11) Jared Allen, DE (Kansas City Chiefs, 2004-07; Minnesota Vikings, 2008-2013; Chicago Bears, 2014-15; Carolina Panthers, 2015): If you watched Allen ride a horse into the stadium during his induction into the Vikings Ring of Honor, well, that was so on-brand. In truth, though, I always thought of him as a Bear and barely remember his time as a Viking ... (Dan Orlovsky, are you with me??) Joking aside, dude was a four-time first-team All-Pro, but now seems further away from the Hall call than before.
Kansas City Chiefs
Isiah Pacheco is RB1: Lost in Patrick Mahomes owning the AFC West and Travis Kelce furthering his case as the greatest tight end of all time, was Pacheco having 15 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown (7.1 yards per carry) in the victory over the Chargers.
This was the first 100-yard rushing game for the Chiefs since Week 4 of last season, furthering Pacheco’s case as the starting running back. Sure Clyde Edwards-Helaire is injured and a Jerick McKinnon fumble led to more touches for Pacheco, but Sunday was the rookie’s fourth consecutive start.
Pacheco has 31 carries for 189 yards over the last two games (6.1 yards per carry). The Chiefs are averaging 499.8 yards per game in his starts. Pacheco has earned the right to be the feature back.
6. Travis Kelce
Teams: Kansas City Chiefs (2013-present)
He’s had the benefit of playing in a pass-happy NFL, and not only that, but for one of the league’s pass-happiest teams and coaches. But he’s also delivered time and again as the most trusted outlet for MVP QB Patrick Mahomes. A model of both durability and production, Kelce entered this season having topped 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in six straight seasons (He’s well on his way toward eclipsing those totals again), and his career 71% catch rate proves how reliable his hands have been for an annual Super Bowl contender.
“And Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers ahead of Patrick Mahomes entering this season. That’s what they proved. It is never over with this guy.”
“When it was a minute 46 left, and I’m picking the team against Mahomes? I’m never comfortable. It’s like I felt when Michael Jordan was with the Bulls in his prime. And they’re down big late in the game. I felt like you know what, he’s going to come back.”
4. Wide receiver Skyy Moore made the most of an extended opportunity on offense.
Moore was on the field for a season-high 42 percent of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps on Sunday night, and he didn’t waste them. He caught five passes for 63 yards – both career-bests – and made two grabs that moved the chains on third down. Moore also made a 13-yard reception on Kansas City’s game-winning drive.
Moore’s big game was important, too, as the Chiefs were missing several significant contributors in the passing game on Sunday. Fortunately, Moore and a handful of other players – including wide receiver Justin Watson and tight end Jody Fortson – stepped up in a big way. In fact, Watson (67 yards) and Fortson (51 yards) also set career-bests in terms of receiving yards.
Asked about Niang’s pending return on Monday, Chiefs HC Andy Reid had some positive news. While he hadn’t yet conferred with Brett Veach on his activation, he believed that Niang was ready to return. There was one caveat, though. The former third-round draft pick won’t be returning to the starting lineup, at least not right away.
“Yeah, I’ll talk to (General Manager) Brett (Veach). I haven’t talked to Brett today, but we’ll talk on that and just see where we’re at with that,” Reid said. “But, (Lucas Niang has) made some nice progress over the last couple of weeks. And I’m not telling you he’d be the starter, but I think he’s ready to get in, probably, the two-deep. We’ll have to talk to the kid (Lucas Niang), too.”
Around the NFL
Los Angeles waived running back Darrell Henderson Jr. and linebacker Justin Hollins, the team announced. Tight end Kendall Blanton was also terminated from the practice squad.
Henderson’s release is a surprise, considering he played a significant role in the team’s woeful rushing attack. Henderson leaves the Rams as the team’s leading rusher, gaining 283 yards and scoring three touchdowns on 70 carries (four yards per attempt). Those numbers pale in comparison to the league’s best runners but are indicative of the current state of the Rams, who rank 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game at just 76.1.
— Darrell Henderson Jr (@DarrellH8) November 22, 2022
The team made the announcement Tuesday after interim coach Steve Wilks told his quarterbacks he will go with Darnold instead of Baker Mayfield, who had two passes intercepted and failed to get the Panthers (3-8) into the end zone in Sunday’s 13-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
It will be Darnold’s first start in a regular-season game since a Jan. 9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to end the 2021 season.
Wilks made the decision after evaluating Mayfield’s performance against Baltimore and finding out that PJ Walker would not be ready to return Sunday from a high ankle sprain.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Kelce’s game-sealing touchdown that came with less than 40 seconds to go was his 11th score of the season — and it actually was a variation of the game-winning play that led to the Chiefs beating the Chargers in Los Angeles in 2021.
“You do get amazed by some of the things these guys do — and I’ve watched them do it over and over and over again — but to make the key plays that he does in those critical times when the play is needed, that’s huge,” explained offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who has been more impressed with Kelce’s growth during his 10 years with the Chiefs. “Just watching his growth process and just thinking about all the years that he’s been here and how he’s just evolved — not only as a player, but more as a young man, and how he’s developed as a captain and a leader. Those are the things that I enjoy watching. I love the energy that he brings, and I love the positive impact that he has with our team on the sidelines. So it’s been fun to watch.”
Of Mahomes’ 12 career regular-season game-winning drives, four have ended with touchdown passes to Kelce. The duo’s knack for success when it matters the most has grown to feel like a trend, and Bieniemy credits the program set up by head coach Andy Reid for at least part of their success.
Reid, who is known for his long, stamina-building training camp practices, spends extra time each offseason preparing for teams in the division. Reid is also sure to practice any kind of situation, so when it’s time for a two-minute drill in Los Angeles, the pressure is not foreign to those who need to make the plays.
“You guys have heard me discuss this over time: we spend a lot of time on situational football,” said Bieniemy. “We’re talking through it, we’re meeting though it. (Wide receivers) Coach Joe Bleymaier puts together great film that we go through on Saturdays, but it’s always something that we’re reviewing and constantly talking about. That way, now, when our guys step up to the plate, they know exactly what needs to get done, and that’s something else that we spend time during the offseason with: we work through all those situations against our defense.
A tweet to make you think
1:46 left in the game. Down 4. Enter Patrick Mahomes. pic.twitter.com/QRBb75UpN7— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 22, 2022