The Kansas City Chiefs started slow

The Kansas City Chiefs started slow

Postautor: chenyan94 » 8 sty 2019, o 04:08 , finished slower, but still held on to defeat the Denver Broncos 30-23 on Sunday afternoon, completing a season sweep of their division rivals and advancing to 7-1 at the halfway mark of their season. Here are five hot takes from the victory:1. Division games are different.Photo by David Eulitt/Getty ImagesIt’s pretty easy to look at Andy Reid’s record against the AFC West over the last few years and conclude that Reid owns this division — and at the top level, he does.He’s now won 19 of his last 20 regular-season games against AFC West opponents.Seven straight against the Broncos.Nine straight against the Los Angeles Chargers.Six of the last seven against the Oakland Raiders.But while familiarity breeds contempt — are there any teams Chiefs fans hate more than these three teams? — it also breeds competition.It’s a lot easier to game plan against a team you play a couple of times a year. Aside from the reps — an obvious factor — there’s another one: you can learn a lot more by playing a team than simply watching them on film.For an offensive chessmaster like Reid, eventually, that gives him the advantage.Indeed, through his first two seasons with the Chiefs, Reid was 5-7 against the AFC West.Since then, he’s 19-2.But even during those recent years, the AFC West games haven’t been cakewalks.Ten of them — almost half — were decided by a single score or less, and two of them went into overtime.I can’t speak for anybody else, but all of this is why — regardless of the location, records or stats involved — I almost never predict a blowout in a division game.And there are three of those left on the 2018 schedule.Assume nothing.2. Sam-MY!Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty ImagesIf you’ve been waiting for Sammy Watkins’ big breakout, Sunday’s game might have been it.He had eight catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns in the game.That’s 453 yards and three touchdowns on 34 receptions so far this season.Eight games in, it doesn’t take complicated math to see that Watkins could end up with a season on par with his productive seasons in Buffalo; for the season, he could easily land somewhere near 1,000 yards, with catches somewhere in the high sixties.On a team where Watkins is third in receiving yards, receptions and targets, that’s saying something!Watkins is being paid a lot of money to be the third wide receiver, and the argument that this money might have been better spent on defense is indeed compelling.But that said, Watkins’ mere presence elevates the rest of the receivers; he’s one more weapon for which defenses must account.And regardless of how you feel about his paycheck, you have to love the way Watkins plays.He gets himself open, and once he has the ball, he’s a fearsome, hard-nosed runner who can get yards after catch.So it’s OK that we argue about the team’s priorities with regard to Watkins’ paycheck.But let’s not act like he isn’t a good player who isn’t helping this offense.He got paid because there are a lot of teams that would have paid a lot of money for what Watkins could have brought to their tables.And he’s delivering that to the Chiefs.3. The rushing quandaryPhoto by David Eulitt/Getty ImagesOn Sunday, the Chiefs rushed for only 49 yards on 18 carries.Meanwhile, the Broncos rushed for 189 yards on 30 attempts.That’s 2.7 yards per attempt to 6.3.That’s not going to do it, my friends.Everybody is convinced that in the NFL, the running game is dead — and there’s no doubt that in the 2018 season, the passing game is up significantly.NFL Offense through Week 7, 2017-2018Those are some amazing numbers.But none of this changes the fact that in a given game, being able to run the ball — and stop the run — can be very important.Last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Chiefs were able to shut them down by rushing the ball late in the game, eating up the clock until there simply wasn’t enough time for the Bengals to overcome the Chiefs lead.Yet on Sunday, the Chiefs couldn’t even get a first down on their last three drives.While the Chiefs defense was able to make some opportune plays late in the game to keep the Broncos down Kansas City Chiefs Customized Jerseys , with an ability to run the ball at will, the Chiefs could have — and should have — made the outcome of this game a foregone conclusion early in the fourth quarter, rather than on the game’s final play.What they did on Sunday was enough to beat the Broncos.But it might not be enough against better teams.In the hours immediately after the game, I can’t identify the precise problem on either side of the ball; I’m certain that as the week progresses, we’ll begin to have some potential answers.But the Chiefs are going to have to figure it out.4. A step forward, and half a step backPhoto by Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesIt