Monday column, 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.
I’m going to be honest here—I usually try to have this column posted by Monday, but this week, I needed the extra day to let the past 96 hours marinate.
Those hours were an absolute whirlwind for the Chiefs, who went from having one of the league’s bright young stars in Kareem Hunt to feeling they had no choice but to release him over the course of an afternoon.
The game plan against the Raiders included Hunt, but they flew to Oakland without that piece, shining the spotlight onto Patrick Mahomes.
With Mahomes’ back against the wall, by now, did you expect something different?
The offense was not perfect against the Raiders. The lull in the team was palpable, Spencer Ware felt like a square peg in a round hole (he won’t this week now that Andy Reid knows his pieces going in) and Tyreek Hill had an uncharacteristic bad game.
As you can read below in five quotes, tight end Travis Kelce said that last year, the Chiefs would have lost this type of game.
And that is because last year, the Chiefs didn’t have Mahomes.
Take away the team’s leading rusher? Enter the quarterback, who had nine carries for a team-leading 52 rushing yards. Ware added 47 and Damien Williams had 38.
“We came out with over 100 yards rushing,” Reid said after the game. “We kind of did it by committee with the quarterback involved with that also and some of the coverages they were playing allowed us to do that with the quarterback, which ends up being important when you talk about the overall run game down the road. It was great to get Spencer back in there and working on more of a full-time basis as opposed to being a relief pitcher or a third-down player. Then [Damien] Williams, he steps in and he had a couple nice runs too, so it was good for him. And then obviously [Travis] Kelce, not necessarily running the football but catching the football, he and Patrick [Mahomes] had something going today and it was special and did a real nice job with that.”
Yes, Kelce played a role, too, having his best statistical game as a Kansas City Chief.
Travis Kelce with a brilliant tribute to Kareem Hunt today by fumbling the ball the first play then becoming the player of the game https://t.co/uLnTywFdmS— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) December 3, 2018
Mahomes finished 23 of 38 for 295 yards and four touchdowns and in the process, became the fastest player in history to reach 4,000 passing yards (13 games).
But despite Mahomes and Kelce dragging the Chiefs to a win, Sunday’s best moment had nothing to do with anything that happened on the football field.
It was a post-game quote from Mahomes that meant the most for the day, the season and probably the next decade of this brand of Chiefs football.
Reporters asked Mahomes if he had talked to Hunt—read his answer closely.
“I’ve talked to him,” Mahomes said. “I’ll keep it between me and him. We had a close relationship. I saw the stuff that happened and we don’t do those things. At the same time, I just focused on our organization, the Chiefs. I know we have to move forward and keep going out there to win football games if we want to have success this season.”
We don’t do those things.
And if you’re a fan of the Chiefs, that’s all you need to know.
The NFL is a franchise quarterback league. If you have a franchise quarterback, you have an opportunity to raise the Lombardi Trophy every single season.
With that quote, Mahomes made something we already knew abundantly clear.
Mahomes is the Chiefs and the Chiefs are Mahomes. He wasn’t speaking for himself when he muttered those words, “We don’t do those things.”
He was speaking for his franchise, one that will be synonymous with his face for the foreseeable future. If he stays healthy, like a Brady or a Manning, it will be forever.
This situation is ugly—there’s no question about that. With every new TMZ report, it seems to get uglier. There are questions the organization should answer but likely won’t, but I’ll say that there is no longer a question when it comes to its leader.
Move over, Reid. It’s the 23-year-old from Tyler, Texas.
STAT OF THE GAME
Telecast says Patrick Mahomes has reached 4,000 yards in 13 games, the fastest to reach that mark in history.— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) December 2, 2018
GIF OF THE GAME
Andy Reid called Demetrius Harris, “The Sloth,” during an interview following the game.
Harris after hearing the interview pic.twitter.com/UeZ0wRLhfZ— Chris Riggs (@CRiggs2020) December 3, 2018
TWEET(s) OF THE WEEK
“just miss the kick and we’re free” pic.twitter.com/OmMEvfaR3Q— jacob harris (@PatrickMahomely) December 3, 2018
- 1. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on whether he’s looking forward to playing Patrick Mahomes: “I think he’s a great player. I think we all know that. You can tell a lot of the stuff that he does now, early on in his career – extending plays, he’s really athletic, those kind of things. He has a crazy good arm. As he continues to hone those skills, he’s going to play even better than he is now – which is crazy to say. He’s a heck of a player. Nothing but respect for him. He’s a great man, good guy, nice to talk to, very respectful. I wish him the best, I really do. Except when we play him.”
- 2. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on beating the Raiders: “You see growth in this win. A lot of leadership, a lot of guys stepped up. Last year, we wouldn’t have won this game. Flat out, we lost in on the last play. The offense stepped up; the defense did their thing. Some of them are knocked down and hanging their heads a little bit, but you can’t take wins for granted in this league. Especially after what kind of went down during the week, a couple days ago. It’s a big win for us.”
- 3. Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley on the Chiefs edging out a victory: “ “For us on offense it’s just about finishing the day. This obviously wasn’t a pretty win for us. We had a lot of drives that we didn’t finish. We had a lot of drives we didn’t extend and in that fourth quarter when we got the chance to do that we said hey if it’s got to happen anytime, it’s got to happen now.”
- 4. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on going for it on fourth down with the direct snap to running back Spencer Ware: “Yeah so Spence was a high school quarterback and ran the option so we’ve done that before. [I’ve] got to give credit to Coach Heck, he called that one and the guys executed. So he designed it and called it and it was a perfect time.””
- 5. Reid on releasing Kareem Hunt: “ I know you’re probably going to have some questions about Kareem [Hunt], so I’m going to help you forget about those questions right quick. We made the decision that we made. We put out a statement to explain that situation. And as we’ve done in the past when things come up, that’s where we go. We handle it within and we handle it with the person that has been affected, so we’ve done all of those things and I’ll leave it with you with that. I don’t want to get away or anything to distract from how tough a place this is to play. The guys, my locker room leadership overcoming the situation that we had there, which can be a distraction, handled it the right way and stepped up today in a place that we haven’t always come out with this kind of result, so I’m proud of the guys in the locker room and the coaches for doing that.”
THE BIG THOUGHT
I want to be clear: this is not a criticism of the Chiefs—much more so a clarification.
The Chiefs made a swift move on Friday, releasing Hunt, but let’s not call it what it wasn’t.
It wasn’t a stand against violence or player misconduct, but rather dishonesty.
CLARK HUNT: “Earlier this year, we were made aware of an incident involving running back Kareem Hunt. At that time, the National Football League and law enforcement initiated investigations into the issue. As part of our internal discussions with Kareem, several members of our management team spoke directly to him. Kareem was not truthful in those discussions. The video released today confirms that fact. We are releasing Kareem immediately.”
Had Hunt been honest with the team regarding what actually occurred in the video recorded back in February, I 100 percent believe he would still be on the team.
Each Chiefs fan is entitled to figure out if that is OK with himself or herself.
POLL OF THE WEEK
Which of the Chiefs’ final four games offers the toughest challenge?
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