Last week, that reality flip-flopped. Mahomes was sacked four times for just the second time in his career, and his ankle sprain from Week 1 was exacerbated when one of his linemen stepped on it in his matchup with the Colts. Meanwhile, Watson had just the second game of his career in which he wasn’t sacked. With the rare chance to remain upright on all but one play when he was hit, he threw five touchdowns and just five incompletions, for a career-high 426 passing yards at 12.9 yards per attempt while posting a perfect passer rating and no turnovers. Apparently bad things happen when Patrick Mahomes is tackled and good things happen when Deshaun Watson is not. Whichever player takes less punishment on Sunday will likely prevail.
If you’re ranking the best quarterbacks in football right now, it’s possible the top two will be facing off this weekend in Kansas City.
Tom Brady has the best resumé and Russell Wilson is on a great roll, but it’s hard to deny Patrick Mahomes is No. 1 on the list. Deshaun Watson has a great case to be right behind him.
Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs and Watson’s Houston Texans face off Sunday in what should be the most entertaining game of the day. Most Las Vegas sportsbooks have the over/under for Texans-Chiefs at 55 points, easily the largest total on the board this week. This is going to be an exciting matchup.
Deshaun Watson, not Patrick Mahomes, has career day at Arrowhead
There will be plenty of offensive fireworks at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday when Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson take the field. According to NFL Research, Mahomes (112.4) and Watson (105.4) have the highest-combined career passer ratings (217.8) among opposing starting quarterbacks entering a matchup since 1970 (min. 20 games played for each QB). It’s Watson who wins this epic battle by throwing for 500 yards and five touchdowns.
“Pat Mahomes is ruining quarterbacking for every young quarterback in the NFL because he becomes the guy you compare him to,” said Schlereth. “He’s a unicorn. He’s just a freak show. When he poops, he poops out rainbow sherbet. For crying out loud, he’s a straight-up unicorn.”
How you feel about all this probably depends on your opinion of Frank before he left Seattle. Clark has been one of my favorite draft picks and players on this team in recent years, and it’s unfortunate to see him taking the brunt of Kansas City frustration while he’s in the middle of his slow start.
But Clark’s departure is part of the process of having a world-beating quarterback, linebacker, and an absolutely fearless GM. Can’t keep everyone. It is not uncommon at all to see Seahawk players reach a level of play worth real money (for another franchise), and then struggle to find the same success they had in Seattle. Byron Maxwell, Paul Richardson, Earl Thomas, and to an extent Richard Sherman, DeShawn Shead or Jimmy Graham are a few of the notable ones.
Defensive lineman J.J. Watt
On playing at Arrowhead Stadium: “It’s a phenomenal atmosphere. It’s a phenomenal place to play. Great fans, great energy, tons of noise. It’s really a great atmosphere to play in as a player. Place gets rocking, place gets loud. I have a lot of respect for the fanbase, they show up. They make it a great place to play a game and so it’s a lot of fun. You enjoy going into atmospheres like that.”
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: D still dealing with running problem. The Kansas City Chiefs thought they had their run-defense issues solved. They used the offseason to hire a new defensive coordinator (Steve Spagnuolo) to install a new scheme (the 4-3 replaced the 3-4) that would utilize the strengths of several new players (most notably, defensive end Frank Clark and safety Tyrann Mathieu). However, the Chiefs ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed heading into Week 6 after finishing 27th in that category last season.
Kansas City has allowed at least 180 rushing yards in each of its last three games, including last week’s 19-13 loss to Indianapolis, with the Colts putting up 180 exactly. When asked on Thursday if attitude is a factor in the Chiefs’ continued struggles, Spagnuolo said there are a variety of issues at play.
”I know everybody is looking for a specific reason,” Spagnuolo said. “There is no specific reason. If there’s 20 plays in there that cause issues that are over 4- or 5-yard runs, there may be 20 different reasons. So, you just keep playing, and you do all the things you’re talking about. You make tackles and get to the football. That’s what you do.”
Around the league
The Texans’ game against the Raiders has been flexed out of the 1 p.m. ET slot to 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS. Houston currently sits atop the AFC South with the Colts at 3-2, while the Raiders are a surprising 3-2 after back-to-back wins over Indianapolis and the Chicago Bears.
The Denver Broncos’ game against the Colts has been flexed from 4:25 p.m. ET to 1 p.m. ET on CBS.
This season, NFL coaches have challenged a total of 10 plays in which officials have called offensive or defensive pass interference on the field. None have been reversed. They have been slightly more successful in challenging plays in which a flag was not thrown, getting four of those 23 plays reversed.
That’s a lot of talent, and we haven’t even gotten to the offense yet! Three different tailbacks have averaged at least 5.5 yards per carry to start the year. Jimmy Garoppolo has rebounded nicely from last year’s torn ACL. The receiving corps is, uh, fine. That’s enough firepower to roll to victory when this defense does its job, and that’s enough to be a legitimate contender in a disheveled NFC.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Is this an Andy Reid special?
We’ve seen Reid do magic with much less talent offensively than he’ll have on Sunday. One of the most creative minds in the game was out-coached last week. Whether it was because of a lack of anticipation for heavy man coverage or something else, we’ve seen Reid dial up some excellent play calls for large stretches of Alex Smith’s tenure in Kansas City. The Chiefs could gain an advantage if Reid finds some things he can use to help a hobbled offense get back on track
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