This was a real test for the Chiefs. They showed a lot of toughness, both mental and physical. You had a rookie kicker bounce back from a miss to help win the game, a left tackle play every snap through an injury, and a QB that carried his team under duress. Injuries might be the only thing that can slow this team down, as they lost a fourth key contributor in four weeks when LDT went down with a knee injury.
Here are a few Chiefs trending this week:
K Harrison Butker: It wasn’t JUST the fact that he hit the game winner in his first game. It was the way he bounced back from missing his first FG attempt and was nails the rest of the game. It was also the way he boomed kickoffs out of the end zone, preventing any returns, and saving wear and tear on his coverage unit. The kid could be here to stay, and he could continue to be a difference maker for the Chiefs.
TE Travis Kelce: When your TE goes for 7/111 and a TD, he should make this list. When the catches made were among the most important in the game, that’s even better. Kelce’s long catch in the first half sparked the offense and helped prevent them falling too far behind. His touchdown was a tremendous play made out of sheer will to win. He ran a great route and attacked the football. He wasn’t going to be denied on that play, or on that night. Say what you will about Kelce’s antics, but he’s an energy-giver as Andy Reid calls it and plays the game with tremendous passion and tenacity.
QB Alex Smith: Not much else can be said about the Chiefs starting QB at this point. He’s having a career year, and is finally the reason the Chiefs are winning. He came up big on Monday Night Football when it counted, hitting franchise QB throws to Kelce and Wilson, in addition to making plays on the ground. He’s not along for the ride with this 4-0 team, he’s (at times) carrying it on his back.
Somehow Alex Smith has the best passer rating, best completion %, and third best Y/A in the NFL even though he's been sacked the 2nd most.— Gary McKenzie (@Super_G_Chiefs) October 4, 2017
CB Terrance Mitchell: It feels like the same story each week for Mitchell. Teams think they can target him early and often, he battles and contests everything on the field, and at the end of the day we say “Hmm, he did better than we thought.” Maybe we should start raising our expectations on the Chiefs No. 2 CB? He gave up two catches for 19 yards on five targets this week according to PFF. Mitchell actually leads the league in passes defended with 10. He’s a physical presence across from the playmaker (Marcus Peters), and teams aren’t finding success throwing his way.
HC Andy Reid: Everyone agrees that Big Red has been masterful at directing the Chiefs offense thus far. He might just have this team clicking in other equally important ways: Ability to adjust in game when things aren’t going well. Reid’s team faced adversity this week, but were able to win anyway. That’s a very good sign that the coaching and leadership are strong. Also, the penalty problems that persisted for the first 3three weeks were not an issue against Washington. Only three flags against KC this week, and they are no longer the league leaders in penalties.
Others trending in the right direction: Kareem Hunt, Bennie Logan, Eric Murray, Justin Houston, Bryan Witzmann, Albert Wilson
LB Ramik Wilson: Perhaps we can take Andy Reid at his word. He said they just wanted to give Reggie Ragland a look this week, see what he can do. Perhaps the Chiefs have made a change at SILB. Either way, Wilson didn’t play much this week, which wouldn’t have happened if he was playing at a high level. We’ll see if it’s a one-game thing, or if it’s a long term trend.
The Chiefs offensive line: First the positives: Bryan Witzmann seems to be improving, and Eric Fisher fought through injuries to play this week and did a decent job. Missing Mitch Morse and Parker Ehinger, losing LDT, and having Eric Fisher banged up put the Chiefs offense in a real bind. We talked a lot about cohesiveness and continuity with this group, and it’s critically important. Now we also see the importance of depth and durability. Hopefully, they get some good news on the injury front soon, and get back on track. Otherwise, it’ll take more heroics from Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt to keep the offense and the winning streak going.
DE Jarvis Jenkins: Jenkins was in on nine defensive snaps, and earned an illegal hands to the face penalty on one. I believe the Chiefs like Jenkins because of his versatility to play DE or NT, but he’s probably the weaker link in a strong defensive line rotation at this point.
LB Tanoh Kpassagnon: The Chiefs don’t appear to believe that #TeamGiantEdge is ready for primetime. He isn’t getting snaps with the defense even when Dee Ford was inactive due to injury. How much are they willing to do to avoid playing KPass? ILB Terrance Smith came in this week for a few snaps as an edge rusher. Frank Zombo isn’t getting the job done, and the Chiefs pass rush struggled this week. How long until Tanoh gets his shot? As some have pointed out, Andy Reid does like to ease his rookies into the fold, not starting many, especially in the first half of the season. Perhaps that’s all it is. It’s logical to believe that KPass could have forced his way on the field by now.
Others going in the wrong direction: Dustin Colquitt, DeAnthony Thomas
CB Marcus Peters: Many would assume that Peters would be on the down list this week. He was beaten for two touchdowns, was caught on camera swearing at fans, and had a strange post game rant. I’d contend that Peters is who he is. He’s not getting worse, he just had a rough night. He mistimed his jump on the long TD to Terrelle Pryor, and just got beat on the other. It happens. He made several good plays, including a forced fumble to close out the game. Peters isn’t going anywhere, and I expect he’ll bounce back in a big way this week.
WR Tyreek Hill: Hill didn’t get many big play opportunities this week, and he did have an uncharacteristic drop. He did end the day with five catches, some of which were key in moving the chains for the Chiefs offense. The Chiefs have three legit offensive gamebreakers, and it seems there are only enough big plays for two per week. This week it was Kelce and Kareem Hunt, perhaps next week it’ll be Hill’s turn again.
LB Frank Zombo: Again this week, it was a mixed bag for Zombo. He did quite well versus the run, according to PFF and others. Frank brings little to the table when it comes to pass rush. The Chiefs need Dee Ford to get healthy quick in order to not repeat this week’s zero sack performance.
Others who are who we thought they were: Charcandrick West, Chris Conley, Dan Sorensen