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Chiefs-Dolphins: three big takeaways from Week 14

The inconsistency remains consistent as the Chiefs pull off another close victory.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs won their fifth straight one-score game, beating the Miami Dolphins 33-27 in South Florida. This victory clinched the AFC West for the Chiefs, putting them in a position to overtake the Pittsburgh Steelers as the AFC’s top playoff seed — if the Steelers take care of Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football.

We broke down the game on the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory podcast — as presented by Ruback Fine Jewelry.

Here are three big takeaways from the game:

Chiefs continue to dominate for small stretches

For the fifth game in a row, the Kansas City Chiefs won a game by a single score — but with an incredibly high variance. There was a stretch from the second quarter through the third quarter in which the Chiefs looked absolutely dominant — as if no team could attempt to contend with them. Then they added a near-collapse, allowing the Dolphins to claw back into the game. Over the last month, this has been a recurring theme — one that is both reassuring and threatening. The Chiefs continue to show why they won the Super Bowl last year — and why it’s anything but certain that they will repeat.

“Sack Nation” returns

After much talk about the team’s poor pass rush, the defensive line got things going against the Dolphins, finishing with four sacks — including a safety — with both Chris Jones and Frank Clark each recording not only a sack but also multiple pressures. The Dolphins’ offensive line isn’t a top-tier unit — but it is not awful, either. So it was good to see the Chiefs’ defensive line perform well. It was also good to get a higher frequency of high-level pass rushes from the team’s two stars. But a third pass rusher finally emerged, too. Rookie Tershawn Wharton had himself a fantastic game, collecting a sack from the interior. If all three players can continue to build from this performance, we may finally have the answer to one of the team’s biggest questions.

Patrick Mahomes, turnover machine?

For the first time since the Los Angeles Rams game in 2018, the Chiefs’ quarterback threw multiple interceptions in a single game, totaling three in the matchup. Two early passes were tipped — making them easy picks for the Miami defense — but neither were particularly smart decisions or good throws. Later in the game, Mahomes tried Tyreek Hill when he had half a step on Miami cornerback Xavien Howard in man coverage. Howard pulled down an exceptional interception. Turnovers aside, Mahomes actually played quite a good game. While this game certainly won’t go down as one of his best, the quality of some of the plays he made was right on par with his norm — and that’s what makes him so special. Even during one of his worst games, Mahomes can still put together a dominant stretch of play that completely erases a playoff-contending team from the game.

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