Steve Spagnuolo is their MVP. Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are jointly stumbling this year, but Spagnuolo’s defense has kept them out front in the West. On Sunday night, they stymied the Broncos with ease.
Sorensen made an impact, anyway. He stayed in the middle of the field and then cut in front of intended receiver Tim Patrick to make an interception. His 75-yard return for a touchdown not only gave the Chiefs a commanding 19-point lead in the fourth quarter, but perhaps allowed Sorensen to complete the dramatic transition in the eyes of Chiefs fans from villain to hero.
“Dan had the running back,” said Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu in describing the play. “The running back blocked so Dan did what any smart player would do. He just found some work.”
The Chiefs continued their string of strong defensive games in beating the Broncos 22-9. They’ve allowed 11 points per game during their five-game winning streak, and just nine in each of the past two games.
Kansas City Chiefs
What to know: The Chiefs remain in first place in the AFC West with their win over the Broncos. Kansas City’s losses to Baltimore and Tennessee are why the Chiefs are the No. 4 seed in the conference standings — even though all three teams have the same record.
Chiefs Potential Spot for J.C. Jackson
Ben Rolfe of Pro Football Network named the Chiefs as one of five potential landing spots for New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson, who is set to be a free agent in 2022. The other two spots Rolfe named as potential suitors for fourth-year cornerback were the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Las Vegas Raiders.
“Kansas City has had success with 2020 NFL Draft pick L’Jarius Sneed, but they need an option to play opposite him if Charvarius Ward departs this offseason,” Rolfe wrote. “The Chiefs’ defense lacks stars, and Jackson would immediately become one of the best players on that side of the ball.”
Playing as the No. 1 cornerback in New England’s defense for the first time in his career, Jackson has stepped up to the challenge. Through 13 games this season, the former undrafted free agent has 36 tackles, 17 passes defended, and seven interceptions, one of which was a pick-six, per Pro Football Reference. Jackson, 26, is graded at 77.6 by PFF this season, which ranks eighth among all cornerbacks.
WHO CAN STOP THE CHIEFS?
Other than the Patriots, who are now 9-4 and hold the No. 1 seed, the rest of the conference seems to be falling apart. And the Pats have a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones. I need to see it happen in the playoffs before I believe it.
Colin Cowherd explains how the NFL is moving right into Bill Belichick’s wheelhouse and why the Patriots’ victory over the Bills proves that the New England coach still reigns supreme.
As for the rest of the AFC, the Patriots just embarrassed the Bills, who fell to 7-5. The Ravens are physically falling apart, the Browns are just OK, the Bengals aren’t ready for the spotlight, and the Steelers have an old, immobile quarterback. The AFC South doesn’t scare anyone. The Titans are completely beat up, and the Colts have Carson Wentz, whom I trust zero percent in the playoffs.
Give me the Chiefs to win the AFC.
Around the NFL
Compton, 32, played nine games with four starts for the Raiders in 2019, their final season in Oakland. He had 41 tackles with the Raiders. Compton then played 12 games with one start and had 18 tackles with the Tennessee Titans in 2020, but he has not played in the NFL this season. Overall, Compton has started 40 games in eight NFL seasons.
The Raiders have not yet announced he signing of Compton and that move may come on Wednesday. Las Vegas suffered a glut of injuries at linebacker last Sunday in a home 17-15 loss to the Washington Football Team, so Compton is probably injury insurance.
The Browns (6-6) also could be without tight end Harrison Bryant, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 12 against the Ravens in a 16-10 loss, the Browns’ most recent game before their bye last week. Njoku had a touchdown reception in that game.
It wasn’t announced if Njoku tested positive for COVID-19 or if he is being placed on the list as an unvaccinated close contact.
QBs on current roster: Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins
I guess I was jumping ahead of the editorial calendar when I wrote in last week’s look at the trade market for Jimmy Garoppolo that the Steelers’ 2022 starting quarterback isn’t on their current roster. I just don’t see how the Steelers could move forward with Roethlisberger, Rudolph or Haskins beyond this season. All signs point to Big Ben retiring this offseason. Rudolph looks more like a backup than a starter, while Haskins is in line for restricted free agency. I will remind you that Steelers QB coach Mike Sullivan told me last offseason that he thinks Haskins can be a starter again in the NFL — I just don’t see that happening in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have a good crop of offensive talent, but they desperately need better quarterback play. They need a confident, consistent signal-caller who can elevate and keep the offense competitive in the AFC North and within the conference. I see them seeking out a veteran quarterback (like Garoppolo) via free agency or trade rather than looking to the draft in 2022.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The reason to worry
Defenses are feeling more and more comfortable completely selling out to take away Hill and Kelce because the Chiefs have no other wide receivers or tight ends making enough of a difference in the receiving game. That was not the case in the past: when the team needed it most, former Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins made a consequential difference. He led the team in receiving yards in the combined postseason stretches of 2018 and 2019 — and his ineffectiveness in last year’s Super Bowl was one of the biggest reasons the team fell flat.
Behind Hill and Kelce, there’s no receiver on the team who can make anything close to the difference Watkins made in the postseason.
A tweet to make you think
First 6 games— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) December 7, 2021
- Chiefs scored 30.8 PPG
- Chiefs allowed 29.3 PPG
Last 6 games
- Chiefs scored 19.6 PPG
- Chiefs allowed 13.8 PPG