Can anyone stop the Chiefs?
The Chiefs didn’t need to blow out the Jets to show that they’re still the best team in the NFL, but it didn’t hurt. The question here is not whether the Raiders or Broncos can catch Kansas City, but whether the Steelers can stay ahead of the Chiefs for the AFC’s lone bye. Kansas City’s coming month features a home game against Carolina, a bye week, and then trips to Las Vegas and Tampa Bay. If Kansas City doesn’t trip against the Panthers or Raiders, they would be 9-1 heading into a potential Super Bowl preview of Mahomes vs. Brady. Considering how easy Pittsburgh’s schedule looks, the Chiefs may need all of those wins to get that first-round bye.
The Steelers and Chiefs are in a league of their own in the AFC. OK, I guess I should technically call it a conference of their own, but you get the idea. They are the most balanced teams, perhaps, in the entire NFL; they have the ability to beat you with the run or the pass while also boasting an elite defense. And right now they are the only outfits who can say that. Throw in special teams units that are excelling with big returns and strong coverage, and at the midpoint of the season, the Steelers and Chiefs stand out from the rest of the pack.
Things could change between now and January, of course, but I don’t know how you watch the first two months of this season and not see them as a notch above the Ravens, Titans and everyone else. They’ve earned the distinction. A year ago, the Steelers didn’t have their Hall of Fame quarterback and the Chiefs defense wasn’t quite this impactful. And a year ago, one could argue that the Ravens and Titans had two of the best set of bookend offensive tackles in the NFL, but that’s no longer the case either.
Chiefs remain AFC favorites
They have lacked the explosiveness of their 2018 and ‘19 iterations frequently this season, but the Chiefs should still be considered the AFC frontrunners. The Steelers’ unbeaten record aside, the Chiefs (7-1) have easier routes to victories. Mahomes’ 416-yard, five-TD showing — after games in which Kansas City gashed Buffalo on the ground and won by 27 in Denver without converting a third down — reminded the AFC how difficult it usually is to derail this team and its “Greatest Show on Turf”-esque skill-position arsenal. And the Chiefs certainly had an easier time in Baltimore than the Steelers did.
CHIEFS GRADE: A | NEXT: vs. Panthers (Sun.)
Russell Wilson: 3,448 yds, 35 TD, 7 INT — 110.9 QB rating
Patrick Mahomes II (winner): 5,097 yds, 50 TD, 12 INT — 113.8 QB rating
This was a ruthless year by Wilson, but nobody was touching Mahomes, ever. In his second season the Chiefs’ quarterback gave us one of the best passing seasons by a player ever. In any other year Wilson would have been in the mix for the award, but all eyes were on Mahomes bringing Kansas City back to prominence.
2. Tyreek Hill was in the end zone a couple of times.
Hill was responsible for the Chiefs’ second touchdown of the day – a 36-yard strike from Mahomes – and later returned to the end zone with a 41-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter.
It marked Hill’s eighth multi-receiving touchdown game since 2017, matching the Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams for the most such performances in the NFL during that span.
The latter score was Hill’s 23rd touchdown of at least 40 yards, and among players with at least 49 career touchdowns, the speedy Hill’s 39 yards-per-score average ranks fourth in NFL history.
Around the NFL
The Ravens confirmed a player tested positive Monday but did not announce it was Humphrey.
“We were informed early this morning that a Ravens player has tested positive for COVID-19,” the team said in a statement. “He immediately began to self-quarantine, and our organization is now in the NFL’s Intensive protocol.
“In coordination with the league, we have started the process of contact tracing, and are following the guidelines of intensive protocol. The health and safety of our players, staff and community continue to be our highest priority. We will continue to work closely with the NFL and our team doctors and will follow their guidance.”
In return, the Chargers will receive a sixth-round pick, a source told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report.
The Chargers selected King in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. King settled in as the starting nickel corner and was named a 2018 first-team All-Pro at the position as well as a second-team All-Pro at punt returner. He was relegated to a backup role when the Chargers signed free agent Chris Harris, but resumed his role as their nickelback after Harris was injured in late September.
For the season, King played 248 defensive snaps (54.6%), posting 24 tackles and a sack. King was a healthy scratch for the Chargers’ Week 8 loss to the Denver Broncos.
The Saints acquired linebacker Kwon Alexander from the San Francisco 49ers for linebacker Kiko Alonso and a conditional fifth-round pick, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.
The 49ers signed Alexander to a four-year, $54 million contract in 2019, but injuries have held the rangy linebacker to just 13 games. The 26-year-old has missed the past three games due to a high ankle sprain. He was listed as limited in practice on Thursday and Friday.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
4. Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali
BY PETE SWEENEY
The Chiefs could not have known it at the time, but with their first-round picks in 2005 and 2006, they formed a duo in their front seven that would trouble opposing offenses for the next decade. The Chiefs selected Derrick Johnson with the 15th overall pick in 2005 and Tamba Hali with the 20th overall pick a year later.
The Chiefs knew they had hit on their picks very soon after making them. The players won the franchise’s Mack Lee Hill award — given to the team’s outstanding rookie — in back-to-back seasons.
Johnson — born in Waco, Texas — was a two-time consensus All-American from the University of Texas. He was named 2004’s Big 12 defensive player of the year. As a Chief, Johnson went to four Pro Bowls over 13 seasons, becoming the franchise’s all-time tackle leader.
Hali escaped his home country of Liberia — then in the midst of a civil war — at the age of 10. Hali and his father moved to New Jersey, where he played for the high school football team and was recruited to Penn State. Similar to Johnson’s accolade, he was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2005. He played outside linebacker in most of his seasons in Kansas City. As a Chief, Hali went to six Pro Bowls over 12 seasons and finished second — behind only Derrick Thomas — on the franchise’s career sack list.
Together in the front seven for 12 seasons, the duo created havoc. Unfortunately, only the tail end of their tenure was met with consistent offensive success with the arrival of Andy Reid in 2013. The height of their partnership was their only playoff win in 2016, when the Chiefs ended a 22-year victory drought with a 30-0 Wild Card win over the Houston Texans.
#Chiefs DI Tershawn Wharton is currently the second-highest graded rookie defensive lineman in the NFL, only trailing #2 overall pick Chase Young.— PFF KC Chiefs (@PFF_Chiefs) November 2, 2020
• 1st - Young: 82.0
• 2nd - Wharton: 71.9
• 3rd - Doug Costin: 64.4
: Robert Hanashiro, USA Today#ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/HH6uyqLvFk