After starting the season 1-5, the Kansas City Chiefs were NFL road kill. Five straight wins later, however, they’re 6-5 and the 5-seed in the AFC.

How does a team win five straight after losing five straight?

“We kept our confidence,” Chiefs All-Pro linebacker Derrick Johnson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We know the parity in this league is very close. You make a play here or there and you win the game. Our coach, Andy Reid, just kept coming in the locker room after we would lose and say, ‘We’re not far off. Just keep your confidence. It’s going to turn around for us.’”

The Chiefs have gotten great play from Alex Smith, who has thrown for 1,108 yards, rushed for 184 and accounted for seven touchdowns (six pass, one rush) during the team’s five-game winning streak. And do you want to know what’s crazy? He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 3.

“Well, Alex Smith is a very smart quarterback,” Johnson said. “He knows how to manage the game, he’s been doing it for years. We came in the league together. He’s a first-round pick and he’s just got that star-caliber personality. He knows how to run the offense. Him and Andy Reid work great together. Andy Reid is one of the great offensive coaches in this league, and for him to be (coaching) Alex Smith right now – he’s doing a great job. (Alex is) getting the ball down the field, he’s managing the game, he’s running the ball really well right now. Hats off to Alex Smith, man.”

And hats off to Reid, who kept the Chiefs afloat when pretty much everyone else assumed they had drowned.

“He’s really cool and collected,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t change much. You kind of know what you’re going to get with him. His standard is high. He harps on doing the little things right, getting your work done early – he’s a players’ coach. He’s the ultimate players’ coach. He takes care of his players really well. Andy Reid is a great guy. Great guy.”

The Chiefs (6-5) are three games back of the Broncos (9-2) in the AFC West but are still holding out hope for a division title. Denver is 2-0 with Brock Osweiler under center, but Johnson isn’t writing Peyton Manning’s epitaph just yet.

“One thing I know about Peyton Manning, you never want to count him out,” Johnson said. “He’s been proven in this league and played at a high level for a long, long time. Even now, he still has the tools to win games, but it’s going to be a decision on their part to see if he comes back next year or not. But they’re doing well with Osweiler. He’s a young quarterback that’s getting some more reps, so he’s doing better and better. I wouldn’t say good luck to them down the road because hopefully we’ll see them in the playoffs.”


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