The Chiefs (6-3) hold a two-game lead in the AFC West, where they are the only team above .500. With or without Mahomes, they’re going to win the division. In two starts, Moore has completed 69 percent of his passes for 542 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Andy Reid is a brilliant offensive coach who can coax victories out of a solid backup such as Moore through scheme — and dynamic wide receiver Tyreek Hill — even against a quality opponent such as Minnesota. To beat the Patriots or win the Super Bowl, the Chiefs need Mahomes.
It would be nice if the Chiefs could keep pace with New England and earn a seed that would place their potential playoff showdown in Arrowhead Stadium. But that ship sailed when Kansas City lost its third game. The Chiefs are going to have to beat the Patriots on the road to make the Super Bowl. Whether they get a first-round bye matters less than Mahomes’s full health.
When the Kansas City Chiefs approached Matt Moore about taking over as their back-up quarterback from the injured Chad Henne in August, he was working as an assistant coach at California’s Hart High School. Now, Moore, who did not play a single snap in the NFL in 2018, may have led Kansas City to their biggest win of the season. The Chiefs’ gritty 26-23 win over Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings not only improved their record to 6-3, good enough to keep them in first place in the AFC West, it showed that this is a genuine team and not just Patrick Mahomes’s supporting cast.
With the Tennessee Titans and Derrick Henry next on tap, K.C. will need another big day from its run D to keep the momentum going.
”I feel like it’s something we’ve been working on this whole year,” defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon said. “We’ve been getting better every week and I just feel we’re going to continue to get better because that was the best running back in the league right now.”
At 10:20 am, she spoke to Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes while he did pregame exercises with a medicine ball. Even with quarterback Patrick Mahomes out with a knee injury, Oliver knew Rhodes and the Vikings secondary could be in the crosshairs while facing a Chiefs offense with a plethora of speedy targets, including Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman.
“They’ve got these wide receivers,” she said, “who can absolutely just deliver daggers.”
Four and 25 — That’s the number of penalties and penalty yards for the Chiefs against Minnesota, a big step forward for a team that has been plagued by flags for much of this season.
2. The Chiefs’ hot new power couple
The team’s biggest hero at the end of the game, however, was Butker. The third-year specialist made all six of his tries Sunday, parting the uprights with four field goals — including his first successful try from 50+ yards this season — and two extra points. His last kick was the most important. That 44-yard field goal was the difference between sending Minnesota home sad and heading to overtime.
They had to fight until the very end to win it, but the Chiefs, remember, were once again without Patrick Mahomes. And Matt Moore did about as well as he could’ve done in relief. Damien Williams and Tyreek Hill both looked like they were shot out of a cannon at different points in the game, and Chris Jones stepped up to lead an interior rush in crunch time. Close or not, they deserved this “W.”
7. Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins each put together solid games.
Kelce and Watkins tied for the team-lead with seven catches each, combining for 125 yards. In fact, Hill, Kelce and Watkins became the first trio of teammates to each record 60+ yards receiving against Minnesota’s heralded defense this season.
Watkins – who hauled in an incredible, one-handed grab during the game – surpassed 4,000 career receiving yards with his performance.
This week’s game will be regionally televised on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. The broadcast team includes play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz, analyst Tony Romo and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson.
Around the league
Most Valuable Player
2. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Nobody besides McCaffrey has a more impressive highlight reel than Watson, who seems to have one jaw-dropping, instantly-viral play per week. It feels like an eternity ago, but we’ve all mostly forgotten about Watson nearly beating the Saints in Week 1 by guiding his offense 75 yards on two plays for what looked to be a game-winning touchdown, only for the defense to blow the lead. That would have been a signature game for most quarterbacks, but it’s buried under 15 or 20 more recent instances of Watson doing something few quarterbacks in the game can do with a casual flick of his wrist or shuffle of his feet.
3) Los Angeles Chargers (4-5)
The pass-rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram is elite, something Rodgers suffered the consequences of on Sunday. Melvin Gordon is finally starting to look like himself again, following that pointless holdout.
The shame of this season, for Bolts backers, is that these Chargers could have won the West if they’d taken care of business over the past two months. L.A. can win any game it plays. The talent is there, even with all the injuries. And I love head coach Anthony Lynn. Thursday’s game in Oakland feels gigantic.
Broncos tight end Noah Fant ran over Whitehead on the way to a 75-yard touchdown reception. That, and a missed tackle on another big Denver play, drew criticism of Whitehead on social media. Shortly after the game ended, Whitehead responded on Twitter, including to former NFL player Dustin Fox, who appears on a postgame show for the Browns’ radio network.
In response to Fox’s criticism, Whitehead wrote, “Come get it in blood b---- made ass lil boy. I’m out there with a broke hand .. don’t get smoked ... “
Whitehead also wrote, “Imma kill you b----.. that’s on blood” to another Twitter user.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
“Chris is a playmaker,” Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu told reporters after the game. “He makes big-time plays for us. I think anytime having him out there — even when he is not necessarily out there wrecking games with sacks — his presence really benefits us as a defense.”
“With him back, it does a lot for our defense and opposing offensive lines,” said fellow defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. “He is, honestly, a downhill player. It is great to have him back on the inside. From D-end to D-tackle — either way — I am glad to have my dog back.”
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