The Kansas City Chiefs began the week with a 43-16 dismantling of the Broncos in Denver. In our coverage, Pete Sweeney’s rapid reaction focused on the strangely bittersweet game, the Arrowhead Pride Nerd Squad turned in their three big takeaways and John Dixon noted how the Chiefs had partied like it was 2013. Then Matt Stagner identified the winners and losers from the game.
Dave Toub and Steve Spagnuolo: It’s difficult to give credit to everyone who contributed on defense and special teams, but it was clear that the Chiefs were the better prepared (and more aggressive team) in both defense and special teams in Denver. Drew Lock had no answers for Spagnuolo’s defense, throwing two interceptions and taking three sacks. In addition to his big kickoff return, special teams downed a punt near the goal line and hit three field goals in the snow. The coaches had these guys prepared — and fired up — to prove that the offense doesn’t always have to carry the team.
Sunday’s game marked the debut of a three-time All-Pro in a Chiefs uniform — and on Monday, the quarterback talked about it.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was pleased with what he saw out of the Chiefs’ new-look run game.
“I thought they did well,” noted Mahomes of the duo. “I thought Clyde Edwards-Helaire obviously continued to put up tough runs and break tackles and get different types of stuff. And I thought Le’Veon did a great job coming in off a week of practice where you only get a couple days and being able to step right in and have a few big runs and really get his footing. Obviously, there’s still some little details that we need to work out here and there, but for someone to come in and have success like that early is really exciting.”
On Tuesday, our own power rankings continued to keep the Chiefs on top — while the Dallas Cowboys tumbled and the Pittsburgh Steelers climbed on their still-undefeated record. But not all of the power rankings agreed with our take.
(unchanged from 2)
Toyed with moving the Chiefs back to No. 1 but ultimately kept them here. Pretty impressive how KC went 0/8 on third down and 3/6 in the red zone and still won by 27 points. Three combined defensive/special teams touchdowns helps with that.
— Brandon Lee Gowton
Editor’s Note: Three? Try two. But OK.
At the end of the day, the Chiefs parted ways with a young quarterback who had showed some promise.
The Chiefs signed Ta’amu, 22, back in March after he put together a strong performance for the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL. Ta’amu did not make the Chiefs’ roster out of training camp but landed on the practice squad.
Ta’amu and New England quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the Chiefs’ Week 4 matchup with the Patriots. The two positive tests caused the game to be moved from Sunday to Monday. Ta’amu has most notably served the Chiefs as their scout team quarterback in weeks they have had to prepare for mobile quarterbacks, including Newton and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
On Wednesday, our Matt Lane took a look at the film from the Chiefs’ second-round draft pick.
After the Chiefs’ game against the Broncos, I feel significantly more confident that Willie Gay is going to be a high-end linebacker in the NFL and can even make his mark this season.
Gay’s dynamic ability at his size against the run gives the Chiefs a player to play behind the line of scrimmage and get out of the tackle box to make plays. His athleticism in space and feel for dropping in coverage lead to him making plays on the football.
The concerns that have kept him off the field are not that uncommon for young linebackers, and he’s already showing improvement in them. The more experience he gets as the season goes on, the more ready he will be to help make plays in the playoffs when the games really matter.
On Wednesday’s Arrowhead Pride Laboratory podcast, the Nerd Squad considered teams like the Ravens and Steelers that could threaten the Chiefs’ AFC supremacy — but concluded that the biggest threat comes from within.
Kansas City Chiefs
Craig’s response was simple — the Chiefs are the biggest threat to themselves. If they go out and do what they’re capable of doing, no one in the AFC will be able to take the Lamar Hunt Trophy away from them. The most complete game this team has played was against the Ravens — they’ve flexed their muscles against the best team. That performance hasn’t been consistent throughout the season, but we know what this team has in them. It’s a championship-caliber a team and their best will end in confetti in Tampa Bay.
Wednesday’s injury report listed three Chiefs out for the week’s opening practice. Then we had good news about another young player.
First, defensive end Mike Danna was designated to return from injured reserve. The Chiefs had placed the fifth-round rookie on IR with a hamstring injury back on October 10. This gives the the Chiefs a possible three weeks to get Danna back into shape so he can return to the 53-man roster, but he will likely return sooner than that, as we saw with defensive tackle Khalen Saunders.
In another move, the Chiefs signed a familiar face — offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann — to their practice squad.
On Thursday, the Chiefs’ longtime safety spoke to the press, helping us to understand how he’s become a more significant player under the team’s defensive coordinator.
“He’s very detailed,” noted Sorensen. “I love his meetings; [they’re] just packed full of information. He feeds us as much as we need. You never feel like you’re unprepared going into a [game] or practice, because the coaches’ preparation — the way they teach it to us — is the best that I’ve ever had. When you have a coach like Steve Spagnuolo that’s willing to do that — and you’ve got players that are willing to put in the time to learn and digest what he’s teaching and coaching us — then you’ve got a recipe for success.”
Friday brought word that among other things, the New York Jets were pretty worried about the pass rush they would see from the Chiefs defense on Sunday.
Darnold was also sacked six times against Buffalo, so it’s reasonable for him to be concerned about the Kansas City pass rush, too.
“Obviously, they’ve got — we call them ‘game wreckers’ — with Chris Jones and Frank Clark on the defensive line. They’ve got other guys as well, but those guys can do some special things on the football field.”
According to PFF’s Pass Rusher Productivity statistic, Jones is currently the league’s fourth-best interior pass rusher.
“It’s one of those tough ones of, ‘How do you stop this guy?’” added Jets head coach Adam Gase. “He’s been phenomenal, really since he’s got in the league. Just big, fast, his instincts are unbelievable. He just seems to know the right time to do with all his moves.”