The trend is your friend (until the end when it bends) is a staple catch phrase of stock analysis. There are a lot of applications of this concept, but one way of looking at it: ride the hot hand. The Chiefs have been able to capitalize on really spectacular play from Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in recent weeks. The KC team as a whole is trending upward, having just played their most complete game of the season. It’s the explosive plays form Hill and Kelce that are finally getting the offense up to the level of the defense and special teams.
Kelce’s stock is at an all time high, and it’s amazing to watch. His 80-yard screen pass TD this week along with his crucial blocks on Tyreek Hill’s 70-yard TD run were both ELITE plays. For the past six weeks, he’s been the best player on the Chiefs offense and among the best offensive players in the NFL. He’s peaking at the right time and dragging the Chiefs offense along with him.
Tyreek Hill, the RB
Hill didn’t have a catch as a WR this week, but he provided something that’s been missing since the Chiefs had a healthy Jamaal Charles: an explosive speed player in the running game. Six rushes, 95 yards and a TD. His previous high was two carries. He’s finally getting the ball on the ground, and he’s a threat to go the distance on EVERY touch. This changes everything.
Alex Smith, the runner
I feel like this point, while we’ve talked about it, has been overlooked. The Chiefs have a good running game when Alex Smith runs. They don’t when he doesn’t. Smith had a couple more impact runs this week. The Chiefs end up with 238 yards rushing because Alex had 46 yards and a TD (along with Tyreek scoring from 70 yards away). Alex’s running is one of the real keys of the offense, and ultimately the Chiefs playoff chances ... and we’re seeing signs of life for all three.
It might seem strange to have Ford on the list in a game where he didn’t have a sack and he hasn’t had one since Week 10 but Ford was applying constant pressure (seven pressures, per PFF) against Denver, and made some tremendous plays in the backfield on running plays. The box score doesn’t tell you the whole story, Ford was an impact player.
In one of the most hilarious and memorable plays in recent years, Poe took the Broncos season out behind the barn with a shotgun. The amount of fun he and the rest of the team are having with his goal line ability is awesome. He’s still doing his job on defense, and quietly made some great plays this week. Like Eric Berry, Dontari Poe is making his case as a core defensive player worthy of a new deal from the Chiefs.
“Dirty Dan” had a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He’s been a consistent role player this season, doing a little bit of everything on defense and special teams. He’s a hustle player, and has a knack for being in the right place and right time. He won’t make anyone forget about Eric Berry anytime soon, but Sorensen has become a valuable part of an opportunistic defense.
Others who are trending upward: Terrance Mitchell, RNR, LDT, Eric Berry, Mitch Schwartz, Chris Jones
No free passes on this series of posts, Cairo. You miss a FG and an extra point, and folks get worried. Santos has to be nearly perfect going into the playoffs. Anything less, and it could cost the Chiefs everything they’ve worked for. This is the life of a kicker in the NFL.
The highlight of the game was Harris being on the receiving end of the “bloated Tebow” play. Prior to that, Harris again caught only half of the passes thrown his way, and was inconsistent as a blocker. The Chiefs seem to like him, but I really hope he doesn’t get 11 targets in a game again anytime soon.
The Chiefs guards have struggled this season, especially in the run game. We’ve talked a lot about the fact that they miss Parker Ehinger, but it’s obvious every week. Fulton is a valuable backup along the interior line, but the unit isn’t at its best with him in the starting lineup.
Others who are struggling: Albert Wilson, Chris Conley, Justin Houston
Another OK / not bad / pretty good performance from the Chiefs primary running back. Ware ran hard and finished runs but wasn’t able to make a huge impact on the game. He shared more carries with West this week, which is probably good because Ware has been beat up. With a good game against the Chargers, Ware could hit 1,000 yards on the season.
Reid’s Chiefs executed (the Broncos) this week. That’s a big compliment to the head coach. It does appear Big Red has started to find more ways to get guys like Kelce and Hill involved, which is good. There weren’t any really bad decisions that stood out against Denver, and clock management wasn’t an issue. The team appeared to dial back the offense in the second half again, but then there was that one fateful moment that we’ll never forget. Poe’s touchdown pass was in some ways a personification of Andy Reid’s coaching philosophy. He’s a players’ coach who lets his guys have fun playing the game they love. He got cute on the goal line again, and it was glorious.
Others who are who we thought they were: Eric Fisher, Ramik Wilson, Anthony Sherman