would have been nice for the Chiefs defense to continue the performance they had against the Bengals in Week 7.Five sacks of Case Keenum — one of them forcing a turnover — and Kendall Fuller’s interception certainly represented key defensive plays that helped put this game in the win column for the Chiefs.However, the 411 yards of offense the Broncos put up — while better than most games this season — still isn’t an acceptable number.But I’d really rather not focus on that.Instead, I’d like to focus on something the defense is continuing to do well: render opposing quarterbacks inefficient.Before the season began, I pointed out that in three of the last five seasons, the Chiefs defense held opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating below 80.If your own quarterback can consistently perform 10-20 points better than your opponent, it’s a pretty good formula for success.In Alex Smith, the Chiefs had such a quarterback — especially in 2017.Obviously, Patrick Mahomes is performing at a significantly higher level than Smith, which gives the defense some leeway in this area.Even so, going into Week 8 — despite the problems we’ve seen on defense — the Chiefs have held opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of 88.8 in 2018, which is good for eighth in the league.Since the Chiefs have a team passer rating of 114.0 — third in the league — it helps explain how a team with a few truly awful defensive statistics could be 7-1 halfway through the season.So while we’d all like to see the Chiefs defense do better, it’s not as if the team’s success to this point has been a fluke.5. Mahomes keeps knocking ‘em downPhoto by Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesMahomes needed only three passing touchdowns on Sunday to pass a list of all-time great quarterbacks who had thrown astounding numbers of touchdowns in the first eight weeks of a season.Three touchdowns also would have kept him ahead of the blistering pace established by Kurt Warner at the beginning of his NFL career.But on Sunday, Mahomes threw four.And also threw for 300 yards for the seventh consecutive week, which tied Peyton Manning’s modern-era streak that began in the 2012 season, but ended in the 2013 season.Drew Brees has had two streaks of nine games, but neither of those took place in a single season.But only one player has ever had a streak of seven or more 300-yard games in a single season.Andrew Luck had such a streak in 2014.It went for eight games.With one more next Sunday, Mahomes will tie Luck.With one more after that, he’ll be all alone.This young man — I just can’t call him “kid” anymore — is amazing. Like the Rundown? Never miss a video from Arrowhead Pride by subscribing to our YouTube channel here.With a chance to wrap up the number one seed in the postseason with a win, the Kansas City Chiefs host the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium for Thursday Night Football.Here are five things to watch during the game:1. AFC WesternDenny Medley-USA TODAY SportsIn this space, I typically tell you about how division games are entirely different from other NFL games — how the teams are familiar with each other because they play each other so often and have a lot on the line in each and every game they play against each other.Multiply that by a factor of three.This isn’t really a division game.This is a division championship.This is High Noon — or better still, a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western, complete with a twangy Ennio Morricone soundtrack. The protagonists will face each other on a deserted street and only one will live to tell the tale.Well... it’s not quite that dramatic.The Chiefs can afford a loss to the Chargers and still control their own destiny not only for the AFC West, but also for the number one seed in the playoffs.Right now, there are only a very few scenarios where the Chargers will miss the playoffs entirely — even if they lose to the Chiefs on Thursday night.Even so, there is a lot on the line.With a win, the Chiefs clinch the AFC West.Then, with a little help from the Pittsburgh Steelers when they play the New England Patriots on Sunday, the Chiefs will have the number one seed in hand.That would give them two weeks to play what will amount to preseason games to close out the season — and then a week off before another team comes to Arrowhead.With a win, the Chargers also have a shot at the division title and the number one seed.It’s not completely in their control — they’d have to win out, and the Chiefs would have to lose against the Seahawks or Raiders — but without a win against the Chiefs, the best they can hope for is a wild card spot.Expect these two teams to leave everything on the field.2. Pat vs. PhilDenny Medley-USA TODAY SportsIf this is an AFC Western Kansas City Chiefs T-Shirts , the two gunslingers facing off on the deserted street are Philip Rivers