KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andy Reid was hailed as a hero shortly after joining the Kansas City Chiefs as head coach in 2013, and why not? Reid took a team that had been the worst in the league the year before, and not only won his first nine games but guided the Chiefs into the playoffs.
Reid's star barely dimmed in Kansas City as he took the Chiefs to the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. He even won a playoff game two years ago, the Chiefs' first postseason victory in 22 years.
The free pass for Reid should be over now.
This makes Reid 1-4 with the Chiefs in the playoffs, and the latest defeat was not the first big blown lead of the bunch. The Chiefs had the Colts down 38-10 in the third quarter in the playoffs after the 2013 season and they lost that one, too.
Reid's two blown leads of 18 points or more in the playoffs are as many as every other coach in the NFL since 1933.
This latest loss stings more than the one against the Colts. That one was bad, but at least it happened on the road and in Reid's first season, with a team that was not yet complete in his image.
This time the Chiefs wasted a big playoff lead at home. They did it with a team that was supposedly built not just to get into the playoffs but advance in them.
Quarterback Alex Smith acknowledged afterward that the 2017 Chiefs underachieved, and it's hard to argue with him on that point.
Beyond the blown leads, Reid is costing the Chiefs in the playoffs in other ways. His game management has been a problem at times in the postseason. The Chiefs were deliberate offensively despite being down by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a game in New England two years ago. They eventually scored a touchdown but took so much time in doing so they had no choice but to try an onside kick to keep the ball.
With the Patriots aware it was coming, the tactic failed and the Chiefs lost.
Trailing the Titans by a point with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs tried to convert on fourth-and-9 from the Tennessee 44 with all three timeouts remaining. Smith's pass for Albert Wilson was incomplete and the Chiefs were doomed, never to get the ball back.
It's important to remember here how bad the Chiefs were when Reid arrived. They were a forlorn franchise that won no more than four games in four of the six previous seasons. They were barely competitive in each of their two playoff games before his arrival.
He was hired to provide some much-needed stability and Reid has accomplished that. The Chiefs have made the playoffs in four of his five seasons. They've won back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history.
That counts for something. But its meaning loses impact when the Chiefs continually can't budge beyond their opening playoff game. They did that once, two years ago against a dismal opponent in the Houston Texans.
Reid at this juncture looks like a coach who is good enough to get the Chiefs to the playoffs but not beyond. That's why they have to take a moment or two to ponder whether he's still the right guy for the job.