The Chiefs had scored touchdowns on each of their previous three drives. Up until that point, Mahomes had completed 13 of 18 throws for 176 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone. The Chiefs had failed to score on only two offensive possessions all day — their last one in the first half, in which they simply ran out of time, and a missed field goal. They had yet to punt.
The offense, in other words, was rolling. And that’s with very little contribution from the running game — 12 carries, 30 yards. The passing plays kept the clock moving nearly two-thirds of time. The Chiefs averaged 8.3 yards per pass attempt. That keyed their success. It usually does. And if that’s the manner in which you built the lead, is it not the manner in which to secure it?
Not usually. The Chiefs followed a plan Sunday that most other NFL teams would follow, too. The two-minute warning had passed, and so they ran.
The final result was decided on a kick.
Ole Faithful: Travis Kelce
Kelce is on pace to score more points than he did in 2018, when he broke the record for receiving yards by a tight end in a single season. San Francisco tight end George Kittle rebroke that record hours later, but this year, Kelce is peerless. He has 168.9 fantasy points this season (almost a Gronk-like figure), while the next closest tight end is Darren Waller with 111.4. Kelce has more than twice as many PPR points than Evan Engram, the 10th-highest scoring tight end this season, and nearly 300 more receiving yards than any one at his position. Kelce’s absolute dominance is giving the people who drafted him the equivalent of an extra roster spot.
2. (AFC West Champion)
The Chiefs have looked like the best team in the AFC over the past few weeks, but unfortunately for them, the computer doesn’t currently think they’re going to end up with the AFC’s top overall seed. According to SportsLine, the Chiefs are projected to finish 0.7 wins behind the Steelers in the win column. Although the computer doesn’t like Kansas City’s chances of getting the top seed, it does believe that the AFC West race is all but over. The Chiefs currently have an 95.3% chance of winning the division, making them the only team in the NFL that has more than a 90% chance of winning their division heading into Week 10.
AFC WEST CHAMPS
1 - Kansas City Chiefs
Why Charley Casserly chose the Chiefs: With Patrick Mahomes surrounded by weapons of all shapes, sizes and positions, the Chiefs are too multi-dimensional to stop. And on the other side of the ball, Kansas City’s defense is better than Las Vegas’ D. Andy Reid will always have the team mentally ready, week in and week out.
Super Bowl LV: Chiefs over Buccaneers
• MVP: Aaron Rodgers
• OPOY: Patrick Mahomes
• DPOY: Aaron Donald
• OROY: Joe Burrow
• DROY: Chase Young
• Comeback: Alex Smith
• Coach: Brian Flores
I’m not changing now. Not even after Sunday, when the Saints mollywhopped Tom Brady and the Bucs, and the Steelers improved to 8–0. My Super Bowl picks from August remain the same—and for largely the same reasons.
The Steelers might have the best record in football, but the Chiefs have the single best player and the best overall team. There are always close playoff games in January—Kansas City knows that as well as anyone; see: three comebacks triumphs in 2019—and I’d take Mahomes over anyone else in the field in just those kinds of games.
Round 1 - Pick 32
Alijah Vera-Tucker OL
Vera-Tucker was a big recruit and glides in pass protection. Ideal fit in Kansas City.
Around the NFL
The Houston Texans have fired vice president of communications Amy Palcic, telling her she no longer was “a cultural fit,” sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Palcic was the first woman to have full public relations responsibilities for an NFL team.
In 2019, the Texans brought Jack Easterby in to assess the culture of the organization. Since then, general manager Brian Gaine and head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien have been fired. Easterby is currently in charge of football operations until the team hires a new general manager.
The rest of the communications staff remains intact.
The Carolina Panthers running back won’t practice Wednesday as he deals with a painful shoulder injury and has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Rapoport added McCaffrey is getting a second opinion on his hurt shoulder.
McCaffrey suffered the injury late in Sunday’s close loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The running back was slammed hard to the turf and was clearly in pain on the sideline during subsequent plays. He returned for the Panthers’ final plays.
Rapoport reported earlier this week that the shoulder injury could force CMC to miss more time after he recently returned after sitting out six weeks due to a high-ankle sprain.
“That was one of the not only most defining, but one of the great moments of my career,” Belichick said Tuesday in his weekly interview on WEEI in Boston. “That combined with Robert [Kraft] giving me the opportunity to come here, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Most Improved Chiefs
Left guard Nick Allegretti and linebacker Anthony Hitchens
Others receiving votes: Cornerback Rashad Fenton, wide receiver Mecole Hardman, tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver/kick returner Byron Pringle
Nick Allegretti and Anthony Hitchens tied for this award by each receiving two votes.
Allegretti makes a lot of sense for this title. After playing in a handful of snaps in his rookie season, the second-year, seventh-round selection was forced to step into the lineup in Week 6 due to injury. He hasn’t been out of the starting five since, and he has played noticeably well. His road-grading style is the closest any Chiefs lineman plays to injured left guard Kelechi Osemele, and he has been significant to the offense.
Hitchens is also a very worthy award-winner. He’s taken a lot of heat from followers of the Chiefs for not producing up to the standard set by his contract — but in his second year with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, he looks more comfortable. He looks quicker to his assignments and puts himself in a better position to make a strong tackle than he has at times before. He’s always been the brain of the defense, but his improvements in reaction time and fundamentals have made him an even more invaluable part of the unit.