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Arrowheadlines: ESPN suggest it might be too soon to say the Chiefs offense is truly back

Chiefs headlines for Tuesday, December 14

NFL: DEC 12 Raiders at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The latest

Judging NFL Week 14 overreactions: Could the Raiders trade Derek Carr? Will the Bills miss the playoffs? Does Micah Parsons have a shot at DPOY? | ESPN

The Chiefs’ offense is back!

The offense has definitely improved in key areas as the season has gone along. Kansas City’s coaches have been telling the offensive players that they needed to cut down on penalties and turnovers before the old explosiveness could return, and they seem to have gotten the message.

The verdict: OVERREACTION. Because let’s see it against someone besides the Raiders! Look, let’s be absolutely clear here: I definitely believe the Chiefs are capable of looking like their old selves again before this is all over. For that reason, and because of the way they’re playing defense, I consider them the most dangerous team in the AFC playoff race. I will not be accused of doubting them, because I don’t.

The Worst Possible Playoff Matchups for the Top Eight Super Bowl Contenders | The Ringer

Chiefs

Worst matchup: Patriots

While the Chiefs defense has been rolling recently, it still has one glaring issue: It can’t stop the run. Kansas City gives up the NFL’s second-highest success rate on the ground, according to RBSDM.com. That just hasn’t been an issue, since most teams are built primarily to pass.

It would, however, be a massive issue against the Patriots. If Kansas City can’t knock New England’s offense off schedule with early-down run stops, that would limit what Spagnuolo could do on third down. And given Mac Jones’s issues against the blitz this season—his passer rating falls from 102.0 to 81.5 when defenses send extra pass rushers—creating obvious blitzing situations is the key to slowing the Pats’ efficient offense.

The Belichick factor also looms large. This New England defense has consistently played well against the Mahomes-led Chiefs. Even last year, when Kansas City’s offense was at the peak of its powers and the Patriots defense was one of the worst in the league, Mahomes had trouble moving the ball thanks to some subtle adjustments by Belichick.

10 Quick Facts About the Chiefs’ Week 14 Victory Over Las Vegas | Upon Further Review | The Mothership

3. Tyreek Hill topped 1,000 receiving yards on the season.

Hill led the Chiefs in receptions (4) and receiving yards (76) in the game while recording some personal accomplishments in the process. The veteran pass-catcher surpassed 1,000 receiving yards on Sunday, notching the fourth campaign of his career with 1,000+ yards through the air.

The speedy Hill also set a new career-high in terms of receptions on the season with 90. Hill’s previous high was 87, which he set in 2018 and later matched in 2020. His 90 receptions are also the most in a single season by a wide receiver in franchise history, topping the record that Hill shared with Jeremy Maclin (87 catches in 2015) prior to Sunday’s game.

3 winners and 4 losers from Week 14 in the NFL | SB Nation

Winner: The resolve of the Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs were a broken, deeply flawed team earlier this season. Defensive struggles were too large for Patrick Mahomes to overcome, and the whole offense reeked of the team relying on No. 15 to do it all himself, and if he couldn’t they’d crumble.

Fast forward to now, and the Chiefs are 9-4, rolling, and just had a significant win over the Raiders, who aren’t exactly an easy out. Kansas City has become consistent at a time when the rest of the AFC is in tatters.

Kansas City has learned to rely more on their rushing, and sure that’s easy when you’re up by four touchdowns, but they’re still doing better at taking the pressure off Mahomes and allowing him to play more joyous football.

There’s something brewing here, so long as that defense holds.

Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro Travis Kelce Has Launched His Own Clothing Line | Forbes

“I have fun in fashion,” Kelce exclusively shared. “I love to pick a different outfit every single day.”

So it’s no surprise that the fashion-conscious Kelce has his own clothing line.

Inspired by vintage ’90s sports gear, his company, Tru Kolors, sells athleisure products, including t-shirts, hoodies, sweatsets (matching sweaters and sweatpants), quarter-zip outer pieces and hats.

Travis Kelce chose the name Tru Kolors not only as a nod to his initials, but also to create a brand that embraced diversity and individuality.

“I just want everybody to feel comfortable in who they are,” he said, “and showing their true colors and then appreciating everybody else’s colors along the way.”

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Panthers and Saints land QBs; only two signal-callers selected in Round 1 | CBS Sports

Kaiir Elam CB

Kansas City

It was a forgettable season for the Gators but Elam’s talents were hard to miss. He has the size (6-foot-2, 190) and athleticism to be one of the best draft-eligible corners in ‘21. In K.C., the defense has improved over the second half of the year but only L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton are under contract beyond ‘21.

Around the NFL

NFL has 37 test positive for COVID-19 on Monday, sources say | ESPN

Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the league had 37 positive COVID-19 tests on Monday. These numbers tend to be higher on Mondays because that’s when most teams test their vaccinated players and personnel (who have to be tested only once a week, unlike unvaccinated players, who test daily). But to put Monday’s number into perspective, consider that the league had only 72 positive tests in a two-week stretch from Nov. 14 to Nov. 27.

Cardinals vs. Rams score: Matthew Stafford outduels Kyler Murray as Los Angeles gets revenge on rivals | CBS Sports

Why the Rams won

Their high-flying offense did its thing basically from start to finish. After an opening-series punt, Stafford started dealing with some of the most confident, comfortable throwing he’s showcased all year. A shifty Sony Michel helped take pressure off his arm, but that did plenty of work on Arizona’s secondary, hitting Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. for big scores and timely precision passes. Kupp stayed open throughout the evening to bolster his case for Offensive Player of the Year. Defensively, Donald was a wrecking ball in the trenches even when he didn’t get to Murray, and the secondary kept enough plays in front of them sans Jalen Ramsey, who was missing due to COVID. This was a true team win.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Against Raiders, everything clicked — and the Chiefs think offense can improve

Reid has repeatedly commented that his players and coaches continue to work on the little things about offensive execution.

“Whether we’re running the ball or throwing the ball or catching the ball, you keep your focus on the job at hand,” he again emphasized. “It doesn’t matter if you’re up or down — you’ve got to keep going. Consistency against zone defenses becomes important. You might not have all the long shots, but you got to be able to put a drive together. And that’s a tough thing to do in this league consistently.”

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes reiterated Reid’s point.

“We definitely focused on it,” he noted. “We focused on not trying to throw it into the wrong spot — me kind of placing it in the right spot — [and] runners tucking it and really covering up in traffic. But I think at the end of the day, it’s just guys going out there making plays on defense — and offensively, just playing hard and rallying to the football.”

There has been a lot of talk about Mahomes’ interceptions this season. First, the narrative was that he was “broken.” Then the discussion shifted to skill players not bringing the ball in — and having bad luck with turnovers. But none of that was the case on Sunday. Mahomes was efficient throughout the game, completing 20 of his 24 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns — a quarterback rating of 139.2.

A tweet to make you think

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