Offensive Play-Caller: Andy Reid
Yardage Rank: 2nd
This one shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Despite playing without No. 1 wide receiver Tyreek Hill since Week 1 and without a workhorse running back, the Kansas City Chiefs have been nearly unstoppable offensively this season.
Part of this is due to the innovative play calling of head coach Andy Reid. Part is due to an underrated offensive line that features the likes of Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. Part is because the Chiefs still have weapons like Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy.
Of course, the biggest reason is the presence of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He took the NFL world by storm last season, passing for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. This season? He’s on pace to throw for 6,040 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Mahomes has yet to throw an interception and has just one lost fumble.
Yes, an offense is more than just its quarterback, but Mahomes is the piece that makes a great Kansas City offense truly special.
“I can’t even remember all those plays,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game. “There’s so many plays. I’m thinking, ‘Russ, get down!’ And all of a sudden he pops out and he’s still going, and we start over again. And then he finds somebody and makes a 20-yard play. Must have happened five or six times tonight.
“ I thought he was spectacular. I don’t remember him being that on, that thoroughly in the game in really difficult situations. It wasn’t just a classic in-the-pocket-throw-the-football. He was having to create and do stuff all night long. I thought his play was exquisite, awesome.”
Indeed it was. While Mahomes may ultimately become the unanimous MVP, Wilson deserves to be in the conversation. And maybe one of them eventually will be the Super Bowl MVP, in a game played against the other.
“The officials gave everybody a head’s up that they were going to be strong in that area and be keeping a close eye on it,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I think this past week it let up a little bit, so I think everybody is kind of getting a feel on it — I’m saying league-wide.
“They’re just trying to get the point across that you have to keep your hands in tight and not grab. That’s all of the way around, not just offensive line. That’s all of the positions, offensively and defensively.”
I love these types of questions. Perfect for the mailbag. We’ve seen Kirk Cousins with the Chiefs before: Alex Smith. And Alex Smith won double-digit games in multiple seasons with the Chiefs. I would expect the same if Cousins were the quarterback. Andy Reid is a master teacher and play designer. How many Chiefs wide receivers are running open down the field every game? Cousins can hit those guys.
Now, just like Smith, I don’t think Cousins would be able to win many playoff games, which is the difference between him and Mahomes. Pat Mahomes is a special talent. We know this. And he’s paired up with the greatest offensive mind in the game now. They make a terrific duo.
If Mahomes were on the Vikings, he’d be matched with a head coach who’s got the opposite mindset of Reid. Mike Zimmer wants his offense to be conservative, and I think he’d be the same way with Mahomes at quarterback. The best example for this is Seattle with Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll. The offense should be funneled through Wilson, and it’s clearly not. That’s what I’d expect with Mahomes on the Vikings. They’d win a ton of games, but he wouldn’t be the same player he is in Kansas City.
Indianapolis’ best chance of being able to pick apart this Kansas City defense is for the protection to hold up well in front of Brissett, giving him enough time to survey the field and find the open receiver. Brissett has been sacked only six times so far this season, and under pressure on only 27.3 percent of his dropbacks. That is incredible protection, in line with the type the Colts gave Andrew Luck last season. Dealing with Chris Jones, Emmanuel Ogbah (playing very well right now), and Frank Clark up front should make things difficult, but if the pass-blocking can hold up, then Brissett should be able to find some degree of success. The issue there is that “some degree of success” is usually not enough to keep pace with a Mahomes-led offense.
Prediction: Chiefs 33, Colts 24
Stay with Sammy?
Tired -- Trade away Sammy Watkins. Watkins shocked nearly everyone with a huge Week 1 that saw him finish as the WR1. He hasn’t come close to repeating that so far this season. To make matters worse, Tyreek Hill will be back soon -- possibly next week. But since everyone wants a piece of the Chiefs offense, there might be someone in your league who’s willing to take the chance and make a deal for him.
Wired -- Trade for Sammy Watkins. Yes, Watkins has flopped since Week 1. Yes, Tyreek Hill is going to be back soon. But all of those things weirdly work in favor of adding Watkins to your roster. Last season, some of Watkins’ best work came when Hill was on the field. Watkins’ big game this season came with Hill on the field. And of course, you want a piece of the Chiefs offense. This might be a great buy low situation.
Around the league
Wilson was flushed from the pocket and found Lockett in the back corner of the end zone. Lockett seemed to be well covered by the Rams, but he still managed to grab the football and keep both feet inbounds.
“You’ve just got to make a play,” Lockett told the Tacoma News Tribune.
Lockett did just that and scored on what the NFL’s Next Gen stats said was a 6.3% probability of being a catch. Next Gen said that was the most unlikely catch in two seasons.
October 11, 1964 – Denver Broncos 33, Kansas City Chiefs 27
The first 0-4 start was when the Broncos were in the American Football League. The team replaced head coach Jack Faulkner and replaced him with Mac Speedie. That change sparked the Broncos first win as they raced out to a 33-13 lead over the Chiefs, before holding on for the six-point victory. Broncos quarterback Jacky Lee went 13 for 23 throwing for 186 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Denver would go on and finish the season 2-11-1.
Daniel Jones and Josh Jacobs look like Minshew’s only competitors
There are only three rookie quarterbacks starting in the NFL right now: Minshew, Daniel Jones, and Kyler Murray. They may soon be joined by Dwayne Haskins, who saw his first NFL action in Week 4 when Case Keenum was benched. Haskins threw three interceptions and looked very much like a work in progress.
Murray was the No. 1 overall pick for the Cardinals, but he’s currently floundering in an offense that still has plenty of rebuilding left to do. He’s thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions, and has been sacked an NFL-most 20 times. Arizona is 0-3-1 and would need to pull a 180 to get Murray in Rookie of the Year contention.
The only first-year quarterback close to Minshew’s torrid pace is Jones. He threw for 336 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in his first start. He added two rushing touchdowns, including one with less than two minutes left that gave the Giants a 32-31 win.
Smith said Burfict was notified by letter Thursday about the unflagged hit, three days after the league suspended him for the rest of the season for repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules.
Burfict was ejected in the second quarter of Sunday’s game for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle. The suspension, which would see him miss the final 12 games of the season, is the longest ever in the NFL for an on-field incident.
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Claiborne said he feels like he’s ready to go.
“I feel like I can go out and play,” he said. “One of the hardest parts is getting your wind — getting used to doing that type of running and that type of cutting at that tempo — but the strength staff did a good job of helping me to keep my legs, so when I came out this week, my legs felt [stronger] than they ever did. Just going through and getting those reps — it’s a different type of breathing when you’re out there.”
This has the potential to be a tough matchup for the Chiefs defense.
If Marlon Mack and T.Y. Hilton are healthy and play Sunday night, the Chiefs will have to deal with two dynamic players who are a poor matchup for the Chiefs’ biggest defensive weaknesses.
If Mack and/or Hilton aren’t able to play, the Chiefs defense could find themselves in a bit of a get-right game. Nyheim Hines can stretch the field horizontally but doesn’t pose the same threat between the tackles, allowing the Chiefs defense to shift alignments and try to take away the sidelines. If Hilton can’t play, the Colts will still have speed at wide receiver but they won’t threaten underneath in nearly the same way.
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