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KC Chiefs beat Miami Dolphins, 29-13: the good, the bad and the ugly

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The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins 29-13 Sunday afternoon, clinching their second consecutive AFC West title.

This is the good, the bad and the ugly:

GOOD: Marcus Peters strikes, AGAIN

The Miami Dolphins looked to have some juice to their game early Sunday, picking up a quick first down on their initial possession. Then on third-and-6, things changed.

Jarvis Landry had picked up another first down when he was leveled by Derrick Johnson, and Marcus Peters snatched the football out of the air.

The offense came on and got three points off the turnover.

BAD: Tackling and coverage on the second defensive drive

After Derrick Johnson and Marcus Peters bailed the defense out on drive number one (above), the Chiefs defense struggled on drive number two.

Jarvis Landry and Kenyan Drake looked explosive, the Chiefs were missing tackles and everyone seemed open.

Then...

GOOD/UGLY: JAY !

After a fumble-filled mess last week against the Buffalo Bills, Jay Cutler doubled down and bobbled the ball on third down to ice the drive.

The Dolphins tied the game with a 44-yard field goal.

GOOD: Alex Smith to Tyreek Hill, despite coverage!

Forget about that hesitant Alex Smith narrative. Tyreek Hill was covered in the second quarter and it didn’t matter.

Watch this play. Smith launched it at about his own 25-yard line and it hit Hill at about the opposing 20. That’s 55 yards in the air and a perfect pass, and it needed to be as three Dolphins surrounded Hill. It was officially ruled a 52-yard gain.

This was a positive moment because it reinforces a couple things:

  • Smith appears to be more comfortable letting the football fly on looks he may not have previously been...
  • ...and that’s because Hill’s route running is improving every week and with that, so is Smith’s trust in him even if he may be covered.
  • If the Chiefs offense continues to show no fear throwing long balls like this, the defense will need to be cognizant, meaning only more room for other guys like Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt.

GOOD: Kelce’s touchdown catch.

Speaking of throwing to players who are covered, Travis Kelce was blanketed by Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones and it didn’t matter.

Smith followed up the pretty long ball to Hill with this beauty, and the Chiefs went up 10-3.

GOOD: Travis Kelce - 1000*

Two years running.

A post shared by Arrowhead Pride (@arrowheadpride) on

And speaking of Travis Kelce—back to back.

UGLY: Albert, you dropped six

Albert Wilson has had a great season, but he had a bad drop on another perfect pass by Alex Smith that would have gone for a 55-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

GOOD: Kareem The Dream

Luckily for Albert Wilson, Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt picked Wilson up with impressive runs. First, Alex Smith scrambled on third-and-8 for a first down.

A couple plays later, the Chiefs ran a perfectly-timed option play in which Smith baited Cameron Wake before pitching to Kareem Hunt, who dashed up the field for 24 yards.

Hunt pounded it two more times until the Chiefs picked up the 1-yard touchdown.

UGLY: What was this?

So the score is 17-6 and the Chiefs have all the momentum. Get a stop, maybe another score before the half, and the already-eight-loss Dolphins probably all but give up.

What the Chiefs didn’t need is what happened:

The victims: Ron Parker failed to wrap up Jakeem Grant, Reggie Ragland couldn’t make the save, and Grant ran 65 yards for the touchdown.

New life for the Dolphins.

GOOD: Chiefs defense recovers, Tyreek Hill leads to points

The silver lining was that the Dolphins could not take immediate advantage of said new life.

That is because on their next offensive possession, Jay Cutler threw a pass to nobody on second down, and Chris Jones batted a pass at the line on third down, leading to a punt.

The Chiefs got the ball back with under 50 seconds and two timeouts, and a defensive holding penalty got them to the 50-yard line.

Alex Smith was incomplete on first down, but on second down, he threw down the right sideline to Tyreek Hill.

The ball was slightly underthrown, but Hill made an outstanding play to adjust, track the ball and high-point it for the catch over two Dolphins defenders.

The play led to a Chiefs 32-yard field goal and a 20-13 lead before the half.

GOOD: Everything about Alex Smith at the beginning of the second half

The Chiefs faced third-and-2 at their own 44-yard line early on in the third quarter, and Alex Smith looked dead to rights for a sack by Cameron Wake.

Smith first evaded Wake, then a diving Andre Branch en route to a scramble to save the play.

The referees called defensive holding. First down Chiefs.

Smith followed it up with another outstanding pass, this time to No. 82.

No, not that No. 82. Orson Charles, the tight end called up to replace Ross Travis after his release a few weeks back.

BAD: Tyreek Hill was probably cheated out of his eighth touchdown

Hill made the catch in the end zone with an incredible effort to get two feet in, but the referees ruled it incomplete. Andy Reid challenged, but to no avail.

Here was the explanation from the league:

BAD: Going for it on fourth down in the third quarter

Hard to kill Andy Reid and Matt Nagy for the aggression because I believe that’s always good in an offense, so I gave this a “bad” instead of an ugly.

The Chiefs opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Miami 19 (automatic three for Harrison Butker).

Had they ran out Butker, they would have extended the lead to 16 instead of 13, essentially meaning that the Dolphins would need two touchdowns instead of a touchdown on the field goal.

Yes. The Dolphins, who could only score a touchdown on somewhat of a freak play up to that point, would need to score two more.

Kareem Hunt was stuffed at the line. Turnover.

GOOD: Marcus Peters makes up for the call

Miami pushed the ball to their own 40 on the next possession, and Kenny Still was in the midst of a 17-yard gain when Marcus Peters stripped the ball once again.

Ron Parker jumped on it for the recovery, and the Chiefs managed to get the three anyway.

GOOD: In the meantime...

Mr. 4000

A post shared by Arrowhead Pride (@arrowheadpride) on

The #OldAlex never reached the 4,000-yard threshold. But this is the #NewAlex.

GOOD: Harrison Butker ties the franchise record for field goals made

Harrison Butker made five of six field goals Sunday, breaking the franchise record with 36 this year.

The fact that he accomplished this feat as a rookie is impressive. The fact that he did it with three less games (and still one to play to break it) is kind of unbelievable.

And there will be critics (“Yeah, well if the Chiefs scored more touchdowns”), and I get that. But even though he had the additional opportunities, you still have to make the kicks, and Butker has done that.

When Brett Veach, Dave Toub and the Chiefs made the decision to waive Cairo Santos to go with Butker Week 4, it felt especially strange at the time. But I think we get it now.

GOOD: Champs, again