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The Kansas City Chiefs are still undefeated after an epic battle with a division rival on the road. I’ve often said that division games are ones where you can throw the stats and expected scoring out the window. The Monday night game looked nothing like Weeks 1-3. It was a struggle throughout Kansas City Chiefs Hats , big plays were (relatively) limited. It’s the kind of game we may look back on and see it as the first week when the Chiefs (and the QB) were truly tested and passed with flying colors. In the end, they got the win, which is all that really matters, but we’ll still look at some trends anyway.STOCK UPPhoto by Matthew Stockman/Getty ImagesThe man, the myth, the legend, Patrick Mahomes: Mahomes traded in flashy stats and big plays for resilience, grit and calm in the clutch. He willed, dragged and carried his team to victory when it seemed like it “just wasn’t their day.” This is what makes the Mahomes era different from all that preceded it. The difference between a good quarterback that you can win with and an elite franchise quarterback is not defined in the box score. It becomes clear when the game is on the line and the game plan isn’t working. Mahomes would not be denied in this game, and his teammates could see it. Next time they struggle, they’ll be that much more confident that they have a leader that won’t allow them to lose.Kareem Hunt: Speaking of determination and a will to win, the Chiefs running back reasserted himself this week. It wasn’t just that Hunt put up 121 yards or that his average yards per carry was 6.4 or that he scored a touchdown. It was how he did it that was most impressive. Running over, through and past a tough Broncos defense, breaking tackles and the backs of his opponents along the way. Hunt got the Chiefs moving on their first drive of the game with a tough 27-yard catch-and-run, and he scored to complete the comeback. This team is electric with Mahomes, but they are most effective when Hunt brings balance and toughness.Tanoh Kpassagnon: Kpassagnon is showing tremendous progress. He led the team in quarterback hurries, and certainly looks like he belongs on the field. With Dee Ford battling through a groin injury, the Chiefs need Kpassagnon in the rotation. Armani Watts: The rookie recorded his first career sack on Monday night, showing off his closing speed to get to Case Keenum. He’s still only playing 20 percent of the defensive snaps, but he has a real opportunity to increase his role as the season goes on.Others trending in the right direction: Travis Kelce, Mitchell Schwartz, Eric Murray, Chris Jones, Orlando Scandrick, Dee Ford Kansas City Chiefs Womens Hoodie , Allen BaileySTOCK DOWNIsaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsAll the flags: 10 penalties this week, many at critical moments, including nine on offense. Two holding calls on Eric Fisher, illegal use of hands on Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, holding on Cam Erving and Mitch Morse and a pick-play on Kelce all threatened to derail drives and dig a hole that only Mahomes could get the offense out of. This week, he was able to do just that. But, there may come a time that Mahomes isn’t able to overcome sloppy offensive play.The dynamic duo, Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland: Both of these guys have made some plays downhill in the run game. But, that’s about where the positive impact on defense has ended thus far. Neither has been very good in zone or man coverage, and Ragland’s snaps have started to decline due to health and limitations. Ron Parker: I’m sure you’ll hear more about Parker from the Nerd Squad this week, so I’ll just leave this here as a teaser.Breeland Speaks: Kpassagnon finally out-snapped Speaks 18 to 16 this week, and based on what we’ve seen on the field, that gap should only widen in the coming weeks. Speaks still looks like a defensive lineman trying to learn how to play the EDGE, he’s just not an effective linebacker at this point.Damien Williams: Granted, this was a week in which Kareem Hunt did Kareem Hunt things. But, I expected Williams to be a bigger part of the Chiefs offense at this point. He was only on the field for three snaps this week. He’s got one rushing attempt this season for zero yards, and three catches for 18 yards. A complete non-factor, buried behind Hunt and Ware.Others trending in the wrong direction: Marcus Kemp, Tremon Smith, tacklingSTOCK FLATJason Getz-USA TODAY SportsKendall Fuller: Fuller has been very good overall this season, but man, it would have been nice to see him hold on for a game-sealing interception against Denver. Nonetheless, he’s more of a solution than problem for the Chiefs secondary.Sammy Watkins: Watkins is going to have to prove that the injury-prone label isn’t accurate. A hamstring injury early this week didn’t help. He has shown he can be a difference maker when on the field.Others who are who we thought they were: Steven Nelson, Tyreek Hill, Justin HoustonThursday night quotes from Andy Reid that matter Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke to local media members after the Chiefs’ fourth fan final preseason game Thursday night Womens Customized Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys , a 33-21 win over the Green Bay Packers.Prior to taking questions, Reid said that wide receiver Byron Pringle “got [his hamstring] pretty good,” meaning Pringle could very well be a candidate for injured reserve in a deep, deep wide receiver room.Here were the quotes from Reid that seemed to hold a little more weight than the others:On rookie safety Armani Watts, who recorded two interceptions in the game: “He had a big night tonight with two interceptions. That’s what you saw at Texas A&M. He’s an instinctive player. It’s just a matter of him playing more and you will see a different player each week in a positive way I think. He was an instinctive player when he first came here. The more he has played the defense, the better he has gotten. He’s got pretty good hands, those were good catches. He did a nice job.”Prior to the Chiefs drafting Watts, SB Nation called him the most clutch player in the 2018 NFL Draft. When the Chiefs decided to move on from Marcus Peters, they lost someone with a seemingly innate ability to cause turnovers. Perhaps the Chiefs have a player who could develop into a replacement in that regard in Watts.On whether it was important for Reid to see just as many reps from Matt McGloin as he did Chase Litton: “It was, yes. I wanted to give Chad (Henne) a series, and they had some guys they were going to potentially play on defense that were coming back off of injury that they wanted to work in, which was a new defense, so they could potentially throw some things at us. I thought it would be good work for Chad to get that and play him for a series and then get the other two guys in there. I thought they did a nice job, both Matt and Chase. Matt has a little more experience, but Chase sure did some nice things. He saw the blitz, got it out of his hands and knew where he wanted to go with it. He did a pretty good job.” Matt McGloin played as good a game as he had to in order to make the roster decision tough, but I’m still hoping the Chiefs go with Litton here. If Chad Henne wasn’t already on the team, I may feel differently, but the Chiefs have the experience there in Henne. Develop a backup with unknown upside.On the current state of the Chiefs’ cornerback position: “I like some of the things I’ve seen. It was good to get Steven (Nelson) back practicing. He is a big part of that. It was good to have Orlando (Scandrick) in the mix. I will tell you, we can’t have enough of those guys. David Amerson is working to get better. I think that’s important.”As I noted here, Reid is never going to go out of his way trash a player. That being said, there are feelings you can take away from the things he does say, and what this statement says to me is he sees Nelson and Scandrick higher in the depth chart than Amerson. It’s not the sentiment you want if you’re Amerson two days prior to the 53-man cutdown day.
11-02-2018, 10:03 PM
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