Meanwhile, though, maybe the Ravens game was just … one of those days. Or as Reid put it on Monday:
“When two good teams play each other, these mistakes just get amplified and magnified and everything else,” he said. “So, we’re sitting here with two turnovers at a crucial time of the game, we’re sitting here with the missed tackles, more so in the first half than the second half, but enough there, and shedding blocks—fundamental things that we’re better than that, but we’ve got to do it.
“So, we’ll go back to the drawing board here on Wednesday and work on these things. These are things we can control, and we’ve just got to get in the right mindset to do so.”
That they do. And the challenge is evident.
But the talent highlighted by Mahomes and the track record of this coaching staff guided by Reid, the fifth-winningest coach in NFL history (239 victories), suggests the group knows what it’s doing and has a way of finding solutions.
2 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 5
2021 stats: 2 games | 76.1 pct | 680 pass yds | 10.2 ypa | 6 pass TD | 1 INT | 21 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles
It says a lot about the Chiefs’ system, Mahomes and the playmaking ability of his teammates (Byron Pringle!) that a 343-yard, three-touchdown, 35-point performance against the Ravens felt like a B- game from the 26-year-old quarterback.
“I’m kind of sore,” Jackson said Wednesday of the effects of his acrobatic touchdown, via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “I didn’t want to tell coach (John Harbaugh) because coach would’ve probably said something to me about flipping next time. I don’t know. I’d probably do it again though. It was pretty cool.”
Totally flawless through two games, it’s probably too soon to prognosticate how long the perfection might last, but his exceptional leg has been one of the only sunny parts of an otherwise gloomy start to the season. Butker is 2-for-2 from the field and has hit eight consecutive extra points after struggling on the easy ones in 2020.
Last year, Butker set a career-high with his accuracy on field goals, making 92.6-percent of them and going four-of-four from 50 or more yards out. His 48-for-54 mark on extra points, good for just 88.9-percent was cause for concern heading into the offseason. His issues with PATs seem to have been rectified this year, but he did bang a few off of the uprights so far.
1 - Patrick Mahomes
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QB
His acrobatic tendencies actually led to a bad late-game pick against the Ravens, but nine times out of 10, his freewheeling style is what makes the Chiefs special.
Kansas City Chiefs
And while the Chiefs rank last in both rushing yards allowed and yards per run surrendered, that’s not their only defensive concern. Kansas City has been just plain bad on that side of the ball.
Cleveland amassed 457 yards of total offense in Week 1, while Baltimore amassed 481 yards in Week 2. Kansas City is on pace to surrender 553 points this season. The 1981 Baltimore Colts hold the current NFL record for points allowed in a season with 533—albeit in 16 games, not 17.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is going to have to make some front-seven adjustments—perhaps moving Chris Jones back to the interior—and the Chiefs have to heavily consider their free-agent and trade options. Otherwise, Kansas City is going to find itself in shootouts weekly.
Los Angeles Chargers (+6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers +6.5
The Chargers and Chiefs both lost tough games last week, so they are tied in the division behind Denver and Las Vegas. That makes this an early big game. The Chiefs defense looked bad against the Ravens. The Chargers have played Patrick Mahomes well in recent years and I think that plays out in this one. The Chargers will keep it close, but Kansas City wins it late.
Pick: Chiefs 30, Chargers 27
Finalists from 2021 renominated for next year are wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Torry Holt; tackle Tony Boselli; defensive end Jared Allen; defensive tackle Richard Seymour; linebackers Sam Mills and Zach Thomas; and defensive backs Ronde Barber and LeRoy Butler.
Final score: Dolphins 27, Chiefs 24 in two overtimes. Elapsed game time: 82 minutes and 40 seconds. Garo Yepremian, a left-footed, soccer-style kicker, booted the winning field goal to put the Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game and end the Chiefs’ season.
“Christmas 1971. Santa Claus came to Kansas City,” a deep-voiced narrator said during an NFL Films retrospective on the game years later. “But for the Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, their AFC playoff game seemed more like Labor Day.”
Labor Day, indeed.
“That game was a struggle, and you had to concentrate so much on the fact of the struggle, and to keep renewing your enthusiasm and determination just to hang on and not let [the Chiefs] take it,” Dolphins fullback Larry Csonka recalled. Players appeared to be on the “edge of exhaustion” following the game, a reporter wrote.
Around the NFL
Asked how ready he feels to start, Fields replied: “I think I’m ready. I’ve been preparing for this moment for a long time.”
Nagy declaring Fields the starter came with a caveat that the coach expects Dalton back when he’s healthy.
“When Andy is healthy, he’s our starter. Nagy said of Dalton, who is considered week-to-week.
Brown is the third player, along with inside linebacker/special teams captain Kevin Minter and practice squad wide receiver Travis Jonsen, to be placed on the list this week.
Brown, like every one of his teammates and all members of the Bucs’ coaching staff, is fully vaccinated, and per NFL rules, needs two negative tests 24 hours apart to return, as long as he is asymptomatic.
Players who are vaccinated are not subject to the mandatory 10-day quarantine as unvaccinated players.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
But unlike during the Week 1 victory over the Cleveland Browns, he did it without leaning so heavily on wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. The team’s two leading receivers had combined for 22 of Mahomes’ 34 pass targets against Cleveland, but just 12 of his 30 targets the following week. The rest were shared between seven other receivers, including Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle. The receivers not named Hill and Kelce accumulated 220 yards (and a pair of touchdowns) on 14 receptions.
“It’s a tribute to those guys and how they handle that,” head coach Andy Reid told reporters on Wednesday. “I mean, they did a nice job with it. So if they’re going to roll coverage to Tyreek Hill, then you have opportunities there.”
That’s precisely what happened. In contrast to the Browns game — in which Cleveland had largely left the middle of the field open, allowing Hill and Kelce to raise havoc on their own — the Ravens kept Hill locked down for most of the game. Instead of the 197 yards, he earned on 11 receptions in Week 1, Hill was held to just 14 yards on three catches in Week 2.
Mahomes said that having so many talented receivers at his disposal is part of what makes the Kansas City offense so effective.
“It just puts defenses in binds,” he explained during his turn with the press on Wednesday. “It’s a thing when you have other guys [who] can make things happen. It puts them in a kind of predicament: ‘Do we want to cover both of them and leave these [other] guys on islands? Or do we want to play our defense and do what we do?’
“So having the ability to get it to everybody — and they can all break it for a touchdown every single play — is definitely something that will help the offense.”
A tweet to make you think
“We are pissed off after the first two games," Chiefs DT Jarran Reed said of the defense's mentality after the group reviewed film of the past two games. "Trust me we’re going to keep going, we don’t get down on nothing, we know who we are and we’re going to stand on it.”— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) September 22, 2021