Chiefs 29, Redskins 20: Five takeaways from the game plus your questions and comments.Posted by Arrowhead Pride: For Kansas City Chiefs Fans on Monday, October 2, 2017
The Kansas City Chiefs won a thriller against the Washington Redskins by the score of 29-20 Monday night, improving to 4-0 on the season. The Chiefs are the only undefeated team left in the NFL through the year’s first quarter.
Here are the game’s winners and losers:
Winner: Alex Smith
I’m sure you’ve noticed on Twitter and the podcasts and the articles by now, but one of my new favorite things is to joke about how Alex Smith is the “new” Alex Smith. And while there is certainly a comedic aspect to the nickname, it’s games like Monday night that remind me it’s really true.
Here’s Smith with a makeshift offensive line, getting battered in the first quarter. Tell me that you didn’t think the Chiefs were in trouble early on in this game.
But what does he do? He trusts Andy Reid. Together, they make offensive adjustments. He gets Travis Kelce involved. He takes more deep shots. He scrambles for 11 and 37 yards. He walks into the end zone untouched and breaks a franchise record in the process. He breaks out of the pocket with the game on the line and throws a perfect 37-yard pass down the right sideline to Albert Wilson while on the run.
Through it all and every game, he is reaffirming that not only is he a franchise quarterback—he’s a good franchise quarterback.
And there’s, of course, the shift in attitude. We learned of it first in the Graham Bensinger interview, and I’d argue it’s visible on the field in his play.
The “new” Alex Smith (#NewAlex) isn’t just a joke. It’s real.
Winner: Harrison Butker
Chiefs rookie kicker Harrison Butker’s night didn’t start off well (he was on the losers side of this article earlier in the night). After a poor start to the game for the Chiefs, they had an opportunity to tie it at 10 headed into the locker room.
Butker came on for the first field goal of his NFL career, a 46-yarder, but he missed it wide left, and the Chiefs trailed 10-7 headed into halftime.
But Butker redeemed himself in the third and fourth quarters, when he made 26 and 32-yarders, respectively.
He was then brought on for the game-winning kick from 43 yards out with eight seconds left on the clock and the game tied at 20.
After being iced by Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, Butker made the kick. What a start to the rookie’s career.
Winner: Travis Kelce
Some were worried after Travis Kelce’s performance last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, against whom he finished with just one reception for one yard.
They should’t have been.
Kelce rebounded against the Redskins for seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Kelce’s first big play came on a beautifully thrown ball by Smith in the first quarter for 32 yards, and in the second quarter, he caught a 17-yard pass for the score.
Kelce used his big body to beat Bashaud Breeland on the play. He followed the score with an All-Pro dance:
Winner: Kareem Hunt
We learned that Kareem Hunt is a human Monday night when he finished the first half for 24 yards and we didn’t see his usual 50-plus-yard touchdown. But what we did see is that Hunt not only can hit the home run, but he can also grind out a well-played football game.
In the Kareem Hunt vs. first tackler matchup, it feels like Hunt wins 9/10 times.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) October 3, 2017
Hunt finished the game with 21 carries for 101 yards and four receptions for 20 yards.
Also, worth noting: His four straight games of 100-plus scrimmage yards placed him among elite company:
Kareem Hunt is 4th player in SB era to start career w/ 4 straight games with 100+ scrimmage yds (A. Peterson, L. Tomlinson & B. Sims)— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 3, 2017
Winner: Albert Wilson
On third-and-5 at the Washington 14-yard line and the game tied at 17, Smith threw a pass right into Kelce’s helmet. The carom was juicy, the ball popping in the air and up for grabs for any player.
Wilson, at 5 feet 9, jumped as high as he could and caught the ball before a Redskin could, potentially saving the game for the Chiefs.
If the Chiefs win remember this play by Albert Wilson. pic.twitter.com/Og0diall2J— Clay Wendler (@ClayWendler) October 3, 2017
In the fourth quarter at the Kansas City 29-yard line with less than a minute left, Wilson made a 37-yard catch and held onto the ball despite a massive hit from Montae Nicholson.
Wilson finished the game with four catches for 62 yards.
Winner: Justin Houston
Scoring plays just don’t come every day for outside linebackers.
Loser: First-half Jordan Devey
The Chiefs lost starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in the first quarter to a left knee injury, and backup Jordan Devey replaced him. Devey struggled a bit the rest of the half, and many times Smith was running for his life.
This Pro Football Focus tweet came in after the first half:
RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif this season: 102 pass blocks, 1 pressure allowed— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) October 3, 2017
RG Jordan Devey in 1st half: 23 pass blocks, 3 pressures allowed
Whether it be by coaching adjustments or play, Devey seemed to improve a bit in the third quarter.
Loser: Bashaud Breeland
Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland had three defensive penalties on the evening—including one that extended the Chiefs’ fourth-quarter drive that enabled them to take a 20-17 lead.
He was also the victim on Kelce’s touchdown.
Loser: Marcus Peters
I need to stress that it is so hard to give cornerback Marcus Peters a placement on the “loser” side of this article because of how good he typically is and how lucky the Chiefs are to have him.
But if there was ever a time for it, it was Monday night.
Peters was beat on both the Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant touchdowns, and then there was this: