1. Kelce is a man of his word
Midway through the third quarter last week, Travis Kelce had a chance to catch a touchdown pass that would have put the game away. Instead, he let it slip through his fingers. it wasn’t his fault the Chiefs lost, but he still took the blame anyway.
KC…. You deserve better out of me. Should have put the game away when I had the chance. Hats off to the colts, they got us… back to work asap!!!— Travis Kelce (@tkelce) September 25, 2022
In his weekly podcast with his brother, Jason Kelce, who is the starting center for the Philidelphia Eagles, Kelce explained that he dropped the pass due to a lack of focus on the play.
“Lack of focus... there is no excuse at all as to why I dropped the ball,” explained Kelce. “My focus had moved on from catching the ball to making sure my feet were down. I just have to lock in mentally and differentiate the two, catch the ball first and then worry about the feet.”
Coming into this game against the Bucs, you could sense that Kelce was determined not to let his team down two weeks in a row. He scored a touchdown on the Chiefs' first possession of the game.
You could tell Travis Kelce was beating himself up for the dropped touchdown all week. Redemption in 46 seconds.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) October 3, 2022
Kelce didn’t stop there. Whenever the Chiefs needed a crucial third-down conversion, Mahomes looked in Kelce’s direction. Kelce finished the game with nine receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown, which was enough to move him into fifth place in all-time receiving yards by a tight end (9,328 receiving yards in his career). He is just 600 yards behind Shannon Sharpe for the No. 4 spot on the list.
2. Mahomes never forgets
Patrick Mahomes has a photographic memory. Head coach Andy Reid has often boasted about his star quarterback's ability to recall a play from memory and tell you every last detail of what happened, so you can be sure he remembers what happened the last time the Kansas City Chiefs played a game in Raymond James Stadium: it was Super Bowl LV and the Chiefs were blown out 31-9 by the Buccaneers.
Watching Mahomes play on Sunday night, you got the sense that this was more than just a game to him. This was about retribution and revenge.
Mahomes and the Chiefs offense looked dialed in from the very first play. This theme continued for the entire night, as Mahomes went 23 of 37 for 249 and three touchdowns.
With the exception of one bad throw that resulted in an interception in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach, Mahomes played flawless and inspired football, which was highlighted by a play that might be one of the best of his career.
3. Matthew Wright is not the hero we wanted, but he’s the hero we need
After last week's special teams meltdown, the Chiefs cut kicker Matt Ammendola from the team. With Harrison Butker still unavailable due to an ankle injury he suffered in the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals, the chiefs turned to journeyman kicker Matthew Wright to help get things back on track.
Under immense pressure and in one of the biggest games of the Chiefs' schedule. Wright stepped up to the plate and came through in a big way on the road. Wright converted both of his field-goal opportunities and drilled home all five extra point attempts. This is no small feat for a veteran kicker, let alone a guy the Chiefs just signed off the street a few days ago. Given the circumstances, it would have been easy for Wright to miss one of his kicks, but that’s not what Wright did.
Turns out Matthew was Mr. Right all along. Butker could be back next week against the Las Vegas Raiders — and if so, Wright's tenure with the Chiefs may be short-lived.
4. Chiefs secondary struggles against bigger receivers
In Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers, the 6-foot-4 Mike Williams smoked the Chiefs' secondary for 113 yards on eight receptions. The following week, the 6-foot-4 Michael Pittman Jr. and the 6-foot-3 Alec Pierce combined for 11 receptions for 133 yards. Now, in the Chiefs' latest game against the Bucs, Kansas City’s secondary conceded 103 yards on eight receptions to the 6-foot-5 Mike Evans.
One or two games could be a fluke, but three games is a trend. The Chiefs' secondary is struggling against larger wide receivers. Part of the issue can be attributed to the Chiefs first-round draft pick Trent McDuffie’s injury, but I believe the bulk of the problem resides in the fact that the Chiefs don’t have the length in the secondary to contend with these bigger receivers.
The Chiefs drafted Joshua Williams to help combat this problem, but thus far, the rookie cornerback has failed to work his way onto the field.
5. Running back by committee can be real cool
There is an old football saying that goes, “if you have two quarterbacks you actually have zero.”
The same cannot be said for the Chiefs running backs. On Sunday night, the one-two punch of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco proved to be more than the Buccaneers' defense could handle. Out of the 155 yards rushing between the two running backs, it felt like about half of those yards came after contact, as both running backs broke tackles like they were hearts in a Nicholas Sparks novel.
Jerrick McKinnon struggled to find his footing in this game, gaining zero yards on three touches. If the Chiefs can find a way to get McKinnon more involved in the passing game, this running back committee could emerge as a three-headed monster that could give opposing defensive coordinators fits.