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Arrowheadlines: Drew Brees says he wasn’t 100% in loss to Chiefs

Chiefs news for Monday, December 21

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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Drew Brees shaky in return from injury as New Orleans Saints fall to Kansas City Chiefs | ESPN

The veteran QB let out a big laugh when asked if he is 100 percent.

“No,” Brees responded — before adding, “but I’m on my way.”

He will have to bounce back quickly on a short week before the Saints host the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day.

Brees — who missed the previous four games because of his injuries — finished 15-of-34 passing for 234 yards as he fell short in the marquee quarterback matchup against Patrick Mahomes. His completion percentage of 44.4% was the third-lowest of his career.

The Saints also finished 1-of-11 on third downs.

NFL Week 15 winners and losers: Against uneven Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints were outmatched | USA Today

Quarterback Drew Brees, while he should be given a bit of the benefit of the doubt as he’s clearly still recovering from broken ribs and a punctured lung, put up a mixed performance. He started the game with six incompletions, including an interception and didn’t connect on a pass until midway through the second quarter.

He would help bring New Orleans back in it late, but the slow start was too much to overcome. With receiver Michael Thomas now on injured reserve, there are more questions about how New Orleans will sustain drives. Against the Chiefs, the Saints converted just one of their 11 third down attempts. On the other side of the ball, New Orleans’s defense — a unit that had been excelling as of late — gave up 179 rushing yards and allowed nine of 18 third-down conversions. The Saints were outgained 411-285. Kansas City possessed the ball for 41:14; New Orleans had it just 18:46.

At every checkpoint but one the Kansas City Chiefs have flashed their credentials and scanned their irises. They have beaten lesser opponents and overwhelmed good ones. They have outlasted legendary quarterbacks and thwarted ferocious defenses.

That happened again on Sunday, when in a potential Super Bowl preview the Chiefs defeated the Saints, 32-29, in New Orleans, a victory that flaunted their toughness and survival skills. Facing their best competition of the season, the Chiefs blew a 14-point lead, went up by 14, then outlasted New Orleans with a lethal running attack to spoil Drew Brees’s return from injured reserve.

“When you’re playing one of the top defenses in the league, you’ve got to bear down,” Chiefs Coach Andy Reid said after the game. “Everything’s not going to be pretty. You’ve got to bear down.”

The last six games have tested Kansas City (13-1) to a considerable degree, exposing flaws while revealing what must be, for the rest of the league, an uncomfortable truth. The Chiefs won all six, coming back in four of them — including avenging their lone loss, to Las Vegas — and though they do not seem invincible, they hardly seem beatable.

Mahomes Clinging Onto Slim Lead Over Rodgers in NFL MVP Odds After Week 15 – Which QB Is the Better Bet? | SportsBettingOnline.com

If Aaron Rodgers’ postgame remarks in the Green Bay Packers’ win against Carolina are any indication, he’s not thinking about his MVP chances so much as he is stringing together four quarters of consistent offense.

That is problematic for bettors considering him for the year-end honor, when his top competitor, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, lit up New Orleans’ typically strong pass defense on Sunday afternoon. Rodgers finished with just 143 yards passing and one touchdown while Mahomes delivered a 254-yard performance highlighted with three touchdown passes.

Rodgers was briefly favored to win ahead of Mahomes in the beginning of October, but fell back behind him again by the end of the month. By mid-November, Rodgers had gotten back within striking distance in the NFL MVP Odds, but now the gap has widened considerably back in Mahomes’ favor.

Around the NFL

Sean McVay: Rams’ loss to Jets ‘embarrassing,’ ‘humbling’ | NFL.com

The Rams won’t forget Sunday’s loss anytime soon. It might even cost them a division title.

Los Angeles suffered perhaps the most unexpected defeat of the season, dropping a home game to the previously winless Jets, 23-20.

It was a result that immediately produced a gamut of emotions for the NFC contenders.

“This loss will demoralize us only as much as we allow it to. It’s going to be embarrassing, sick to your stomach about it,” coach Sean McVay said afterward. “… That was very humbling, it’s going to be humbling, but we’re going to move forward. That’s exactly what we’ll do. That’s all I know how to do.”

To that point, the Rams (9-5) haven’t lost twice in a row this season. They now likely need to win their final two regular-season games to reclaim first place in the NFC West. They currently reside a game back of the Seahawks, who will host L.A. next weekend.

Patriots eliminated from postseason contention for first time since 2008 | NFL.com

There goes the last great American dynasty: For the first time since 2008, the New England Patriots will not be participating in the postseason.

New England’s fate was sealed with Sunday’s 22-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins, a defeat that dropped Bill Belichick’s Pats to 6-8. The loss also clinched the franchise’s first season with a .500 record or worse since 2000, the first year of the Belichick era, when the Pats finished 5-11.

Asked after the game how he felt about missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, Belichick said, “Disappointed, but we didn’t deserve to win today so...”

The Patriots’ historic loss comes one day after the Buffalo Bills clinched their first AFC East title since 1995. In a cruel twist of fate, Belichick’s Pats were knocked out of postseason contention by the Miami Dolphins, coached by Brian Flores, the latest Belichick protege to rise from Patriots underling to rival head coach.

Antonio Brown catches first TD for Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who rally past Atlanta Falcons | ESPN.com

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-27 win over the Falcons on Sunday in Atlanta not only improved their record to 9-5, ensuring their second winning season since 2010, but inched them one step closer to their first playoff berth since 2007.

And the play that ultimately got them there came from the one player whom many in league circles questioned truly deserved to be there.

With 6:25 to go in the fourth quarter, quarterback Tom Brady heaved a 46-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown — his first TD catch as a Buccaneer — to make it 31-27. Brady and coach Bruce Arians both enveloped Brown in celebratory hugs after the reception, which sealed a comeback from 17-0 down, the second-largest rally in franchise history.

“I’m just grateful that these guys believe in me,” said Brown, who had 93 receiving yards on the day. “To get the opportunity to come here, be a part of the team, to put my hand in the pile to help these guys win. They were excited for me. I’m super grateful for it.”

Ravens WR Dez Bryant catches first TD in over three years | NFL.com

On a third-and-8 late in the second quarter, Bryant caught an 11-yard TD pass from Lamar Jackson to put the Ravens ahead by 25 points over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Ravens would go on to romp to a 40-14 win.

“The special thing about me throwing up the X: The meaning is to X-out the negative,” Bryant explained after the victory. “To beat the odds. To destroy adversity. That’s what it means and that’s why I do it.”

Bryant’s TD reception was his first since Dec. 10, 2017 — 1,106 days ago. Bryant led all wide receivers in TD receptions (73) from 2010-2017.

“I had to hold back the tears,” Bryant said. “It was very emotional. That love is real, and I’m not joking when I say that. These guys here — they are one hundred, they are amazing. Phenomenal people. Win, lose or draw, there’s love in my heart for Baltimore forever.”

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride

Tyreek Hill ties Dwayne Bowe for Chiefs’ single-season receiving touchdown record

In the first quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 32-29 win over the New Orleans Saints, wide receiver Tyreek Hill caught his 15th touchdown of the season — his 17th total.

The reception tied former Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for the most in a single season in franchise history. Bowe caught 15 during his Pro Bowl season in 2010.

Hill is now tied with 13 other players in 21st place for the most single-season receiving touchdowns in NFL history. If he can reach 18 receiving scores, he’ll join a group of just four other players — Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, Mark Clayton and Cris Carter — to have that many in a single season.

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