Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 3 | Blair: 3 | Filice: 3 | Parr: 3
2019 stats: 9 games | 65.6 pct | 2,808 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 19 pass TD | 2 INT | 141 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost
Blair: What a weird night for Mahomes, who did not complete a pass of more than 13 yards until the first half was nearly over (a 31-yard shot to Travis Kelce with 2:52 left in the second quarter) in the Chiefs’ win over the Chargers on Monday Night Football. He also finished with the second-worst passer rating (72.7) and yardage total (182) of his career. Mahomes did reach a new personal high in rushing yards (59), further putting to rest concerns about his recovery from a dislocated kneecap. And it should be noted he was essentially working without Tyreek Hill. But at this point, there’s no reason to freak out about the eighth sub-100 passer rating of his NFL life. On the contrary, it’s probably not bad for Mahomes to occasionally go through the kind of rough patch where he looks mortal-ish. Builds character!
4 Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
The Chiefs’ win over the Chargers on Monday night might’ve been the worst start of Mahomes’ career. Even after that disappointing performance, Mahomes has still been the best quarterback in football by DVOA, which measures value on a per play basis. And even during his worst career performance, Mahomes managed to display a few moments of brilliance we’ve come to expect.
Last week: 2
5) AFC West
The 7-4 Chiefs, who were widely forecast to run away with the division in the preseason, are indeed in first place, but they haven’t proved nearly as dominant as expected, and they’re unlikely to secure the AFC’s top seed this season. Blame stems partly from injuries, including the dislocated kneecap that kept Patrick Mahomes out for two weeks, although the defense (ranked 26th overall and 20th in points allowed) is also experiencing many of the same struggles as last year’s unit. The Raiders have emerged as one of the NFL’s most pleasant surprises, becoming a valid challenger to Kansas City at 6-4. Conversely, the 4-7 Los Angeles Chargers are among the league’s most disappointing outfits, having nearly fallen out of contention despite returning largely the same group of players that won 12 games last year (though they have dealt with several key injuries, as well). The 3-7 Broncos are playing better now under novice QB Brandon Allen than they did earlier this season under established vet Joe Flacco, but they’re still likely to finish with a third consecutive losing season, their longest such stretch since posting 10 from 1963 to ‘72.
“Playing in the playoffs last year and at the end of the season when all those games mean so much and the intensity is always high, I knew what to expect when I got out there,” Dieter said. “This was just like that. For me, it was just getting out there, getting my feet wet, getting back into action.”
The Chiefs are tied for 47th with the St. Louis Cardinals, and both teams have a value of $2.1 billion. Forbes estimates the Chiefs last season had an operating income of $60 million, which it says is “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.”
Around the NFL
“We’re all aware of where we’re at in the seeding going into Week 12 and what’s in front of us and the opportunities,” Rodgers said. “There’s still a lot of football to be played and a lot can happen. I think you’re just in denial if you don’t think about the implications with a ‘Dub’ or an ‘L’ this week and how that affects stuff down the line. That’s why I said, the way we look at it, we’re going to have to win there one time the rest of the year. It would be nice to get it done this week.”
“I don’t got a chip on my shoulder,” Peters said Thursday. “How did it end? I got traded, and I’m liking the situation I’m in right now. I just keep moving forward. I don’t need other stuff like that. I understand the business of football.”
New York Jets 23, Oakland Raiders 20
1 p.m. ET (CBS) | MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
It was nice to be reminded last week what Sam Darnold looks like with pass protection. In addition to limiting the second-year passer’s deep shots, Adam Gase’s increased use of Darnold throwing on the run has helped, an approach that should work against a Raiders team lacking a consistent pass rush. Jon Gruden’s overachieving offense has come back down to earth over the last two weeks and Oakland has been living dangerously with a 6-1 record in one-score games. That’s the type of good fortune that is difficult to maintain over an entire season, and this Jets defense is playing with the energy of Gregg Williams after a trip to the barbershop.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Spagnuolo’s defense gave up many explosive plays against the Chargers, but they did play well in between those plays. Over three of the four quarters, the Chiefs had a defensive success rate over 50%. The only outlier — the second quarter — was only 48%. They played well throughout most of the third and fourth quarters, holding the Chargers under five yards per play and posting a defensive success rate above 60%.
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