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What we learned about the Chiefs in Week 3

Taking a look at the week of September 21 on Arrowhead Pride...

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Five things we learned as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Chargers

On Sunday, the Chiefs rallied from 11 points down to beat Los Angeles 23-20 in overtime. Our full coverage of the game included our rapid reaction, along with winners like Harrison Butker and L’Jarius Sneed and losers like the Chiefs offensive line. Finally, we covered what we learned from the game.

What Butker did on Sunday was pretty much unprecedented.

It certainly wasn’t the first time an NFL kicker had made two field goals of 53 yards or more in the same game. According to data obtained from Pro-Football-Reference.com, that’s actually happened 28 times since 1960. Once — back in 2007 — Miami Dolphins placekicker Kris Brown made three of 53 or more in a game against the Houston Texans. But to kick a 53-yarder — and to then make three consecutive kicks of 53 or more with an overtime game on the line? That’s incredible.

And oh, yeah... Butker nailed all three of those kicks after being iced — not by a timeout from the opposing team, but by the two-minute warning!

The man has a bionic leg — along with ice water in his veins. And he’s a Chief through 2024.

Harrison Butker: “I think I just got a little bit more angry every kick”

Monday brought more clarification of Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s mysterious injury that put rookie Justin Herbert in the game before it began — and what was going through the Chiefs placekicker’s mind as it came to an end.

“I think I just got a little bit more angry every kick,” he said after the game. “So the first one, I thought they called timeout, and then I realized it was a false start. Going into the second one, they called timeout again, so in my head, that’s two timeouts, and then I think I even looked at the Chargers’ sideline, cause I’m like, ‘Come on, man, I’m trying to finish this game and get back to Kansas City.’

“So that third one, I felt like was my best kick, and I mean, to have two practice kicks before that is only going to help you.”

Chiefs-Chargers: three big takeaways from Week 2

On the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory Postgame Show, the AP Nerd Squad gave their biggest takeaways from the overtime win.

Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz both looked to bite off more than they could chew trying to handle Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa one on one. It’s certainly worth monitoring after such a quick passing attack against the Houston Texans in Week 1 and now a shaky performance from the two tackles in pass protection for the second week in a row.

Part of the issue does fall onto Patrick Mahomes, who tends to drop back, then drift backward even farther. It makes blocking to specific points — depending on the drop steps and depth — very difficult. The Chargers know this about the Chiefs and Mahomes, so their defensive ends took very deep, very direct pass-rush angles knowing they didn’t have to worry about creating the space to loop up into the pocket behind the quarterback.

Week 3 AP NFL Power Rankings: Injuries hurt 49ers while Rams advance

Following the scare they suffered against the Chargers, the Chiefs fell out of the top spot in several of Tuesday’s national power rankings. They remained on top in Arrowhead Pride’s weekly power rankings poll — but there was movement elsewhere.

7. Los Angeles Rams (14th) | This week’s high riser

They’ve jumped from 20th to seventh in just two weeks. An outstanding start to the season for a team very few fancied.

13. San Francisco 49ers (5th) | This week’s big faller

Jordan Reed went out and proved what we were all thinking: George Kittle is a system tight end. Just kidding. The team’s performance was fine. It’s the injuries that have caused this slide.

Chiefs protect two practice squad players in advance of Ravens game

As roster moves go, protecting a couple of practice squad players is a pretty minor thing. But when several significant players have suffered injuries — and little is known about their prognosis — such moves bear watching.

According to the NFL’s official transactions report, the Kansas City Chiefs protected two players squad players on Tuesday: defensive back Chris Lammons and running back DeAndre Washington.

Under the practice-squad rules in place for the 2020 season, protected practice squad players may not be poached by another team. These protections last only through the current NFL week — and must be made by 3 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) each Tuesday.

Does this mean that running back Darrel Williams or cornerback Antonio Hamilton — both of whom were injured in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers — will not be able to play against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3’s highly-anticipated Monday Night Football matchup?

It might. Or... it might not.

Examining rookie cornerback L’Jarius Sneed’s hot NFL start

On Wednesday, Matt Lane dug into the film to see what has been driving the fourth-round rookie cornerback’s immediate contribution to the team.