and Patrick Mahomes.The wily veteran in his 15th season against the mega-talented newcomer.The father of eight versus the young man who plays Fortnite with his buddies. The pure pocket passer against a kid who will sling it sidearm without looking at the receiver.The focus will be on these two quarterbacks because you can expect both teams — with limited time to formulate game plans — to just go with their strengths. This is no time for subtlety or strategy.Both teams are likely to come out swinging, trying to get a big lead with big plays early and then hope that their defenses can force enough stops to maintain the lead until the final gun.When these two teams opened the season against each other back in September, we weren’t quite sure what we were going to see from Mahomes in his second start.We had plenty of reason to be hopeful, but that’s not the same as knowing what we could expect.That will certainly make this quarterback matchup — and this game — very interesting.3. Pass Rush Exists So Sacks Undermine Resolve of EnemyPhoto by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesYou can expect p-r-e-s-s-u-r-e to be a key factor in this game.For the Chiefs, it will be about getting pressure on Rivers — a quarterback who is notorious not only for playing less effectively when he is under pressure, but also for sometimes becoming completely unglued under pressure.Rivers will be protected by an offensive line that features solid players like left tackle Russell Okung, right guard Michael Schofield and center Mike Pouncey, but also second-year players Dan Feeney and Sam Tevi at left guard and right tackle.Facing the Chargers will be the defense that is currently second in the NFL with 42 sacks.With Chris Jones, Dee Ford and Justin Houston, the Chiefs can bring pressure from the interior or from the edge — and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will be relatively free to utilize blitz packages with little fear that Rivers will take advantage.For all of Rivers’ skills — which are considerable — he is not a quarterback who tends to make defenses regret bringing the heat.Going the other way, the Chiefs offensive line may be battered, but they remain unbent.Still without right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif — and this week, without left guard Cam Erving — the Chiefs will have rookie Andrew Wylie continuing to sub for LDT, and veteran Jeff Allen taking Erving’s place.Even with all the chaos on the offensive line this season — as players have shuttled in and out due to injuries — they have turned in solid performances, allowing just 23 sacks.Much of the credit for that must go to Mahomes, who continues to let pressure slide off his back.Unlike Rivers, Mahomes has the ability to avoid sacks and make big plays under pressure.In defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the Chargers have a pair of top-quality pass rushers who will give the Chiefs offensive line a challenge. but with what we have seen this season, unless one of them can completely dominate Eric Fisher or Mitchell Schwartz, Mahomes will have room to operate.4. Walking woundedJay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY SportsBoth teams are coming into this game with key players hurt.For the Chiefs, Spencer Ware, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins — along with the aforementioned Cam Erving — could potentially be unable to play.Eric Berry is now expected to play — but nobody really knows how much.And Kelvin Benjamin could see the field for the first time as a Chief — and if neither Watkins or Hill can go, that could be important.For the Chargers, running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler might not play, along with tight end Sean Culkin.We can expect both teams to keep us in the dark about which players will be available right up until the inactive lists are submitted late on Thursday afternoon.However it plays out, it’s probable that fans of both teams will see some relatively new faces get significant playing time.5. Weather or notPhoto by Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesAt kickoff, the weather will be cold — somewhere near freezing — and at this writing, there is a good chance of rain in the hours before kickoff and as the game begins.If you’re planning to attend the game, please dress accordingly — remembering that there is hardly anything worse than being cold and wet simultaneously.Pro trip: don’t wear wool gloves.In such weather conditions, there are usually predictions that teams will tend to run the ball more.But in this game, because there is so much uncertainty in the running back position for both teams, we could expect them to go ahead and run the ball a normal percentage of their snaps.It wouldn’t be unreasonable, however, to think there could be a higher-than-usual number of fumbles in this game.
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