“We didn’t weigh their circumstances,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “We weighed our circumstances. Not only the tangible element of our circumstances, but the intangible quality that makes us a team. When we moved him, we had an opportunity to get value for him, and so that was entertaining and interesting to us.
“But also, to be quite honest with you and blunt, Melvin no longer wanted to be here. And for us, we prefer volunteers as opposed to hostages. And we believe that’s a formula that allows us to come together in ways that you can’t measure. To do the things we were able to do last week, to smile collectively in the face of adversity and do what’s required to get out of the stadium with necessary wins. That’s more of a function of us and the things that we value and less about Kansas City, the things that they needed or the prospects of playing them later in the season.”
After scores on their first drives against the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos, the Chiefs offense petered out the rest of the time, scoring one combined offensive touchdown after the first possession.
The touchdowns on the first possession are an indication of how Reid effectively studies the opponent, deftly uses his own personnel and makes savvy play calls.
During his time coaching the Packers from 1992 to 1998, Reid honed these skills under Mike Holmgren.
“He kind of raised me in the business of the National Football League,” Reid said. “I had a great teacher there.”
His disciples followed this tactic.
Reid, who occupies a prominent branch of the Walsh/Holmgren coaching tree, said he remains flexible with the early gameplan based on the situations at hand.
Nick Bolton, Linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs:
Here is a player who doesn’t nearly get the recognition he deserves. Bolton is quietly putting together a fantastic rookie season, and no one notices him yet. Not only did he lead the team with fourteen tackles and three pass deflections Thursday, but he is also the team’s overall leader in tackles with one hundred and two already, not to mention his eleven tackles for loss. He may not fill up a stat sheet like Micah Parsons, but what he does for the Chiefs’ defense is equally important. Having a player you can depend on to make all his tackles and be a big run-stopper who opens up the rest of the defense to be confident and do their job for the team. If Kansas City holds strong and gets the number one seed, Bolton’s role should not be understated.
Steelers (7-6-1) at Chiefs (10-4)
Kansas City Chiefs -10
Opening line: Chiefs -9.5
Kansas City has bumped up to a double-digit favorite with the line now sitting at Chiefs -10. Andy Reid’s team has completely flipped the switch over these last few weeks and has won seven straight. They are also the No. 1 seed in AFC and will look to close out the season over these next few weeks by earning the lone bye in the conference. While simply laying the points and riding with the red hot Chiefs may be the way some go, it’s worth pointing out that K.C. is 3-5 ATS as a home favorite this season.
Trent McDuffie DB
Even though McDuffie plays cornerback, we get Tyrann Mathieu vibes when we watch him. We love him as a slot corner who serves as an enforcer in run support and locks down short and intermediate routes, though he has balled out on the outside for the Huskies this season.
Around the NFL
Cooper Kupp to the rescue! After a dreadful three-point showing in the first half and a Seahawks seven-point march to start the second, the Rams needed a spark. Of course, Kupp, having one of the finest seasons for a receiver in NFL chronicle, stepped up. Kupp ignited the offense with a 32-yard grab on the team’s first second-half drive. A play later, Sony Michel broke loose for 39 yards. Two plays later, Kupp hauled in his franchise-record 120th catch of the season for a 6-yard touchdown. On the drive, he also went over the 90-yard mark for a 10th straight game, setting a new NFL record in the process as he broke a tie with Michael Irvin (1995) and new teammate Odell Beckham (2014) at nine consecutive games of 90 or more receiving yards, per NFL Research. Kupp, who tallied nine receptions for 136 yards and two scores on the evening, added the go-ahead score on a beautiful deep ball over the middle from Matthew Stafford. Questions remain for the Rams as a whole, but Kupp’s individual contributions have been able to carry L.A. when called for, as they were Tuesday.
Why the Eagles won
They ran the ball and stopped the run. It may sound cliche, but it’s a recipe for success in December, and it just so happens to be something they’ve done well under Nick Sirianni. Things were ugly out of the gate, with Dallas Goedert dropping a wide-open short pass that turned into a Washington pick and Jalen Hurts losing the ball on a long scramble. But they never panicked and leaned deeper into the ground game as the night wore on, with Hurts, Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard teaming up to gash Washington with both speed and power. A killer showing from the Eagles’ offensive line helped, and Goedert made up for his drops with a slew of first-down routes. Jalen Reagor, DeVonta Smith and Greg Ward all contributed key catches, meanwhile, and Hurts really settled in after his sloppy first quarter; he would’ve finished 23 of 26 if not for the drops. Defensively, Fletcher Cox came alive with 1.5 sacks and additional pressures, while the unit stuffed a banged-up Antonio Gibson all night.
“I’ve seen that hit too many times where a defenseless pass catcher is in the process of catching the ball and he’s hit by the defender,” Brady said. “And a lot of defenders would say, ‘Well, we can’t hit him in the head anymore.’ Well, the point is, you can’t hit anybody in the head anymore. You can’t hit anyone in the knees anymore except for receivers. Which doesn’t make any sense to me. You can’t hit a defensive lineman in the knees, you can’t hit a punter in the knees, you can’t hit a quarterback in the knees, you can’t hit a DB in the knees except for allowing hits on defenseless receivers. It needs to be addressed and really thought out.
Fournette would miss the rest of the regular season, but a source said he is expected to return for the playoffs.
With Fournette sidelined, the Buccaneers are signing Le’Veon Bell, pending a physical, to back up Ronald Jones, a source confirmed to ESPN. Bell is expected to be in Tampa on Wednesday morning, and he will go to the active roster and not the practice squad, according to sources.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Indianapolis Colts (40%)
The first question here may be why are the Colts listed and no other team? They aren’t even in the driver’s seat of their own division.
The answer is pretty simple: Winners of seven of their last nine games, the Indianapolis Colts are playing well, and they have running back Jonathan Taylor. In a year where no quarterback is setting himself apart, Taylor is deservedly garnering some MVP hype. With a league-leading 1,518 rushing yards, 1,854 scrimmage yards and 19 total touchdowns, no team is more reliant on a single player than the Colts.
In the win over the New England Patriots in week 15, Taylor carried the ball 29 times for 170 yards, including the game-clinching 67-yard touchdown. He is the engine that leads the team with the best rushing DVOA.
But the reason not to fear the Colts is simple, too — their quarterback play.
Carson Wentz has been serviceable, but you’ll need your quarterback to make plays in the playoffs and not put the team in bad situations. In the same Patriots game Taylor was incredible in, Wentz was bad. He finished the game completing only five of his 12 attempts for 57 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Wentz stares down receivers and still gets hurried in his process, which causes him to make bad decisions with reckless play.