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Arrowheadlines: The MVP race is Pat’s to lose

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Chiefs headlines for Thursday, October 3

Baltimore Ravens v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The latest

The 2019 NFL Quarter-Season Awards | The Ringer

Most Valuable Player: Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

It is not news that Mahomes leads the league in every important passing category, so let’s discuss his place in history. He has 1,510 passing yards through four weeks, putting him on pace for the first 6,000-yard campaign in NFL history. Not only would that shatter Peyton Manning’s record of 5,477 yards from 2013, it would also surpass the NCAA record that B.J. Symons set at Texas Tech, Mahomes’s alma mater, with 5,833 yards in 2003. A 6,000-passing-yard season is stupefyingly rare at any level of football, and it would be mind-boggling if Mahomes were to do it at the highest level.

What is truly exceptional is that Mahomes is doing this with quality, not quantity. He’s seventh in pass attempts (39.0) per game, but ranks first in yards per pass attempt (9.7) and yards per pass attempt when adjusted for touchdowns, interceptions, and sacks (10.6). That latter stat, called adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A), is the best all-encompassing quarterback statistic we have. A brief glance at the ANY/A all-time single-season leaderboard shows the stat matches the eye test. If Mahomes maintains his pace all year, he would have the highest ANY/A mark of all time.

Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt, Single-Season Leaders

1. Patrick Mahomes, 2019 (four games): 10.6

2019 NFL MVP candidates at quarter mark: Mahomes sittin’ pretty

1) Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

When Tom Brady has a bad game by his own standards, we wonder if Father Time is up off the mat and finally landing blows. When Aaron Rodgers has a disappointing showing by his own standards, we wonder how long the Packers’ offense is going to stay stale before No. 12’s magic wand spins a new spell. When Kirk Cousins has a dismal clunker by his own standards, we place every Vikings play under a microscope to see how much blame should be apportioned to the quarterback versus the offensive line, receiving corps, play-callers, head coach, beer vendors and podcasters. When Patrick Mahomes has an off day by his own standards, he still finds a way to negate the absence of both his No. 1 receiver as well as his left tackle, put his weekly allotment of 30-40 points on the scoreboard and walk away with a win. And verily we praise thee, football gods, for the gift of the chosen one with nary a need for a Monday morning alibi.

2019 NFL Quarterly Awards: Chiefs edge Patriots as Super Bowl favorite, but Patrick Mahomes isn’t unanimous MVP | CBS Sports

John Breech: Chiefs

I picked the Chiefs before the season started and I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror if I changed my pick just four weeks into the season.

Sean Wagner-McGough: Chiefs

I picked the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl before the season and they’ve raced out to a 4-0 record, so it seems foolish to change my pick now -- even though the Patriots will inevitably beat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game again en route to yet another championship.

NFL rookie rankings: Gardner Minshew on top at quarter mark | NFL.com

RANK 22 - Mecole Hardman, Chiefs

Position: WR

Hardman has elite speed, and he’s helped keep this offense humming without the presence of injured receiver Tyreek Hill

NFL Trade Block Big Board Entering Week 5 | Bleacher Report

9. Leonard Williams, DE, New York Jets

The Jets need to be honest with themselves. They’re probably not making the postseason in 2019. They should have quarterback Sam Darnold back soon. However, they’re still in an 0-3 hole and looking up at the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.

The Jets should try to get something in return for Leonard Williams now, while they still can.

Williams has not lived up to his draft status—he went sixth overall in 2015—but he’s been a solid and versatile defensive lineman. He can play multiple positions on the line, and he’s stout against the run. On the other hand, his impact plays have been few and far between. He’s had just 17.0 sacks and two forced fumbles in four-plus seasons.

Williams would make a lot of sense for a contender looking to shore up its run defense. The Los Angeles Rams could be a candidate. They made a move for 2015 first-rounder Dante Fowler Jr. just before last year’s trade deadline.

Potential Destinations: Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs

Colts Quick Scouting Report: Week 5 Vs. Kansas City Chiefs | Colts.com

Colts’ Run Game

The Colts’ run game might just be the backbone of their team, as they never look better than when Marlon Mack and the offensive line are running on all cylinders. They currently rank seventh in the league in rushing (132.5 YPG), and they’ve had four run plays of 20-plus yards. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have been near the bottom of the league against the run so far, ranking 31st overall and 32nd in yards per carry allowed. It’s no layup, though, as teams have been loading up to stop the Colts’ run game including the Chiefs last season in the playoffs (they ranked near the bottom of the league in run defense then, too). Because of playing from behind for much of the game, the Colts weren’t able to run much in Kansas City in the playoffs (just 12 designed runs), but they were able to average 5.8 yards per carry from their running backs.

NFL picks the 25 best plays of September and four feature the Chiefs | Kansas City Star

No. 18: Demarcus Robinson’s acrobatic 39-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Patrick Mahomes against the Raiders.

No. 12: Robinson’s one-handed touchdown grab in a win over the Ravens.

No. 7: Tight end Travis Kelce’s flip to running back LeSean McCoy in a hook-and-ladder play Sunday at Detroit.

