Not since LeBron James’ rookie NBA season did a sports moment entering with such gigantic media hype exceed the outsized expectations. It was labeled as the game of the season; it will be darn near impossible to top.
Was that matchup, and those teams, less important to the NFL? Probably. Should the NFL signal it so obviously? No. On Twitter, former NFL referee Terry McAulay wrote that he was “thoroughly disheartened” at the “perception that some officials are ‘stars’ and some are not worthy,” inferring that the league is employing officials it does not fully trust.
Yet now it’s a matter of the young Kansas City quarterback taking away hard-knock lessons from the Coliseum that could make a big difference in January, amid the win-or-go-home stakes of the playoffs.
1) Tony Gonzalez, tight end (Kansas City Chiefs, 1997-2008; Atlanta Falcons, 2009-2013): Did you know Gonzalez played basketball in college? Amazing, right? But he’s the most automatic player on this list. Retired with well over 1,300 receptions and, even in an era when tight ends evolved more into pass-catchers, he was easily the best to ever do it. Especially when you consider the number of years for which he was able to do it, too.
Think about this: The Rams, Saints and Chiefs are scoring almost as many points per half as the Eagles are scoring per game.
Twelve games into his career as an NFL starting quarterback, Mahomes understandably still has lessons to learn and polish to add to his game.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)
Week 11 ranking: 2
Thankful for: A home-grown quarterback. For most of their first 58 seasons, the Chiefs went almost exclusively with another team’s discard at the game’s most important position. They finally committed to making it work with one of their own and they were rewarded with Patrick Mahomes. Even though he’s in his first season as the starter, Mahomes looks like he’s going to be one of the best for many years to come. -- Adam Teicher
Pick 30: Chiefs
Record: 9-2 (.495) Previous week: No. 32 This week’s game: On bye Biggest needs: CB, S, edge rusher
The Chiefs’ vulnerability in the secondary was exposed by the Rams as the scoreboard lit up over and over again for both teams. Kansas City might be in the market for a young edge rusher, as well, with Dee Ford having a career year in a contract year.
Around the league
The Broncos released 14-year veteran cornerback Adam Jones on Tuesday after he appeared in just seven games with the organization. Jones signed with Denver in late August and started two games in September, but his playing time had waned in recent weeks.
The Raiders are so bad that the Ravens are trying to stay focused for Sunday’s game. That tells you something right there.
One of the best things that came out of the bye week was the Ravens’ attention to detail on defense. Against the Bengals, they didn’t come up with a lot of fancy packages to try to confuse Cincinnati.
Each Tuesday in this space, we’ll highlight the best and worst QBR performances from the NFL weekend and break down what made each quarterback perform at either extreme.
Which quarterbacks were the best and worst in Week 11?
Malcolm Jenkins was caught gesturing towards Sean Payton on the sideline during the Philadelphia Eagles’ humiliating blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints.
On Tuesday, the safety directed his anger toward his own team, questioning teammates’ demeanor during the loss. Jenkins said it’s one thing to get beat while fighting back, but another to submit to the pounding.
Where most NFL rivalries have all the passion of a corporate scuffle – do you really have a stake in Coke vs. Pepsi or Apple vs. Google? – Falcons-Saints is pure, visceral, sweaty hatred, hotter than Tabasco in July, rage and jealousy and more rage, all set to a funky, thundering backbeat.
“The vibe you get in both of those cities is, ‘This is special, this is exciting,’ ” says Aaron Brooks, who quarterbacked the Saints in the early 2000s. “When you walk into either one of those domes, it’s like, you’re ready to get down and go all out.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Here are the game’s winner and losers:
Mondaycolumn, The Re-Up. In this column, I’ll write about some deeper thought I had about the last game and finish with some fun stuff to ponder at the article’s end. Check out last week’s column here.
The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 54-51 in a thrilling — and in many ways, historic — Monday Night Football game that went pretty much as expected... except for the things that didn’t go as we thought they would.
Here are five hot takes about those surprises:
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