“It’s everything,” Spagnuolo said. “Usually when that happens like that it’s not one thing. You can’t put your finger on it. To us, we just go right back to the basics. It’s about defeating blocks, getting off blocks and making tackles.”
Indeed, just about everyone seems to have a different reason for the struggles in run defense. After Sunday’s game safety Tyrann Mathieu said it takes pride and attitude to stop the run.
“It has nothing to do with coaching, has nothing to do with technique,” Mathieu said. “It has everything to do with attitude and if you want to stop them.”
T-1 Patrick Mahomes
Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 2 | Blair: 2 | Filice: 1 | Parr: 1
2019 stats: 5 games | 65.6 pct | 1,831 pass yds | 9.4 ypa | 11 pass TD | 0 INT | 81 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
Parr: I’m still riding with the reigning MVP at No. 1, but he’s struggled enough in the last couple weeks for a couple of my colleagues to drop him a spot in their rankings. I get it. Their choice for the top spot, Russell Wilson, is killing the game -- he’s the only QB who’s thrown more TD passes than Mahomes (12 to 11), and he has a better passer rating (126.3 to 114.7) in 2019. Mahomes has the highest career passer rating in NFL history (112.4) and is on pace to throw for a record 5,859 yards, but he looked human on Sunday in a home loss to the Colts, which is not a sight any of us are used to seeing. However, I couldn’t bring myself to knock the guy for not living up to the high bar he has set on a night where he aggravated an ankle injury and was playing shorthanded due to injuries on the offensive line and at receiver. Yes, the Chiefs’ struggles against man coverage are real (and not spectacular). Mahomes has owned up to them himself. But let’s see how successful defenses are with that tactic once Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins return from injury.
This is going to be a must-watch battle between two 2017 first-rounders in Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson and Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. With Mahomes having already solidified himself as a top-five quarterback (last year’s NFL MVP), Watson is on his way. The third-year pro has a bright future ahead of him. He’s completed 69.2% of his throws for 1,364 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception.
Chiefs’ invincibility: The Chiefs raced through the first four games of the season and looked like a truly elite team. Yet, in Week 5. Patrick Mahomes and company were tamed by the Indianapolis Colts. Thus, the Chiefs won’t go 6-0. That’s Ok. They are still going to be fine,. They probably should have won the game, but they will learn from it.
Houston Texans (3-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)
Hill’s anticipated return could be huge considering the state of that offense, and it would make it much harder for Houston to copy Indianapolis and the Detroit Lions by challenging a depleted unit with a heavy dose of man coverage.
The Chiefs have also lost back-to-back games just once since December 2017, and it’s important to remember that Houston is only two weeks removed from a dud home loss to the Carolina Panthers. Don’t let the Week 5 results cloud all of that.
Still, Gagnon is again the lone wolf here. He notes that this line opened up above a touchdown, so you ideally already placed your bet if you’re on Houston’s side. But he’s still willing to go against his cohorts after seeing the injury-ravaged Chiefs lay an egg at home just hours after the Texans lit up the Falcons.
RB Sit of the Week: LeSean McCoy, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. HOU)
LeSean McCoy is averaging 5.4 yards per rush this season, but the veteran back failed to get a single carry in Week 5 against the Colts. McCoy had two catches for 23 yards, but he lost a fumble as well. With Damien Williams returning from a two-week absence, Williams led the backfield with nine carries and 12 touches.
Even though they faced Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, etc., the Texans have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. Houston has allowed just 95.0 rushing yards per game this season.
With a healthy Kansas City backfield, it’s difficult to trust McCoy this week as anything more than a flex option even though there are four teams on a bye.
”They looked at it afterwards. Just to be clear about that – and I think it’s really important to understand this – we were in contact with the league officiating office all the way through,” Harbaugh said. “We didn’t just pull it out and decide to try it and sneak it past them. A drop kick is defined the way it’s defined. We talked to them. We explained exactly what we were doing and how it was going to go, and they said it was legal, we could do it.”
Kansas City Chiefs 37, Houston Texans 35
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
While the Chiefs’ offense might have hit a breaking point last Sunday night because of its missing pieces, the Texans’ attack looks deeper by the week. Kenny Stills (who’s battling a hamstring injury) was the secret sauce in the Laremy Tunsil trade, Will Fuller carried the team last week and slot receiver Keke Coutee is back to making plays over the middle. The Chiefs’ defense has also looked particularly vulnerable to the run, so the Texans should be able to hang tough in a shootout. Just don’t expect a Patrick Mahomes-led offense to make so many critical mistakes in back-to-back home games.
What does this have to do with the Broncos? Well, given that the Patrick Mahomes-Andy Reid duo ware likely to lead the Chiefs for the next decade, the Broncos need to take any and all methods in developing a plan to supplant the powerhouse in the division.
Sure, the Chiefs haven’t even been to a Super Bowl since the Beatles announced their breakup in 1970, but to dismiss the notion that they are the team to beat and the standard in the AFC West going forward is simply denialism. As long as they have both Reid and Mahomes, that team is going to be a contender.
Around the league
The performance put Brady at 72,257 yards for his career. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees holds the top spot, with 74,845 yards. Official NFL records account for only the regular season. When including the playoffs, Brady is No. 1.
Over the course of his 20-year career, Brady has regularly deflected praise on such milestones.
”I think having a lot of perspective on things like this is where I like to come from. I don’t believe football is an individual sport,” he said Monday in his weekly radio interview on Westwood One. “So any individual accomplishment, to me, is always a team accomplishment. There is nothing you can accomplish in football without everybody else doing their job. I think I’ve always taken to football because of that.”
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has yet to play a game this season due to an ankle injury. But the injury hasn’t prevented Green’s name from being tossed into the mix with the trade deadline looming.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor, however, provided a definitive answer regarding the trade speculation Thursday.
”I’ve heard the speculation. We are not trading that guy,” Taylor said, per The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr.
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”Any time you play a dual-threat quarterback, that’s always an emphasis,” he noted. “We’ve got to understand: they’ve got a healthy team this year — which they didn’t necessarily have last year. They’ve got options — you know, weapons — all over the field; they present a challenge from that as well.”
Mathieu has that right. Watson has completed passes to nine different Texans so far this season. In comparison, Mahomes has completed passes to 14 different Chiefs — largely because he’s has had more receivers on the field with him because of injuries. But Watson is a threat on the ground, too. While Mahomes will more often scramble until he can find an open receiver, Watson will just take off.
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