Do the Chiefs have anyone to help Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill as a receiver? Nobody stepped forward in any meaningful way against the Browns. The offense leaned heavily on its two top receivers. But if Kelce and Hill play the way they did against the Browns, it might not matter. The pair looked capable of carrying the passing game on the receiving end. — Teicher
Hill and Travis Kelce looked as though they were in midseason form, serving as outlets for Mahomes all evening. Hill finished with nearly 200 yards (11 catches for 197 yards and 1 TD) while Kelce caught two crucial touchdowns. The defense was missing Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu but the unit, led by Chris Jones’ two sacks, was able to do just enough to hold off the Browns, especially late in the game.
No disrespect to Aikman, Emmitt and Irvin but Mahomes, Kelce and Hill might be the most dynamic Big 3 we’ve ever seen in football! Carry on...— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) September 12, 2021
Patrick Mahomes has won 21 of his last 22 regular season starts, and 26 of his last 28 overall.— nick wright (@getnickwright) September 12, 2021
Things That Made Me Giddy
Chiefs Always Find a Way: The Browns threw as good a punch as you can throw against the Chiefs in Arrowhead. Cleveland had a double-digit lead at halftime, were winning at the line of scrimmage and preventing big plays. Then Mahomes escaped right and launched a 75-yard touchdown, and then the punter dropped a snap to set up another Chiefs touchdown, and that was... it.
On the play, Mahomes rolled right and threw off one foot downfield to Hill. It was a play that seemed impossible, but Mahomes and Hill made it look routine.
Mahomes tells Tyreek Hill he didn't see him on 75-yard TD pass. "I just saw your little hand sticking up."— Aaron Ladd (@aaronladd0) September 13, 2021
After the game, Mahomes joked that he didn’t even see Hill on the play, but only saw his “little hand sticking up.”
The Chiefs found big plays from their stars (defensive tackle Chris Jones) as well as less heralded role players (linebacker Ben Niemann, safety Juan Thornhill and cornerback Mike Hughes). They also learned that this unit should be better than anticipated once it’s finally intact. This could’ve easily been a game that ended in defeat, but it became evidence of how much they’ve grown on that side of the football.
“We’ve got a group of guys that is able to step up when adversity faces us,” Jones said. “Especially in critical situations.”
On the Chiefs’ first possession, Harrison made a tackle on running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire near the sideline. As Harrison was returning to the field, his foot grazed Edwards-Helaire on the ground and a Chiefs offensive lineman bumped him back a bit. A Chiefs assistant coach interpreted the act as the safety intentionally stepping on Edwards-Helaire and pushed him off. Harrison turned around and roughly shoved the coach.
Ronnie Harrison pushes a coach?????? pic.twitter.com/fAFbPp9uX0— Slightly Biased (@BiasedSlightly) September 12, 2021
According to former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, the Cardinals thought they were going to have the opportunity to draft Mahomes in 2017:
“We thought last year sitting there (at No. 13) we were going to have a shot at Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes,” said Arians. “I loved both of them” (Arizona Sports 98.7 FM).
While the Cardinals ultimately ended up with Kyler Murray in 2019, it’s hard to ignore the potential upgrade that Mahomes represents. Murray is a solid starter in the NFL, but he’s nowhere close to the caliber of QB that Mahomes is.
As for Gay, we just want to offer up our condolences for his frustration and loss. Any sort of crime like that feels like a personal violation, and it’s not as if the Chiefs linebacker wasn’t already going through enough trying to get healthy on the field. Gay is currently out for at least three full games on injured reserve after suffering a toe injury in the final preseason tilt against the Minnesota Vikings.
Here’s hoping Gay’s car is rightfully returned to him in the same condition it was stolen. And maybe, just maybe, the idiots responsible won’t have to feel the sort of punishment doled out on the field by such a talented player.
Around the NFL
“They came ready to play; absolutely embarrassed us today,” said Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who also called the loss humbling.
Rodgers had a slightly different take.
“I’ll let him use those words and I’ll use, ‘it’s just one game,’” Rodgers said. “We played bad. I played bad. Offensively we didn’t execute very well. One game. We’ve got 16 to go.”
The crunching blow left the 38-year-old quarterback on the ground in pain, requiring a visit from team trainers and help to the sideline. Fitzpatrick leaned on the shoulder of a nearby staffer on the sideline before heading to the locker room.
At the time of his early exit, Fitzpatrick was 3 of 6 for 13 yards through the air with one rush for a 2-yard gain. Backup Taylor Heinicke took over for Washington with the team down 10-6 in the second quarter. Heinicke was 11 of 15 for 122 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the loss.
Darnold also ran for a 5-yard touchdown late in the first half to give Carolina a 16-0 lead.
Accuracy — an issue for Darnold in New York, where he completed only 59.8% of his passes in 38 games — wasn’t one for him this day. He completed 24 of 35 attempts (68.6%) for 279 yards and a touchdown.
He had no interceptions, another issue for him in New York, where he threw almost as many picks as he did touchdowns.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Broncos are interested in trading for Rodgers, and that Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have agreed to explore trade possibilities after the 2021 season.
“Things are good now with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, going along fine,” Rapoport said on NFL GameDay Morning on Sunday. “However, in this new contract that he negotiated to get back to training camp, they did agree to look at trade options after the season. I’m told that the Denver Broncos, who would have been interested this past offseason, remain interested and could try to trade for Rodgers and make a substantial offer after this season. They have not yet committed to a long-term quarterback.”
The San Francisco 49ers lost both cornerback Jason Verrett and Raheem Mostert to knee injuries Sunday and the team fears Verrett’s injury could end his season.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said after his team’s 41-33 victory over the Detroit Lions that the team fears Verrett has a torn ACL.
Shanahan called the injury “crushing” and said Verrett will have further testing done Sunday night and Monday on the injury.
Verrett has been through multiple major injuries in his career, including a torn left ACL and a torn right Achilles in his time with Chargers.
Ja’Marr Chase: I think Ja’Marr Chase is going to be ok. Despite looking very shaky in the preseason, Chase looked every bit like a top-10 pick today against Minnesota. His three catches in the first half led to a pair of Bengals touchdowns, one being a 50-yard scoring bomb he hauled in from Joe Burrow that put the good guys ahead. He finished the game with a game-high 101 yards on five grabs with one score.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Chris Lammons: Vindicated in his presence on the 53-man roster, Lammons was a force on special teams in this game. His two tackles felt like momentum and field position shifts as the Chiefs fought their way back in this one. There’s value in what Lammons does for this team, and he might just stick around. Uncle Dave might just know what he’s doing.
Chris Jones: He was quiet early, as the defense struggled around him, but Jones came through in some huge spots, including the sack that kept the Browns off the scoreboard before the half. With his sack in the fourth quarter, the inside-outside experience is off to a great start in 2021.
Nick Bolton: Stepping up into a substantial role early in his rookie season, Bolton looked like a seasoned veteran — seven tackles, including one for a loss in his debut, were more than should have been expected from Bolton. He’ll continue to get extended snaps going forward, as we haven’t seen any reason to be concerned so far.
Despite Mathieu appearing to be capable of playing in the brief warmup, head coach Andy Reid decided to hold him out. Reid also held out Frank Clark, who seemed to be testing his hamstring before the game.
In the post-game press conference, Reid explained his thought process.
“I held [Mathieu] out — that was completely me doing that,” said Reid. “He wanted to play. Both these guys wanted to play, but I just thought it was the right thing to do. I don’t want to take any steps back, and the Badger’s been out for two weeks, and it was just best that we went this route.”