The Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the Jacksonville Jaguars to win 27-17 on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The score really doesn’t depict what happened on Sunday. Though the Chiefs only won by 10 points, they controlled the game from start to finish.
It was the Chiefs’ third win in a row. Just over the halfway mark of the season, Kansas City stands 7-2.
Patrick Mahomes continues to see success spreading the rock around.
The Chiefs persisted in their newfound offensive mentality Sunday as quarterback Patrick Mahomes looked confident in distributing the football. Five different Chiefs saw at least three targets, with six players having more than one reception.
Wide receiver Kadarius Toney had his first career touchdown, wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling recorded his first touchdown in a Chiefs uniform and tight end Noah Gray scored his first receiving touchdown of the season. Gray’s mentor, Travis Kelce, grabbed his eighth. Valdes-Scantling’s fourth-quarter sideline grab to help seal the game was his top moment so far.
Toney, in his first two games (admittedly a small sample size), looks much more like a first-round talent than a first-round bust. It’s so far, so good on Kansas City’s decision to ship two draft picks to the New York Giants to acquire the wideout.
331 yards for Mahomes can be regarded as a quieter day considering what he’s done as of late, but in the four-score effort, he now has 176 touchdowns in his first 73 games and thus now holds the record for passing touchdowns through a quarterback’s first 75 games. He has two more games to extend his lead over Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino.
The Chiefs were not as fortunate regarding injuries on Sunday, with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and cornerback Chris Lammons leaving the game with concussions. Right tackle Andrew Wylie had to leave the game with an elbow injury. Given the fact that all three players were ruled out, there is a real question as to if any will be available next Sunday night in the Chiefs’ division matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. Smith-Schuster’s concussion looked downright scary. More than anything on the field, you just hope that he is OK.
Isiah Pacheco as the lead back can work.
This week, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy took a little bit of heat from fans for saying that the club simply needed to run the ball more often; the problems with the running game could be fixed with added volume. I did not find that as silly as others, but I did hope that the Chiefs picked one of the backs — be it Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Isiah Pacheco — and roll with him for the majority of the game.
Pacheco had an early fumble — but as head coach Andy Reid has been known to do, he went right back to him. Pacheco looked the part. The rookie finished with 16 carries for 82 yards (5.1 yards per attempt), and the offensive rhythm felt much stronger for the Chiefs considering they were able to establish the threat of running the football.
Pacheco appears to be the early-down guy, while Jerick McKinnon offers Reid and Bieniemy a solid pass-catching option. McKinnon’s third-quarter, third-down 19-yard gain was the nail in the coffin for the Jaguars, especially as Kelce scored to make it 27-10 a couple of plays later.
The defense is mirroring the offense with contributions from “everywhere.”
As Mahomes continues to back up his preseason-and-training camp messaging that the offense would “come from everywhere,” you could also say the same about contributions from the defense.
The Chiefs are getting defensive production at every level, beginning up front with defensive tackle Chris Jones, who led the team with 1.5 sacks on the day. He wasn’t alone, with the team finishing with a total of 5.0 sacks. Jones’ split of a sack with veteran Carlos Dunlap gave Dunlap 100 for his career.
Defensive end George Karlaftis had two batted passes and linebacker Willie Gay Jr. and cornerback Trent McDuffie were each credited with a pass defensed. In the first look at Chiefs-Jaguars, fourth-round cornerback Joshua Williams looked to have played solid coverage all game and third-round linebacker Leo Chenal had the best outing of his young career. After taking in guidance from veteran Anthony Hitchens in 2021, second-year linebacker Nick Bolton has been such an important player for the Chiefs in 2022.
This is the best the defense has looked under Steve Spagnuolo since his arrival in 2019 — and the fact that he is doing it after the club moved on from older players such as Hitchens, safety Tyrann Mathieu (and more recently, cornerback Rashad Fenton) makes it all the more impressive.
The final word
The Chiefs did what they were supposed to against a lesser team: they won in dominant fashion. The game was never ever really in question.