By the time their plane got airborne, all partying had ceased for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The relief that came from beating Washington, 14-6, on Sunday was still there. It lingered like a welcome guest all through the flight home and was still being felt when the players reported for meetings and film work Monday morning.
Each player seemed to have a little more bounce in his step. But all the celebrating of the Chiefs’ third win in 31 games was over. Judging from the mood in the locker room, the players were already getting ready for Sunday’s home game against San Diego.
“It’s a big weight off your shoulders,” said defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey. “You don’t want to be one of those teams without a win. We want to build on it and, hopefully, we can come out next week and get another one.”
Until Tamba Hali tackled Todd Collins for a safety in the final minute and secured the win, the Chiefs (1-5) had not won so much as a preseason game in almost a year — since last Nov. 30. Counting an 0-4 exhibition season, the new management team of general manager Scott Pioli and coach Todd Haley was 0-9.
“It’s real nice to know that we’re heading in the right direction and all the work that we’re doing is paying off,” said Dorsey. “It’s nice to know the things we’re doing, the practices, the meetings, are paying off.”
Haley, a snarling tough-guy rookie head coach when he is displeased — which is not rare — ran what the players believe might have been the most demanding training camp in the NFL. Having all that hard work finally be rewarded elevated everyone’s mood.
“Coach Haley gave us permission to enjoy it, which was nice,” safety Jon McGraw said with a smile. “So we did. Now we’re excited about building on it.”