[Kansas City.com] NFL history says that a team that begins its season 0-2 is almost certainly history when the playoffs come. Only 17 teams winless after two games reached the postseason since the NFL expanded the playoff field to 12 teams in 1990.
The Chiefs should know the history well. Eight times they opened 0-2, and only one climbed back by season’s end to so much as a .500 record. None of those teams received even a whiff of a playoff race.
And an 0-3 team? The odds just took a hike. Only three times since 1990 has an 0-3 team reached the playoffs.
It’s no wonder the 0-2 Chiefs are looking at today’s game against San Francisco at Arrowhead Stadium as if a guillotine is hanging over them.
“It is a must-win no matter how you look at it,” cornerback Patrick Surtain said. “In the AFC and especially in our division, you can’t start off the season 0-3 and expect to make the playoffs. That’s how we’re taking this game, and I think you’ll see guys going out there Sunday and playing like it.”
The Chiefs, if they so choose, can take heart from the success stories. The Chargers in 1992 lost their first four games but rebounded, won 11 of their next 12 and won the AFC West championship.
Three 0-2 teams wound up playing in the Super Bowl. The Cowboys in 1993 and Patriots in 2001 ended up as world champions.
While coaching the Jets, Herm Edwards never guided an 0-2 team to the playoffs. But twice his team recovered from a lethargic start to reach the postseason. The Jets were 1-4 and later 2-5 in 2002 but eventually won the AFC East title.
“You just need to win a game,” Edwards said. “If you can win a game, you get confidence and you can get some momentum going. We’ve played two pretty good football teams, and we had a chance in both games, even the Cincinnati game.”
“Our players have a sense of urgency right now. They know they’re down two (games) and they can’t continue to do this or it’s going to be very, very tough. The thing they do know is that when you get off to a slow start, the margin for error at the end becomes very, very difficult for you. The thing about the teams I was involved with, the pressure becomes even greater because you run out of games. You know that.”