No. 2: Defensive back Bashaud Breeland’s touchdown Sunday on a 100-yard fumble recovery against the Lions.

Did Patrick Mahomes Stare Down an Official? Here’s What Really Happened | Chiefs Digest

“I looked back to see if there was a penalty,” Mahomes said Wednesday about his head turn toward the referee Walt Anderson. “I saw that I had the room to run it. I could probably get the first down, but I didn’t want to run like 50 yards if I was going to get called back and have to run another play. I looked back to see if there was a penalty, realized there wasn’t, so I took off.”

Fantasy Football Week 5 Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em: Running backs | CBS Fantasy

Start ‘Em

Darrel Williams RB

You’re starting LeSean McCoy this week against the Colts, but I also like Williams as a No. 2 running back as long as Damien Williams (knee) remains out. I will update the column with this posting if Damien Williams is able to return. If not, continue to trust Darrel Williams as the backup to McCoy. In two games without Damien Williams, Darrel Williams has scored at least 15 PPR points in both outings. He had 109 total yards in Week 3 against Baltimore and 56 total yards and two touchdowns in Week 4 at Detroit. The Colts have allowed a running back to score or gain at least 95 total yards in every game this season, and middle linebacker Darius Leonard (concussion) could miss his third game in a row.

Limited-Edition Arrowhead Poster Series Brings Every Home Matchup to Life | The Mothership

The 12x18 posters were each designed by local artists, providing some of the Chiefs’ most talented fans with an opportunity to creatively celebrate the franchise’s 60th season.

“What we’re really going for is the chance to highlight the talent of our fans while trying to do something unique that focuses on the matchup and the Arrowhead experience,” said Joe Sargent, Chiefs’ Director of Brand Marketing. “We found a bunch of local artists who are all so excited to be a part of it, and they’re all either from here or based here. It’s a way to highlight the Kingdom, so to speak.

Around the league

Roundup: Sam Darnold to take part in team drills | NFL.com

1. New York Jets coach Adam Gase said quarterback Sam Darnold (mono) is going to go through team drills but has not yet been cleared for contact. Guard Kelechi Osemele (shoulder/knee) and wide reciever Josh Bellamy (shoulder) will be limited in practice.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin), wideout Demaryius Thomas (hamstring/knee), running back Trenton Cannon (hamstring), and linebacker Jordan Jenkins (calf) will not participate but will rehab during practice.

2. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley was seen doing some “light running” and “change of direction” during the portion of practice open to the media, per Art Stapleton of The Record (N.J.). Barkley currently is dealing with a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 3, but it appears as though the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year could be back ahead of his original 4-6 week timeline.

Derek Carr: Vontaze Burfict’s ‘heart is broken,’ QB says ban isn’t fair | ESPN

“I don’t think he was trying to hurt that man; the man was going down,” Carr said of Burfict’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle on Sunday, which triggered the suspension a day later. “You see it all the time -- there’s flags flying everywhere.

“We see other people choking people out, and they’re going to play this Sunday. We see other people hitting people in the helmet, and they’re going to play this Sunday. And Vontaze Burfict won’t play the rest of the year? I think that’s a little excessive, if you ask me. I don’t think it’s fair, if we really got to know the guy. If the people making the decision really knew the guy that we know, inside our building ... he’s a great person, his heart is broken because he’s not playing football. The guy just wants to play football. We don’t get a lot of time to play this game in our lives.”

NFL picks 2019, Week 5: Not gonna lie, these are some tough games for our experts to predict | SB Nation

Our panel doesn’t agree on much this week

The biggest reason there was so much Week 4 carnage was that our panel was in consensus on a whole bunch of picks that ended up going in the opposite direction. That shouldn’t be a problem in Week 5, because we don’t agree on much of anything.

In nine of the 15 games coming up this week, there were at least three experts on each side.

The Thursday Night Football duel between the Rams and Seahawks, as well as the Monday Night Football game between the Browns and 49ers, were just two of the matchups that had our crew split.

The only teams that were in everybody’s favor were the Eagles, Texans, Chargers, and Chiefs.

Khan: Keeping Jalen Ramsey ‘best thing’ for Jaguars | NFL.com

“Obviously, football is a team sport and I’m sensitive to what individual insight or viewpoint or requests (there) might be,” Khan said. “But we have to do the right thing for the team. We value the values Jalen adds to us, to the Jaguars. I think we value him highly. We’re still looking at what is the right thing for the Jaguars, and I think right now the best thing is to have him be part of the team.”

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride

From erratic to reliable: The evolution of Travis Kelce

Kelce has become not only a team leader but also a better player. He fumbled six times during his first three seasons in the league but has only coughed up the rock twice since the start of the 2017 season. After four consecutive seasons of dropping a pass on 5.8% or more of his targets, he has only one drop this year — a career-best drop rate of 3.1%.

There’s no doubt: both on and off the field, Travis Kelce has taken his value to another level. No matter the situation, he has shown that he can be relied upon for every play. Some of the credit should go to the MVP quarterback who is throwing him the ball, but Kelce’s transformation to a consistent, reliable performer (and leader) deserves our notice and praise.

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