It seems, then, that the secret to beating Mahomes is not to devise some sort of fancy defensive scheme but rather to simply make sure he doesn’t get onto the field.
This has been increasingly easy for the Chiefs’ opponents considering Kansas City’s struggles stopping the run. The Colts ran the ball 45 times for 180 yards, and the Texans had 41 carries for 192 yards. Even the Lions, a team whose rushing attack has been dormant pretty much since Barry Sanders’s retirement, was able to move the ball on the ground: 35 carries, 186 yards, 5.3 yards per attempt.
For the second straight week the Kansas City defense couldn’t find a way to get off the field, and for the second straight week they left the stadium with a loss. The Chiefs had the ball for just 20 minutes and 12 seconds - their biggest time of possession disparity at home in franchise history. They only had three drives in the second half and had the ball for just 78 seconds of the fourth quarter. Not even Patrick Mahomes can overturn those odds.
The Texans - 31-24 winners, and now alone atop the AFC South at 4-2 - leant heavily on Carlos Hyde as they chewed up the game clock. Hyde carried 26 times for 116 yards and a touchdown, while Deshaun Watson also ran into the end zone twice. Houston picked up 12 total first downs on the ground as they chewed up game clock and kept Mahomes twiddling his thumbs on the sideline.
The Chiefs might need to make some moves before the trade deadline to sort out a defense which is currently undermining their immensely talented quarterback.
Should the Chiefs sit Patrick Mahomes for a week?
The way to heal an ankle injury is with rest. It would be great if the Chiefs had a bye, of course, but Kansas City’s bye doesn’t come until Week 12, meaning he is set to play through this injury for five more games. He’s also facing a short week in advance of a trip to Denver for a Thursday night game against the Broncos, who have won two straight after a heartbreaking 0-4 start to the season.
Obviously, the Chiefs don’t want to go to backup Matt Moore unless absolutely necessary. Mahomes has also been great before aggravating the ankle injury, and he played like a star between Weeks 2 and 4. Given what has happened over the last two weeks, though, wouldn’t this be a logical time to consider sitting him for a game in the hopes of getting him right for subsequent starts against the Packers and Vikings?
5) Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)
The loss: 31-24 at home vs. the Houston Texans.
Too low a ranking on this list? Well, the way I saw it, this game was more about Houston winning. Deshaun Watson was terrific in the battle of spectacular quarterbacks from the 2017 draft class. So, I don’t want to completely rain on the Texans’ parade.
All that said, Patrick Mahomes didn’t play great. Again. Granted, he appeared to tweak his balky ankle again. And even with the return of dynamic playmaker Tyreek Hill, it’s clear that the Chiefs’ aerial attack misses LT Eric Fisher and WR Sammy Watkins. But in the big picture, the most troubling elements are Kansas City’s 28th-ranked defense, nonexistent ground game and second straight loss at Arrowhead Stadium, where they went 7-1 during the 2018 regular season.
2. Patrick Mahomes’ first interception of the year was a result of the refs messing everything up
The Chiefs have lost back-to-back games, but Patrick Mahomes still has 14 touchdowns and just one interception. He’d have zero interceptions if the officials in Week 6 didn’t completely blow it on a call in the second quarter Sunday.
The deep ball Mahomes lobbed into traffic that was hauled in by Texans safety Tashaun Gipson was probably only thrown because the quarterback saw a flag on the field. He correctly assumed that the officials threw the flag because Travis Kelce was tackled while running a route. So, hey, why not take a shot at the end zone?
The interception was initially overruled by a pass interference call. After a discussion, interference was waved off because the pass wasn’t intended for Kelce. Instead of (correctly) calling defensive holding that would’ve also nullified the interception, the pick stood.
The Officiating Crew In Kansas City STUNK
And then later, when Kelce was knocked to the ground while running a route, the officials correctly threw a flag for defensive holding. That penalty negated a Mahomes interception. Yet after discussion, the officials ruled that the contact with Kelce occurred after the ball had been thrown, meaning Kelce would have had to have been the intended target for a penalty to have been committed.
