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Arrowheadlines: There’s no need for offensive balance

Chiefs headlines for Monday, November 9

Carolina Panthers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

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NFL Week 9: What we learned from Sunday’s games | NFL.com

Kansas City Chiefs 33, Carolina Panthers 31

1) Among all that makes Patrick Mahomes a special talent is that he defies the notion that offensive balance is necessary for big production. Sunday’s win over Carolina showed that as well as any, as the Chiefs rushed for a putrid 30 yards on 12 carries, and still rang up 33 points on the strength of another monster passing day from Mahomes. He ended up with 45 pass attempts, almost four times Kansas City’s run calls, and threw for 372 with four touchdowns. When he’s well-protected — and Sunday, he was sacked just once — the man needs no help from Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Russell Wilson Opens Door for Patrick Mahomes to Win NFL MVP | The Big Lead

Wilson played his worst game of the season against the Buffalo Bills, throwing for 390 yards and two touchdowns, but turning the ball over four times and essentially handing a win to the Bills. The loss dropped the Seahawks to 6-2, giving the 5-2 Cardinals a chance to claim a share of the division lead later on Sunday. It was a worst-case scenario for a player still in search of his first MVP vote compounded by the simultaneous great play of his biggest MVP competition.

Mahomes was the biggest difference-maker in his team’s win today. He finished with 374 passing yards and four touchdowns. Equally important, he didn’t commit a turnover, which has been the biggest differentiation between he and Wilson, and the Chiefs edged the Panthers 33-31. They are now 8-1 with a commanding lead in the AFC West and in position to be the top seed in the AFC.

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes flaunted their brilliance on this bizarre TD play | For The Win

At first, it seems the Chiefs want the Panthers to think that they’re going to see a direct snap to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Mahomes wandered to his right (in motion) as if he’s making a pre-snap change. So it’s possible the running back could get the snap. This is roughly how the famous “Philly Philly” or “The Philly Special” play starts — with the QB looking hapless in motion. Carolina was probably already on its toes for trickery or a running play.

Then Kansas City layered in more deception.

Mahomes motioned back to the left. And when the ball got snapped — and the snap, in itself, is challenging when executed to a moving player — most of the Chiefs offense started moving to its left, too. Edwards-Helaire headed to the left flat. The offensive line protected left. And receiver Tyreek Hill began dragging across the formation to the left. But then Mahomes set his feet and reversed. You can see tight end Travis Kelce waited in the flat to provide protection on the quarterback’s rollout. Hill suddenly reversed course on his route while Robinson dragged across the back of the end zone on an ever-so-slightly delayed route. That slight delay was enough for Robinson to toast cornerback Rasul Douglas, who got caught looking in the backfield. Mahomes had the requisite protection to find his wide open receiver in the back of the end zone.

It’s an insanely-creative mad-scientist play that only Reid could cook up and few quarterbacks could execute. It seems needlessly extra, convoluted and flamboyant. In a way, it is. But that’s exactly what makes it delightful.

NFL Week 9 grades: Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs get a ‘B+’ for wild win, Buccaneers get an ‘F’ in blowout loss | CBS Sports

B+ ChiefsI

t’s a good thing Patrick Mahomes brought his ‘A’ game, because no one else really did for Kansas City. The Chiefs had no run game and their defense got lit up. As a matter of fact, the Chiefs defense is probably going to want to forget this game ever happened, as the Panthers racked up 435 yards of offense while going 3 of 3 on fourth down. As for that run game, it totaled just 30 yards, which is the second-lowest number the team has ever recorded under Andy Reid, who was hired in 2013. Although Mahomes didn’t get much help from Kansas City’s ground game, he did get some serious help from Tyreek Hill (nine catches, 113 yards, two touchdowns) and Travis Kelce, who caught 10 passes for 159 yards.

NFL proposal would reward teams with multiple draft picks for developing minority coaches and general managers | CBS Sports

Peter King of NBC Sports, who first reported on the proposal, gave an example of how the rule would work. If the proposal passes and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy gets hired to be another team’s head coach next season, then Kansas City would be rewarded with two compensatory picks over the next two drafts. They would get one third-round pick in 2021 and one third-round pick in 2022.

The one catch with the rule is that the minority candidate would have had to have been with his original team for at least two years. Basically, if Bieniemy had been hired this year and left Kansas City after the 2020 season, the Chiefs wouldn’t get any compensation. (However, that’s only an example and obviously wouldn’t apply to Bieniemy, who’s been in Kansas City since 2013).

Tyreek Hill Reacts To Dez Bryant’s Ravens Debut | The Spun

Bryant, who was promoted from the practice squad this week, did see the field on a number of plays for the Ravens in their 24-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He didn’t catch a pass, but otherwise it was a good day.

“I can’t even describe the feeling,” Bryant tweeted after the game. “I’m thankful…Great team win!”

