games. He has also rushed 47 times for 194 yards and three TDs in that stretch.

Top late afternoon game: Denver at Pittsburgh

With Peyton Manning held out of practice Friday because of foot soreness, it appears Brock Osweiler will make his fifth straight start at quarterback for the Broncos. The Broncos have scored 20 points or fewer in three of Osweiler's four starts, and his passer rating is just 78.6 in his last three starts.

Sunday night game: Arizona at Eagles

This will be the Eagles' 26th appearance on NBC's Sunday Night Football. Only Dallas (34) and Indianapolis (27) have made more. They are 12-13 on SNF. Fourteen receivers were taken ahead of Arizona's John Brown in last year's draft, including the Eagles' Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff. Only five of the 14 have more receiving yards than Brown, a Division II star out of Pittsburg State.

Monday night game: Detroit at New Orleans

At 36, Drew Brees is still playing at an elite level, but he is handicapped by the league's worst defense. The 5-8 Saints have allowed 30.5 points per game and are likely to have consecutive losing seasons for the first time in the 21st century. The Lions have gone back to being the Lions since their Thanksgiving Day rout of the Eagles.