For the way things have gone for this team this season, we should enjoy it each time the clock hits zero and the Chiefs have more points than their opponent.
Sure... the Chiefs were facing a rookie quarterback in his first start — instead of a former NFL MVP. Sure... the Chiefs’ offense still didn’t look in sync. But the defense and special teams did their part — and the final pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes to wide receiver Tyreek Hill closed this one out in a way we haven’t seen very often this season.
Here are a few of the winners and losers as the Chiefs once again climbed above .500.
L’Jarius Sneed: His interception was a spectacular play, but he had another breakup in the end zone that was just as good — and he was consistently around the football. After last season, this was the type of performance we expected to consistently see from Sneed.
Frank Clark: Over the last couple of weeks, it’s been really encouraging to see Clark regain the speed and power that make him a disruptive force on the edge. Against Green Bay, he was continually a problem for the Packers, getting around the tackles and making plays vs. both the run and the pass. Clark finished with three quarterback hits and one tackle-for-loss — but was a part of many more plays that don’t show up in the box score.
Tyrann Mathieu: Whether or not you like how he handles his social media presence, you have to love how Mathieu handles his business on the field. Even though his big plays have been less frequent, he’s been really good this season. Against the Packers, he had an important sack of quarterback Jordan Love — and was just inches away from a pick-6, too.
Dave Toub: For the first time this season, Uncle Dave’[s special-teams unit was a game-changer. Punter Tommy Townsend was booming his kicks, pinning the Packers inside the 10-yard line on more than one occasion. Placekicker Harrison Butker hit all three of his — including a 55-yard field goal that was his longest of the season. But the biggest special-teams plays were the blocked field goal by defensive end Alex Okafor and the fumble recovery by defensive back Chris Lammons. Even if the Chiefs didn’t turn these plays into many points, they still were still huge plays that flipped field position — and kept Green Bay off the scoreboard.
Patrick Mahomes: He wasn’t always on target and his numbers weren’t fantastic — but after this game, Mahomes has two things he can build upon: First, he didn’t turn the ball over. (Yes... there was a close call — but let’s give credit where it’s due: zero turnovers). Second, when the game was on the line, he made a play. Dropping back under pressure, throwing to Hill on the run to convert the first down that sealed the win? That was vintage Mahomes. Let’s see if this is the game where Mahomes gets back on track. It will be a few weeks before we’ll know for sure — but it was nice to see some positive signs from the most important player on the roster.
Mecole Hardman: Ball security was the theme of the afternoon for the wide receiver. He lost one fumble — and also had a couple of drops. One of those was a fraction of a second away from being another fumble in a critical spot; Hardman had the ball knocked out, but it was ruled incomplete. His production has been fairly solid this season — but on Sunday, his hands failed him.
Daniel Sorensen: Every week, it appears that watching the veteran safety play is just as frustrating to teammates like Mathieu as it is for those watching the game. Against the Packers, he allowed a sideline catch in the red zone — and then missed a tackle that led to to the only score the Kansas City defense allowed. He did get involved in some of coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s blitzes — including one where he collected a quarterback hit. But nearly every time that Sorensen is in space, bad things seem to happen.
Josh Gordon: We’re still waiting for Gordon to actually get involved in the offense. Technically, he’s starting — but he certainly hasn’t been a factor. His lone target on Sunday was a pass he could have caught — but didn’t. It seems like head coach Andy Reid could scheme up something to get him going, but it is taking much longer than it should. How long until we start to question whether it will ever happen?