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Giants stun Chiefs, 12-9: the bad and the ugly

The New York Giants earned their second victory of the year against the Kansas City Chiefs, 12-9, Sunday.

Usually, this article is called “the good, the bad and the ugly,” but I just went with “the bad and the ugly” for this one.

BAD: The Travis Kelce shovel pass finally meets its match

Using Travis Kelce with the shovel pass has made for some intriguing offensive looks this year for the Chiefs. The shovel helped Kansas City become the only team to beat who is widely regarded right now as the league’s best--the Philadelphia Eagles.

It has been plays like the shovel that have made teams across the league copy Andy Reid.

But on Sunday against the Giants, it didn’t work.

Kelce mishandled the pass, it popped up into the air and Damon Harrison snatched it for Alex Smith’s second interception of the season.

BAD: Marcus Peters takes a defensive pass interference call leading to a Giants touchdown

The Giants offense isn’t good, and the Chiefs’ red-zone defense (perhaps more so in previous years than this season in particular) has been a strength.

It’s why with the Giants facing third-and-7 on the Kansas City 13, you simply cannot take a textbook pass interference penalty, which Peters did.

The penalty put the Giants on the Chiefs’ goal line, and Orleans Darkwa ran it in for a touchdown on the next play.

BAD: Chiefs allow Eli Manning to rush for a first down

Eli Manning is not fast. He is not Alex Smith. He is not Russell Wilson. His last name is not Vick.

There is no way he should be able to ever scramble on your defensive line to pick up a third-and-8 first down.

That happened Sunday.

BAD: Janoris Jenkins’ interception

I wouldn’t consider the shovel-pass interception out of character for Alex Smith because it was kind of a freak thing.

His interception to Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins was very much out of character.

Smith threw the ball into a lot of traffic and Jenkins came down with the football. The pick gave the Giants great field position, and they kicked a field goal to make it 9-6.

BAD: Penalties again

The Chiefs took nine penalties for 87 yards Sunday. And they came at some of the worst possible times.

The aforementioned penalty on Peters, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif being ineligible downfield early and a tough holding call in overtime, and Bennie Logan’s encroachment in overtime all come to mind.

The penalty yardage could have been worse had Roger Lewis not made one of the best catches I have ever seen on what would have been blatant pass interference by Philip Gaines.

Penalties kill, and they didn’t help the Chiefs Sunday.

UGLY: Travis Kelce throwing the football

The game is tied 6-6. Smith has struggled to throw the football all day due to the wind, or whatever.

So the Chiefs call a Travis Kelce throw?

The deep ball from the Chiefs tight end was unsurprisingly off the mark and went right into safety Landon Collins’ hands.


UGLY: Ben McAdoo opts to run a trick play with offense rolling

Earlier in the game, Uncle Ben had his own gaffe.

The Giants offense was killing it, Eli Manning looked like Super Bowl Eli and the young skill position players who no one has ever heard of because everyone is hurt were making catches on the Chiefs secondary left and right.

He had all the momentum—and it felt like a touchdown on the Chiefs was imminent.

So the call was a Shane Vereen trick play at the Kansas City 18-yard line? Danny Sorensen picked off Vereen, ending the Giants’ drive.

UGLY: The end-of-the-first half sequence

The Chiefs trailed 6-3 at the end of the first half with a minute left and one timeout remaining.

Despite the New York Giants getting the ball first in the third quarter, the Chiefs opted to run the football. The Giants, who had three timeouts with the ball in Chiefs territory, did not use them in order to regain possession.

Nobody wanted to win this game.

UGLY: Pass drops

All day. Both teams. Seemingly every position.

UGLY: Alex Smith threw ball directly into ground

The Chiefs had finally seemed to get something going in their first offensive possession of the third quarter by incorporating Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt a bit more.

They picked up three first downs and got the ball all the way to the New York 37-yard line, when Smith, targeting Ross Travis, threw the ball five to seven yards directly into the ground in front of him.

It looked like the wind knocked it down, which at the time I assumed.

I want to acknowledge that it could be a case of the wind blowing the opposite way on the Giants’ next possession, but I also know the winds at MetLife Stadium are notoriously regarded as swirling.

Either way, Manning’s balls were completely unaffected by the wind on that next drive and though the Chiefs would force a turnover on downs, it made me think back to that horrible throw. Was it the wind or was Smith having a really bad day?

UGLY: Everything about the overtime period

The Chiefs miraculously managed to tie the game right before the fourth quarter ended, so even though the game had been disastrous, a Kansas City win could be salvaged.

Then, when the Chiefs won the overtime toss, you felt a little bit better.

But on third-and-10 at their own 35-yard line, Smith checked down to Charcandrick West well short of the first-down marker. It was very “Old Alex Smith.”

The Chiefs punted, and Manning tore up the Chiefs secondary to put the Giants in easy field-goal position. Game.

Final thoughts

I am usually the writer and podcast host who tells fans to “relax.”

I remind you that “it’s hard to win in the National Football League” and that the “Chiefs are still in good position.”

I can’t tell you that after this.

The Giants entered this game with one win, coming off a loss to the previously winless San Francisco 49ers.

They came in with the league’s No. 31 defense (yards allowed per game) and they had two key surprise scratches—cornerback Eli Apple and wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

If there were ever a time you felt comfortable guaranteeing a Chiefs victory to get back on track, it was Sunday.

There was no way this football team, which has Super Bowl hopes, could lose to the New York Giants. And then it did.

And now everything we said, we need to take back. The AFC West division is not over. There are no assumable wins for the rest of the season.

The Chiefs are not the team we thought they were.

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