That made sense … except it was totally wrong. The contact happened long before Mahomes threw the ball. (When the coaches’ film is made available for this game, it will not be kind to the crew on this play.) It appeared as though the officials were alerted to the timing of that contact from people in New York, too, which … well, that STINKS.
Terrible officiating all around. It stunk.
Oakland hasn’t won the AFC West since the 2002 season when they lost in the Super Bowl. The Raiders have picked up two straight victories over winning teams, beating the Colts in Indianapolis in Week 4 and upsetting the Chicago Bears in London in Week 5.
The Chiefs easily beat the Raiders 28-10 when they met in Oakland in Week 2.
The Raiders’ schedule is about to get very difficult with consecutive road games against the Green Bay Packers and Texans. Oakland finally returns home in Week 9 for a matchup with the Detroit Lions.
Kansas City will kick off the Week 7 schedule when they visit Denver on “Thursday Night Football” for their second divisional matchup of 2019. The Chiefs are early 3.5-point favorites, according to the betting line at OddsShark.
14c. As for that defensive blueprint, many thought the return of Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill would render it null and void. Back from a clavicle injury, Hill definitely had a major impact (5 catches, 80 yards, 2 TDs) against Houston, but it wasn’t enough.
14d. After scoring at least 25 points in a record 25 consecutive games, the Chiefs have fallen short of 25 the past two weeks.
15. Mahomes meter: With 273 yards passing — including an amazing 116 in a single drive — it was a sub-par day for the reigning MVP. But Mahomes is still on pace for 5,610, which would eclipse Peyton Manning’s single-season record (5,477).
Welcome Back Party
Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
Fantasy owners welcomed back one of the best players in fantasy football for the first time since the first quarter of Week 1. Hill rewarded his owners with 25 PPR points, hauling in five grabs on 10 targets for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners will be looking forward to employing one of the best wide receivers on Thursday night, when the Chiefs head to Mile High to take on the Broncos in an AFC West showdown.
Around the league
“No, because it shows confidence in our football team,” Pederson said. “And I promise you, Jason Garrett’s going to say the same thing with his team, that they’re going to win the football game as well. And I’m not going to stand up here or go on record and say we’re going to go down there and try to win a game. Hopefully we can go win this one, it just doesn’t show confidence, and I want to show confidence in our players. We got a ton of confidence in them, we’re going to put a good week of preparation in and go play.”
“I love that guy. I’m so happy that he’s enjoying his time, his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what’s best for him. He’s the only person that can make those decisions. I don’t lobby for those things,” Brady said Monday morning in his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”
2. Questionable officiating aside, with the division lead on the line, Detroit missed myriad opportunities to blow this one open. Leaning on a deep passing attack, the Lions made it inside Green Bay’s 10-yard line on their first three possessions, but came away with just 13 points. On the night, Detroit finished drives on or inside Green Bay’s 35 six times but scored just 22 points from those possessions, having Matt Prater bail out an offense that struggled to close late in drives. The Lions’ red-zone offense was particularly poor; rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson dropped a jump-ball touchdown, and on Detroit’s lone score of the night, Kerryon Johnson just barely crossed the goal line on a fourth-and-1. Unable to lean on a running game that mustered just 56 yards against a Packers front seven that had surrendered over 100 in each of its last four games, Detroit was also stuck in poor third-down situations all night and went 3-for-13 as a result. The Lions totaled just 13 first downs on the evening (and four in the second half), compared to Green Bay’s 22. Detroit entered like Lions, totaling 188 yards in the first quarter alone, but went out like lambs, squandering an opportunity to seize control of a contentious NFC North.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
As expected, the Chiefs didn’t give Hill too much work in his first game back. He was on the field for 27 offensive snaps — 57% of the total. In contrast, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle were in on 85% and 60% of the offensive plays, respectively. But Hill made the most of the limited opportunities, leading Chiefs receivers with 80 yards on five catches from 10 targets.
Hill also scored two touchdowns in the game.
“It’s just [Patrick Mahomes] trusting me on the first one,” he told the press after the game. “The second one was [Mahomes] creating opportunities and me just finding the open seams in the zone.”
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