Through two games, Sneed has been targeted 11 times, only given up six catches for 56 yards and no touchdowns.

The stats are clearly impressive and the wide receivers he’s faced off against have offered a variety of challenges. Last season — when Charvarius Ward was in a similar situation — I reviewed his film and was left underwhelmed compared to the stats.

I thought Ward was given a lot of help and was not asked to perform highly difficult coverage while giving up space on throws he was targeted. Sneed was the exact opposite experience when watching this Chargers game.

Even more impressive than the stats is simply how good he is on each and every rep. On reps he isn’t being targeted, it’s because he’s on the receiver like glue. There aren’t very many plays of wide receivers getting open against Sneed. When receivers do get open, it is because of small technical inconsistencies that can easily be improved upon.

Patrick Mahomes breaks down two-point conversion to Mecole Hardman vs. Chargers

On Thursday, we brought you the AP staff’s picks for all of the NFL’s Week 3 games — and covered the Chiefs quarterback’s recollection of the amazing play that played a big part in the Week 2 victory.

“We had a play called with a little kind of either a shovel pass or I roll out the throw to Clyde Edwards-Helaire,” the quarterback recounted. “I was a little nervous in the beginning, right before the play. They said watch for the shovel pass, I knew that there was a good chance that Joey Bosa was going to come down on that and so before the snap even in the huddle, we were kind of reviewing the play. I had told Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill, I said, ‘I know you aren’t really in the read you’re kind of last read, but make sure you will continue to work.”

Hardman did just that, and Mahomes managed to find him through several Chargers defenders to tie the game.

“I thought Mecole made a heck of a catch on a ball that was thrown low and away on him and he made a great play on it.”

Chiefs vs. Ravens Friday injury report: Sammy Watkins limited, Dorian O’Daniel held out

On Thursday, the team’s second wide receiver had been held out of practice as he worked through the NFL’s concussion protocol. On Friday, he was back.

Sammy Watkins was back on the field Friday but is still in the concussion protocol, per Andy Reid. A Twitter question asked whether we heard anything regarding a fine for Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman for his questionable tackle that injured Watkins, and we have not, yet. Words of fines typically break via the NFL newsbreakers on Saturday.

When Saturday arrived, we learned that Perryman would not be fined for the hit that gave Watkins a concussion.

Patrick Mahomes uses “unique voice” to his advantage

Then Mahomes talked about one of the things that had gone right during Sunday’s game.

After scoring just six points in the first half, the Chiefs began to help their tackles with chip blocks from their running backs and tight ends — but the quarterback also made a small adjustment, utilizing the hard count to get Los Angeles pass rushers out of rhythm.

It worked. During the fourth quarter and overtime, three separate Chargers defensive linemen drew offsides flags from Mahomes’ hard count — and it wasn’t a coincidence that the Chiefs scored 14 of their 23 points after the third quarter.

“We work on changing up the snap count all throughout training camp,” Mahomes told reporters on Thursday. “There are some rough days where you get a lot of false starts, but it always makes you better whenever the season comes along. I have the unique advantage of having a unique voice that’s able to get those guys to jump offside, so I try to utilize that as much as possible.”

Chiefs-Ravens: Five questions with the enemy

Saturday’s final injury report listed three Chiefs as questionable for the Week 3 game against the Ravens. But we also had the latest intelligence from behind enemy lines.

2) How would you stop Lamar Jackson if you were the Chiefs defensive coordinator?

Jackson’s ability to both pass and run has grown exponentially, causing fits for opposing defenses. If you watch the Week 1 matchup against the Browns, you can see the game plan was to force him to throw. He did so and burned the Browns many times.

In Week 2, the Texans brought a similar but better game plan. They shut down Mark Andrews and forced Jackson to throw elsewhere. I think this was a success — though the final score argues otherwise. I think this was something the Chiefs will be interested in doing. Mark Andrews is the best receiving weapon on the Ravens’ roster — and I’d opt to also ensure Andrews’ doesn’t have an enjoyable afternoon.

As for the rest, you just have to hope your defensive line and pass rush gets to him fast enough — without selling out on blitzing a bunch of players and him finding a running lane. If you can stick with four-man rushes that create pressure and collapse the pocket, you can make any quarterback struggle.