Plenty of fellow wide receivers were excited for Bryant. One of them, Chiefs star Tyreek Hill, tweeted a message of support for the former Dallas star.

Around the NFL

Lions only have 10 men on field during Dalvin Cook’s 70-yard touchdown run in loss to Vikings | CBS Sports

Cook, who finished with 22 carries for 206 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, had his longest touchdown run of the season and the third run of 70-plus yards of his career. Cook’s previous longest run this year was 39 yards, but this ineptitude by the Lions arguably made this touchdown the easiest for the NFL’s rushing touchdown leader.

Cook did break a tackle before finding the second level, but having 11 players on the field may have prevented him from reaching the end zone.

Washington QB Kyle Allen dislocates ankle in loss to Giants | NFL.com

A small fracture was relatively encouraging news for Allen after he looked to have possibly sustained an even more serious injury while being tackled by Giants safety Jabrill Peppers, who was penalized on the play for a leg whip.

Alex Smith entered the game amid a 10-0 deficit, making his second appearance since returning from a serious leg injury himself. He previously relieved an injured Allen in Week 5, playing the entire second half of a loss to the Rams. The former Pro Bowler completed 24 of 32 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown against New York, but was intercepted three times, including on WFT’s final two possessions while trailing by three to thwart his team’s comeback attempt.

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (25-5) ties Dan Marino for best start by quarterback | ESPN

Overcoming a halftime deficit for the first time, Jackson produced a perfect second half in leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 24-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and matching the best 30-start mark of the Super Bowl era.

The reigning NFL MVP is 25-5 (.833) in the regular season since taking over as the Ravens’ starter in the middle of the 2018 season, tying Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino for the best start by a quarterback since 1966.

“It’s pretty cool, I’m up there with a Hall of Famer,” Jackson said. “But you still got to win each and every game. So, it’s all right.”

Week 9 Takeaways: Josh Allen Outshines Russ, Tua Arrives, Steelers Survive Again | SI

Steelers Survive Again: Yes, Dallas threw its absolute best punch in this one, and the Cowboys’ superior special teams made a big impact. But Pittsburgh’s offense was also sluggish for a second straight week. Good teams win when they’re not at their best—but what is the best this offense, which still hasn’t found a consistent downfield element, has to offer?

Tua Arrives: It was going to be easier considering the Cardinals’ lack of a four-man pass rush, and Tagovailoa delivered some big-time throws and flashed some escapability that you didn’t see in his debut. Dolphins fans can exhale—there’s no need to second-guess the QB switch now.

J.J. Watt notches 100th career sack, becoming fifth-fastest player in NFL history to reach milestone | ESPN

The Houston Texans defensive end is the 35th player in NFL history to hit the milestone, and the only players to do it faster are Reggie White (96), Lawrence Taylor (106), DeMarcus Ware (113) and Bruce Smith (115). Watt has 100 sacks in his first 120 games, but said the milestone isn’t as big of a deal because it didn’t happen earlier in his career.

“A lot of people have been talking about the 100 lately,” Watt said last month. “I appreciate the questions, but I think for me it’s not nearly as big of a deal as somebody may think because I think it should’ve happened three or four years ago. Obviously with everything that happened and all the injuries and stuff, it didn’t.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Five things we learned as the Chiefs narrowly defeated the Panthers

1. There’s nothing more dangerous than a team ready to leave it all on the field

After winning the coin toss before the opening kickoff, the Panthers chose to receive. Once upon a time, every NFL team would have made that choice. But these days, NFL teams choose to play the odds, recognizing they have a better chance at one more possession if they defer to the second half.

The Panthers’ decision telegraphed their attitude throughout the game: they were going to gamble at every opportunity — knowing that as an inferior team, it needed every opportunity to put a touchdown on the board.

On their very first drive — after the Chiefs had held them on a third-and-8 at their own 13 — the Panthers completely fooled the Chiefs on a fourth-and-3 from the 9-yard line. Christian McCaffrey was untouched on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater when the Chiefs appeared to have gotten their safety assignments confused.

On their next possession, the Panthers rolled the dice again, catching the Chiefs off guard with a fake punt that gained 28 yards on a fourth-and-7 from their own 45, setting up another touchdown.

Then, with just over 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter — and trailing the Chiefs 26-17 — the Panthers spun the wheel again, going for it on fourth-and-14 from the Chiefs’ 46-yard line. The Chiefs left Bridgewater nowhere to throw, forcing him to run up the middle. Chiefs defenders swarmed to him short of the sticks, but his amazing second effort converted the play.

All three of these gambles extended Panthers drives that eventually resulted in touchdowns — and turned what was expected to be a relatively easy Chiefs win into a nail-biter.

We’ve known for a while that the defending Super Bowl champions would have a big target painted on their backs — especially by middling teams like the Panthers with nothing to lose and everything to gain. We must credit Carolina for executing these gambles so well — and remember that other middling teams on the horizon will be gunning for the Chiefs, too.

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