If there was ever an offense that best epitomizes a “pick your poison” group, it’s this Chiefs unit. Mahomes, a leading MVP candidate, can make every throw at every level—and he’s among the best at buying time with his legs. His receiving corps, headlined by Hill and Kelce (who’s on pace to become the first tight end to ever record five consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons) challenges defenses in ways that are incomparable to any other group in the league. As The Ringer’s Nora Princiotti recently noted, the Chiefs are just as dangerous this season as they’ve ever been, even if they aren’t as flashy. Kansas City may have only barely squeaked by the Raiders in prime time last week, but it had little problem jumping out to a 17-0 lead against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
With five games to go — four of them against teams with losing records — Rodgers still has plenty of time and opportunity to pile up numbers. And he might have to in order to prevent Patrick Mahomes from winning his second MVP in three seasons.
There’s more to Rodgers’ candidacy than just numbers, but let’s start there:
Touchdowns: Rodgers has 33 — Mahomes and Russell Wilson each have 30. It’s the first time in NFL history that three players have had at least 30 touchdown passes through Week 12.
Total QBR: Mahomes leads at 86.2, but Rodgers is just barely behind at 85.3. Wilson, meanwhile, is ninth at 73.0.
Four-touchdown/No-interception games: Rodgers had his fifth game of the season with four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. That’s tied for the most such games in a season in Packers history. Rodgers also did it in 2011, his first MVP season. Brett Favre did it in 1996, his second of three MVP seasons. The only player with more games of four touchdowns and no interceptions in a season is Peyton Manning (with six) in 2013. He won the MVP for the season too. Rodgers has only four interceptions on the season, but Mahomes has just two. Wilson has 10.
When you have a receiver go off for 205 receiving yards and two touchdowns, it’s a great day that deserves a high grade. When that’s in the first quarter alone, it’s an A+ day regardless of the outcome of the game, especially when said receiver — Tyreek Hill — then finishes the game with an eye-popping 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns on the day (Hill’s yardage total is tied for the 15th highest single-game total in NFL history). The connection between Hill and Patrick Mahomes was explosive and the Chiefs got help from their defense by way of two interceptions on Tom Brady, making sure he lacked enough rabbits in his hat to steal a win in crunch time. The only way the Chiefs would’ve graded higher (A+) is if they didn’t take a nap in the second and fourth quarters.
Tyreek Hill shows off Chiefs’ unrivaled dimension
While Patrick Mahomes showed last season he is fine without the NFL’s top deep threat, pairing the two gives the Chiefs (10-1) a historically lethal dimension. The MVP-to-be found the league’s fastest player twice for breakaway first-quarter TDs, giving Hill 203 receiving yards in the opening stanza. Hill’s 13-catch, 269-yard, three-TD game made him the NFL’s first 1,000-yard receiver in 2020. He and Travis Kelce rank first and second (1,021, 978) in receiving yardage. Hill’s off-field controversies will follow him for the rest of his career, but the Chiefs’ defense-reshaping threat should reside on the way-too-early Hall of Fame radar.
CHIEFS GRADE: A-minus | NEXT: vs. Broncos (Sun.)
Kelce, who is 22 yards away from his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season for the Chiefs, was among a group of athletes who stand to score from their investment in Cholula Hot Sauce, according to Forbes. The business win comes after McCormick & Co. offered to buy the maker of the popular hot sauce for $800 million.
Among the other investors in Cholula are Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, fellow NFL players J.J. Watt, Dak Prescott and Ryan Tannehill, along with former NBA great Dwayne Wade. They invested in Cholula through Patricof Co, an investment platform that focuses on pro athletes.
“I love my sauces and know all about Cholulua, but it had to make financial sense,” Kelce told Forbes.
Around the NFL
The Wilson-to-Metcalf combination — plus another strong performance from the Seattle Seahawks’ resurgent defense — was enough for a 23-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Metcalf caught 10 passes for a career-high 177 yards while doing most of his damage against All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay. That topped his 160-yard performance at the same stadium in January, when he set an NFL rookie postseason record in Seattle’s wild-card win over the Eagles.
The league announced on Monday updates to the Week 16 schedule, including three games on Saturday, Dec. 26.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions game will be played at 1 p.m. ET. The Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders showdown will kick off at 8:15 p.m. ET. Both contests with potential playoff implications will air exclusively on NFL Network.
The San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals NFC West bout will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET and stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch — as with all games, it will be aired on local broadcast stations in San Francisco (KNTV) and Phoenix (KSAZ).
Due to continued COVID-19 concerns, the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers football game has been moved to 3:40 p.m. ET Wednesday on NBC.
With the rescheduling, two other games have likewise been moved as the Steelers will host the Washington Football Team on Monday at 5 p.m. ET in the teams’ Week 13 contest, which was originally slated for Sunday, while the Ravens will host the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 8:05 p.m. ET on FOX/NFL Network/Amazon in a game that was first planned for Thursday. The Washington-Pittsburgh game’s broadcast arrangement is to be announced at a later time.
This is the third time the Ravens-Steelers game — originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night — has been moved. Originally slated to be played on Thanksgiving night, it was postponed until Sunday and then moved a second time to Tuesday.
As had been expected since Santa Clara County announced on Saturday new COVID-19-related restrictions that prevent contact sports in the county for at least the next three weeks, the Niners announced Monday morning that they will hold their next two games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
That, of course, is the home of the Cardinals, who have no day-of-game scheduling conflicts with the Niners moving forward.
“The Cardinals organization, State Farm Stadium and League officials have been supportive and accommodating as we work through the many logistical issues involved in relocating NFL games,” the 49ers said in a statement.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
4. Say what you want: Sammy Watkins makes a difference
We’d all like to see the Chiefs wide receiver on the field for every game. But for whatever reason, Watkins never seems to be able to get through a season without missing a significant number of games. On Sunday — back in the lineup after missing five games with a hamstring injury — Watkins had just four catches for 38 yards. That’s hardly the kind of production that will catch anyone’s eye.
But Watkins’ presence created a problem for the Tampa Bay defense. After Tyreek Hill’s astonishing first quarter, they had no choice but to double-cover both Hill and tight and Travis Kelce. After that, Watkins had to be the player who would be certain to get Tampa Bay’s attention. But whether other receivers would be covered was open to question.
And so it was that late in the third quarter — on first-and-10 at the Kansas City 11 — Mahomes saw wide receiver Mecole Hardman all alone in the secondary; the Buccaneers had failed to account for him. Hardman was unable to bring in Mahomes’ pass — which without a doubt would have been an 89-yard touchdown — but it demonstrates why Watkins’ presence on the field is so important: it opens things up for other players.
And just a quick note for Hardman: you’ve really got to catch that ball. With that reception, we very well could have been talking about Mahomes breaking the NFL’s single-game passing record — the 554-yard performance from the great Norm Van Brocklin almost seven decades ago — not to mention a more significant victory in one of the season’s toughest matchups.
But we have faith: you’ll get it the next time.
Remember when CPOE was the stat that hates on Patrick Mahomes the most? Yeah, about that. pic.twitter.com/OM8nJS1NHY— Sam Hays (@WichitaChiefSam) November 30, 2020