The secondary, already without slot corner Kendall Fuller, lost cornerback Bashaud Breeland for a period because of a sternum injury. He returned later in the game. But with its numbers depleted, the defensive backfield still fared well against Rodgers and Co. throughout the game.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Chiefs’ pass catchers could use some stickier gloves. Sammy Watkins dropped an easy throw over the middle, Travis Kelce had a throw go between his hands in the end zone and fellow tight end Blake Bell dropped another pass from Moore when he was wide open in the flat.
3. Wide receiver Mecole Hardman is a big-play machine.
Hardman took his first touch from scrimmage – a quick pop-pass from Moore that essentially acted as a handoff – for a 30-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter, weaving through defenders to tie the game. The rookie wide receiver was then at it again later, hauling in a 25-yard pass from Moore on Kansas City’s next drive.
The electric Hardman now has five catches of at least 25 yards this season, which is tied with Kelce and fellow wide receiver Sammy Watkins for the team-lead. His 18.7 yards-per-catch, meanwhile, currently ranks fifth in the NFL.
Still, Mahomes returning this week is not a sure thing. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Mahomes “has an outside chance” to play against Minnesota.
”Mahomes is said to feel great right now, as if he can go play. In reality, how quick he’d be on the field will be determined in part by not how he feels, but how the knee has scarred up and will protect him,” Rapoport wrote.
If Mahomes plays the Vikings will really have their hands full against an explosive offense. If Mahomes is out, Mike Zimmer’s defense will go up against NFL journeyman Matt Moore, threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
We should be pretty impressed with the Chiefs
The Chiefs, without most of their top starters, were a LeSean McCoy fumble and a few unbelievable Aaron Rodgers throws away from winning this game. No one saw that coming and it’s tremendously encouraging.
The second quarter illuminated just how well designed Andy Reid’s offenses are. Green Bay cornerback Kevin King played so far off of Hill that he had third-down comeback routes open more often than not, and the speed of Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson plus Kelce stretching the defense vertically created seams for Moore to spread the ball around. Kansas City has been scoring in the second quarter all season. Their 104 points in the second quarter this year are the sixth most since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, and they put up 17 unanswered on the Packers in the second frame on Sunday.
CBS Sports’ Josh Edward and Bryan DeArdo think the Chiefs could make a move for Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. They wrote: “Denver is ... facing an uphill climb to compete with the Raiders or Chiefs within the AFC West.”
Some of the best Texas quarterbacks in the NFL
The reigning MVP is from Whitehouse, Texas. In his second season as a starter, Patrick Mahomes is quickly building an impressive resume. He was a unanimous MVP last season after throwing for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Mahomes is expected to miss a few weeks of action while recovering from a dislocated kneecap, but he’s already thrown for nearly 2200 yards and 15 touchdowns in seven games — an expected regression from 2018 but still good numbers for a QB in his second season.
Around the league
2. The Bears went into victory formation, then lost
The Bears know a thing or two about missed field goals. They were embroiled in one of the weirdest kicker battles this past offseason after Cody Parkey missed a field goal that ended the Bears’ season in the playoffs. They eventually settled for Eddy Pinero, who so far has been pretty dang effective this season.
Perhaps too effective. From the Chargers’ 21-yard line with 43 seconds left on the clock and a timeout in their pocket, the Bears elected to take a knee. There was plenty of time to run a couple of plays, even just simple runs to try and make it a bit of an easier kick.
Nope. Matt Nagy, showing what appears to be a significant lack of faith in his own offense, called the “victory formation” kneeldown. You can guess what happened next: Pinero’s field goal was no good, sailing wide left:
One of Bosa’s sacks came when he was sent sprawling by a Panther tackle; he got up and dove at Kyle Allen and ankle-sacked him. The interception was the kind of play you’d see from a DeAndre Hopkins-type of athlete. Left tackle Dennis Daley lunged at Bosa’s knees, and Bosa went sprawling outside Daley to avoid it. And when he rose … well, let him tell it. “Early in the game, [Daley] cut me really bad. Obviously, I hate to get cut [have his knees dived at]. I played the cut to the outside, and I got up, and I looked in the quarterback’s eyes. I saw what he was going to do.”
Throw the quick pass in the flat to McCaffrey, Bosa meant.
“I jumped up, and the ball went right into my arms,” he said. “After that, it was just instincts.” He escaped two tackle tries by Allen over the next 46 yards, and one by D.J. Moore, before Moore leg-tackled him near the five-yard line. The speed, the escapability, the moves—Bosa could pass for Travis Kelce. Easy.
Big Blue acquired former first-round pick Leonard Williams from the New York Jets in exchange for a third-round pick and a 2021 fifth-rounder, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday, per a source informed. The fifth-rounder could become a fourth if the Giants re-sign Williams before the start of the new league year, Rapoport added. The Jets will also eat $4 million of the balance of Williams’ contract this year.
The verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION. And before you come at me, yes, of course the 8-0 Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champions and have earned the right to be considered the league’s best team until someone beats them. I’m not sitting here saying the 49ers are better. I’m saying it’s not an overreaction to say the 49ers are better. As in, you could make a convincing case.
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Reid, however, expressed concerned about the injuries the defensive front has suffered.
“All of a sudden the numbers start going down a little bit — and we’ve got to get the numbers to go back up. Got to get guys healthy and back in there. We never use that as an excuse, but as you get your numbers up you can keep your rotation up. In the fourth quarter, that helps you out, so you’ve got to get that done.”
Reid had a solid point. While most fans probably felt the Chiefs defense never got off the field in the second half, the clock actually told a somewhat different story. In the third quarter, the Packers held the ball for 9:52, while the Chiefs held it for 5:08. In the fourth quarter, however, the Chiefs actually held the ball longer than the Packers: 7:54 to 6:30.
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