The 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs dominated again this week in Houston. The big play offense continued and they finally got the special teams score we’ve been waiting for. Everyone else has your Alex Smith coverage, I’ll just note that his stock is up, and he’s playing out of his mind right now. You can’t ask for more out of your starting QB.
Here are some other Chiefs trends this week:
RT Mitchell Schwartz: According to PFF, Schwartz had 42 clean snaps in pass blocking, and very solid night in run blocking as well. Schwartz had his best game of the season against Houston. Schwartz is an absolute iron man, never missing a snap. He’s had a couple of tough games this season, but the Chiefs are lucky to have his stability and ability at right tackle.
WR/PR Tyreek Hill: He was due, we all saw it. Hill’s long punt return TD is what we’ve come to expect from a guy averaging nearly 50 yards on his 15 scores. He might not get too many more opportunities, as teams would be foolish to ever give him a chance to return a punt. Teams will find it more difficult to prevent big plays on offense, though. Hill demonstrated his elite ball skills in addition to world class speed on the deep pass from Smith this week. Strangely, it feels like Hill has had a relatively quiet season, and he has room to do a lot more. That should be a scary thought for defenses.
DL Bennie Logan: Logan is having a fantastic season, and he shows up every game. Yes, he’s doing all the dirty work of taking up blockers and shutting down gaps. But every week he displays the ability to get in the backfield and make plays. Bennie had another three tackles, one TFL and a QB hit this week.
DL Chris Jones: Jones forced his third fumble of the season, and was in on another sack
as well. The Chiefs have been giving Jones and Logan less help on passing downs, dropping linebackers in coverage more often. So, when the interior defensive line gets pressure (Jones had SIX pressures this week) on the QB and makes plays, it’s even more impressive and critical to the success of the defense. The only play that nearly got Jones into a different section of this post was the late TD pass, where Jones was obviously held but, instead of pursuing the QB, stopped to complain to the ref. I’ll give him a pass, given the situation, but I’d rather see him keep fighting and let the flags fall if they fall.
K Harrison Butker: The kid is a weapon. EIGHT made field goals in his first two weeks including a game winner, and nearly every kickoff was out of the end zone. He obviously has a big leg, but his confidence and calm are already evident and contagious. I find myself more confident and calm every time he kicks.
RB Charcandrick West: Moosey had another elite pickup in pass protection, upending a blitzing defensive back (he’s been great in pass pro all season). He added two receiving touchdowns, and neither was easy. West is the epitome of a team player. He’s the guy that has a seemingly insignificant role on the team, does the little things every week, and when his number is called in the right situation, he makes impact plays.
WR Demarcus Robinson: We heard it all offseason, Robinson was going to make a big step forward. He now has that opportunity, with the loss of Chris Conley to an Achilles injury. He has caught his only three targets this season, but it’s safe to assume he’s about to see a few more. Robinson is on this list, not because of an outstanding game against the Texans, but because he’s a guy with some obvious ability that will be counted on to step up going forward.
Others trending in the right direction: Justin Houston, Travis Kelce, Alex Smith, DJ, Kareem Hunt, Reggie Ragland, Zach Fulton
Chiefs run defense: The Texans running backs put up 113 yards on only 20 carries, good for 5.65 YPC. The Chiefs knew that Deshaun Watson was a threat to run, and often left a linebacker spying him. The Texans QB contributed 31 yards on the ground on only three attempts. It’s not costing them games, but the run defense is again a bit of a concern. Bob Sutton’s guys can improve against the run with a simple fundamental focus: clean up their tackling.
This team’s health: Another week, another significant injury to a valuable Chiefs contributor. It was another brutal, physical game like those against the Eagles and Redskins. Less serious injuries to Kelce, Houston, Terrell and Hill are ones to watch this week. Kudos to the Chiefs front office and coaching staff for building a deep team and getting guys to step up, but they can’t afford to keep sending players to IR and still keep this thing rolling for 19 games.
DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches: RNR had a great offseason, and looked prime to breakout this season. So far, it hasn’t translated to production. Nunez-Roches was only in for eight snaps on defense this week, and the one play he really stood out was a missed sack that turned into a 48 yard touchdown to Will Fuller.
Others who appear to be struggling a bit: Eric Murray, KPL
CBs Terrance Mitchell and Marcus Peters: I’ll put both of these guys in the same category for this week. Both are aggressive, physical and talented. Both make great plays on the ball, and make life difficult for QBs and WRs. Both were beaten enough to frustrate players and fans alike. Peters lost his cool on the sidelines, and has struggled in recent weeks — at least compared to his high standard. The reason these guys are flat instead of down this week is because a LOT is asked of them. They are often left alone in man coverage, and when there isn’t a quick pass rush, the defensive backs have to cover for an impossible length of time. Playing cornerback in the NFL is one of the most difficult positions in all of sports, and the Chiefs have two good ones that will battle every week.
TE Demetrius Harris: The unquestioned No. 2 TE for the Chiefs, Harris doesn’t get a lot of praise. He caught all three of his targets this week, and is a reliable, albeit not spectacular presence in this offense.
OL Cameron Erving: Erving was a surprise starter against Houston, stepping in at right guard. The Chiefs OL graded out well overall, giving up one sack and allowing Hunt to rush for 100-plus yards yet again. But his average was way down (3.7 YPC), as he wasn’t finding big running lanes and had to fight for every yard. It wasn’t all bad for Cam this week, but I noticed him standing around too much (especially when something bad happened for the Chiefs offense), and he was flagged once for holding. Alex Smith wasn’t standing around, he was rolling out to his right to avoid pressure far too often. Some had Erving graded better than I did, so I’ll put him on the flat list for his first start in Kansas City. We’ll see if he gets another shot this week.
Others who are who we thought they were: DAT, Daniel Sorensen, Frank Zombo