Chiefs' season will be judged from this point forward

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs finished the regular season 14-2, best in team history, courtesy of their 38-21 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. They had a 10-game winning streak snapped but only after resting many of their key regulars. They won the AFC West championship for a fifth straight season.

All of that might be nice, but it will be quickly forgotten if the Chiefs don’t win three more games in the postseason and repeat as Super Bowl champions. This season’s Chiefs will be judged not for what they’ve done so far, but what’s to come from this point forward.

If the Chiefs get those three additional victories, they’ll have the NFL’s first back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 15 years. If the season ends without a second consecutive championship, it will be looked at as a failure. This season was always about repeating for the Chiefs. They re-signed many of their own players, quarterback Patrick Mahomes included, and returned all but three of their starters from Super Bowl LIV.

It was all done with an eye toward repeating. The Chiefs’ motto this season is: “Run It Back.’’

The Chiefs, as the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, will receive a bye next weekend and open their postseason in the divisional round either Jan. 16 or 17.

Silver lining: The Chiefs gave many of their top players the week off against the Chargers. Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu were just a few of the regulars who didn’t play.

QB breakdown: Veteran backup Chad Henne replaced Mahomes and made his first start since 2014, when he played with Jacksonville. Other than some mop-up duty in two games this season, Henne hadn’t played since the preseason in 2019. He finished 23-of-32 for 218 yards and two touchdowns.

Long time coming: Until Sunday, the Chiefs hadn’t lost a game by a double-digit margin since Week 9 in 2017, when they fell to the Dallas Cowboys 28-17. Since then, the Chiefs have lost 14 games, counting the playoffs, but none by more than eight points.