The Kansas City Chiefs opened the week with a 35-9 beatdown of the New York Jets to extend their record to 7-1 at the halfway point of their season. Our Matt Stagner counted up winners like Patrick Mahomes and losers like Le’Veon Bell. Pete Sweeney’s rapid reaction noted that the Chiefs ‘got right,’ the Arrowhead Pride Nerd Squad’s postgame show explained how Chris Jones was s dominant factor in the game and John Dixon pointed out that the Chiefs’ head coach doesn’t care about media narratives.
At first glance, Reid might seem like a plodder — someone who is so addicted to routine that he could become stale and predictable. But he continues to zig when he is expected to zag — to constantly defy expectations. That’s why he chose to try a fake punt on a first-quarter fourth-and-4 against a team he was expected to beat by 20 points... and why he tried to convert a fourth-and-1 at the Jets’ 14-yard line during the third quarter while leading 21-9... and why he chose not to emphasize Bell in the running game.
You see... that’s not Bell’s job. Instead, Bell’s job to be an effective counterweight for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. And Reid’s job is to win games — even when (or perhaps especially when) the way he goes about doing it defies our expectations.
That’s why Reid is a Super Bowl-winning head coach... and we’re... you know... not.
On Monday, we heard from Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend, who made an impressive pass to convert a first down during the Sunday’s victory.
Townsend was excited to attempt the first fake punt of his NFL career.
“Running out there, of course I’m pumped if we have the opportunity to run a fake,” Townsend admitted in his post-game press conference. “I got out there, we got the look we wanted, from then on I was just thinking ‘don’t baby it, get it out there to him.’ I got it out to Byron Pringle, he made a nice catch, and got a couple yards.”
The throw was a little high — Pringle had to leap to catch the ball — but it got there in a hurry. Mahomes recognized the punter’s bullet pass.
“I thought it was sweet; he ripped that thing,” Patrick Mahomes raved. “It wasn’t a lollipop at all, he caught it and ripped it over there. It was pretty impressive.”
Since the Pittsburgh Steelers remained undefeated, many of Tuesday’s NFL power rankings had the Chiefs treading water in the second spot — because “you are who your record says you are.” But there were exceptions.
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I’ll make this simple, to sum up the words at the top of this post: the Chiefs are the best team in football and I’d still pick them to win the Super Bowl. That’s why they’re No. 1.
— Frank Schawb
Just short of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, the Chiefs dealt one of their running backs for an improvement in their 2021 draft position.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says it’s Washington and a 2021 seventh-round pick for the Dolphins’ 2021 sixth-round pick. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero later added that the draft picks are conditional (for the picks to change hands, certain conditions, such as games played, carries, etc. need to be met).
The Chiefs signed Washington, 27, in free agency this offseason after he spent the first four years of his career as a member of the Raiders organization. At the time of Washington’s signing, it seemed like Patrick Mahomes’ former Texas Tech teammate might make a push to become Kansas City’s primary backup running back in 2020.
On Wednesday, the Chiefs’ first-round rookie running back spoke about how things have changed since the team signed free-agent running back Le’Veon Bell.
The Chiefs brought Bell aboard, and now he is splitting time with Edwards-Helaire in the backfield. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy called the new duo, “thunder and lightning,” and Edwards-Helaire is trying to make the most of having Bell around to better himself.
“Le’Veon came in and he just brought in a different pep,” Edwards-Helaire noted on Wednesday. “It’s always just extra competition in the room. Once you get that extra person in the room, it kind of up-tempos the competition... just the way we compete day in and day out. Off the field, we’re friends, but on the field, you’re still doing everything in your power to get on the field and compete.”
We also got some some good news about some players who had been unavailable in recent games.
According to Reid, fourth-round rookie cornerback L’Jarius Sneed — who was very impressive at the beginning of the season before suffering a broken collarbone in the Week 3 game against the Baltimore Ravens — is returning to practice on Wednesday.
Fullback Anthony Sherman will also return on Wednesday. He was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after the Week 5 game against the Las Vegas Raiders. At the time, the Chiefs said that Sherman had not tested positive for the coronavirus. Instead, he had simply been exposed to a person with the disease.
Finally... wide receiver Sammy Watkins will return to practice on Wednesday. Watkins has been inactive for three games after sustaining a hamstring injury against the Raiders.
On the midweek Arrowhead Pride Laboratory podcast, the AP Nerd Squad talked about the biggest hurdles on the Chiefs’ schedule.
A road game against Tom Brady and the new-look Buccaneers is the clear-cut toughest game remaining on the schedule. While the Bucs’ offense is coming off a poor performance against the Giants, the skill position talent is undeniable around Brady. The group will potentially get a boost as well when Antonio Brown returns to the NFL this week. Rob Gronkowski is starting to shape into form — things are looking positive moving forward. There is a lot to like about the defense — highlighted by a deep and athletic back seven that should present a unique challenge for the Chiefs. On the road against a good football team is a good formula to lose. Then again, this team will be up for that challenge.
On Thursday morning, we brought you news that the star tight end would guest-star in the premiere of a new Showtime television series called “Moonbase 8.”
The series stars veteran comedy actors John C. Reilly as Robert “Cap” Caputo, Fred Armisen as Dr. Michael “Skip” Henai and Time Heidecker as Scott “Rook” Sloan. As the show begins, these three astronauts-in-training have been isolated in one of many NASA moon base simulators in the Arizona desert for more than 200 days, hoping they’ll be selected to become occupants of NASA’s new permanent Moon outpost.
Bu somehow, they never do. One of the show’s running jokes is that an additional trainee joins the three characters for an episode — and is then almost immediately chosen for Moon duty, leaving the three wannabes behind in the simulator.
This is where Kelce comes in. In the series premiere, he plays himself — a famous athlete NASA has chosen for space duty.
On Friday, the Chiefs head coach spoke about a wild 24 hours in which it appeared Chris Jones would be unavailable for Sunday’s game — or that the team was about to face a coronavirus outbreak.
It started on Thursday morning, when the Chiefs revealed that a member of the team’s staff — later identified as the team’s head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder — had tested positive for the virus. Later in the afternoon, it was reported that star defensive tackle Chris Jones was being placed on the team’s Reserve/COVID list — not for testing positive, but rather because he had been exposed to someone else who was a carrier.
On Friday morning, we learned that Jones was being moved back to the active roster after his Thursday test for the coronavirus had come back negative.
As far as Reid was concerned, the most important thing was that the team could get back to their normal preparation for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.
“We were able to resume today — [to] practice and go about our business,” said Reid. “Guys stepped up to fill in for Rick; his people did a nice job with the team and working with them. Again, [we] anticipated this.
“As far as Chris Jones goes, he was back at practice today. That’s part of the protocol: they evaluate and they communicate — most of all — with them, [to] find out with his tracer where he’s been and what’s been going on. So he was good to go for today.”