Yes. I do believe this team has a legitimate chance to go to the Super Bowl, and to be clear, this is the strongest I’ve ever felt about that possibility during my five-year tenure as The Star’s beat writer. Barring an injury to a handful of key players –– and yes, that does include quarterback Alex Smith, who leads the NFL in passer rating –– I think the Chiefs should be considered the favorite in the AFC.
Butker, who said he kicked two short game-winning field goals in 2014 for Georgia Tech, was in his apartment in Charlotte — he had been a member of the Carolina Panthers practice squad — Monday when his agent called and told him he was heading to Kansas City. He was able to practice three times with his new teammates, even if he didn’t get to know many of them outside of punter Dustin Colquitt, whom Butker knew from an offseason kicking academy, and long snapper James Winchester.
We don’t know how much longer the Chiefs can keep up this unbeaten run, especially with the AFC West gauntlet coming up soon. They face a resurgent Houston Texans squad on the road in Week 5 and host the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6. The Week 7 matchup against the Oakland Raiders looks much less daunting if Derek Carr is still out, but then they get the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys before their Week 10 bye. There aren’t many easy games left on this schedule.
▪ The Chiefs improve to 4-0 for only the fourth time in franchise history. They will now take to the road for the first of a brutal three-game slate against 2016 playoff teams. The Chiefs will face Houston on Sunday night at NRG Stadium, then host Pittsburgh on Oct. 15 and take to the road again to face Oakland on Thursday night, Oct. 19.
Hunt scored six touchdowns in his first three games in the NFL, tying Billy Sims for the most in that span in league history. So the Pro Football Hall of Fame got Hunt’s jersey after the Sept. 24 win over the Chargers.
Another mark of a good team is that they have more than one way to win. The Chiefs overwhelmed the Patriots with big plays, ground out a second-half comeback against the Eagles, beat the Chargers from ahead, and worked through injuries and nearly struggles against Washington.
None of this matters as much as what the Chiefs look like in two or three months, but at this point, except for the injuries — and depending on the news with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Eric Berry is the only one out for the year — how could the Chiefs be any better at this moment?
Ragland started in place of Ramik Wilson, who started the first three games of the season.
“I like both guys,” Reid said. “We brought Reggie here to see what he’s all about. We’re lucky to have both of them. He gives us another tough kid in there vs. the run and actually covered the pass pretty good.”
The Kansas City Chiefs beat Washington 29-20 on Monday Night Football, and after the game, The Star’s Sam Mellinger (@mellinger), Vahe Gregorian (@vgregorian), Blair Kerkhoff (@BlairKerkhoff) and Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) convened in the press box at Arrowhead Stadium to dissect the Chiefs’ Super Bowl chances, potential hiccups and what’s going on with Marcus Peters. The guys talk about all that and provide even more analysis, plus answer your questions.
Current numbers: 502 rushing yards, 157 receiving yards
Rookie rushing yards: Hunt is on pace for 2,008 rushing yards, which is exactly 200 more yards than Eric Dickerson’s record for a rookie running back.
Consecutive games with 100-plus yards from scrimmage to start career: Hunt is the fourth player since 1950 with 100-plus yards from scrimmage in his first four career games.
“Roll with the punches,” Kelce said. “Things aren't going to go your way, especially when you put it in the ref’s hands. There were a couple plays there where I feel like I could have done better.”
Officials waved off a flag in the first half after Kelce dropped the ball in front of a pair of Washington defensive backs. In the fourth quarter, he quickly quit arguing even when he clearly thought the Redskins should have been called for pass interference.
“He didn’t get frustrated or do anything there. He just hung with it and kept competing and did a nice job,” Reid said.
And don’t think Smith –– who tried to gain a little extra yardage by playing rope-a-dope with oncoming safety D.J. Swearinger by slowing up near the sideline –– didn’t enjoy every second of it, despite the big hit he absorbed as a result.
“I hit the angle hard,” Smith said. “Sometimes when you’re on the sideline, they sleep on you as a quarterback, right? And now I thought, ‘man, there’s really only 30 seconds left, I have to get an extra 10 yards.’ And I tried to hit the cutback, and he was ready for it and I got slammed.”
Through four games, the Chiefs have outscored their opponents 78 to 37 in the final 30 minutes of the game, and that plus-41 differential is the best in the NFL. It’s even more staggering in the fourth quarter when the Chiefs have outscored opponents 57 to 13.
Mike Florio and Chris Simms let loose while discussing the trending topics around the NFL in Tuesday's edition of the Best of PFT Live.