On Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t look their best — but it didn’t take their best to coast to an easy 26-10 victory against the struggling Los Angeles Rams
Here are five things we learned from the game.
1. It’s not Skyy Moore’s fault
The rookie wide receiver was not put on Earth to return punts. In his three years at Western Michigan, he returned just one punt for zero yards. Moore was gifted with 31-inch arms on a 5-foot-10 frame — with 10 1/4-inch hands to boot— and he has a release off the line of scrimmage that is both powerful and smooth as butter. He looks natural moving in and out of his breaks and while catching the ball — something he did 171 times in college.
But he is not a return man.
So don’t blame Moore for fumbling yet another punt. Blame Kansas City special teams coordinator Dave Toub. After seeing Moore muff punts in two previous games, Toub decided to run him back out there against the Rams.
What happened next didn’t surprise anyone: Moore muffed the first punt that came his way.
To keep putting players in a position where you know they are going to fail is a disservice to both the team and the player. You may point to the fact that Moore was only out there because Kadarius Toney was injured, but it doesn’t matter. Find somebody else.
Moore isn’t a return man. He’s a wide receiver — and a good one at that.
2. The Chiefs will go as far as No. 15 and No. 87 can take them
The Kansas City offense didn’t have very many highlight-reel moments on Sunday. It appeared that head coach Andy Reid had formulated a vanilla offensive game plan. The team did exactly what it needed to do to beat a Rams team that was clearly outmatched and outclassed in nearly every phase of the game.
When the chips are down — and the team needs a big play to win the game — Chiefs fans have grown accustomed to looking to the stars. I’m referring to the team’s future Hall-of-Famers: quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce.
On Sunday, there was really only one moment when it felt the game still hanging in the balance. We needed our dynamic duo to step up and save the day.
There was 5:40 left in the first quarter. Kansas City had already punted the ball once — and then turned it over on a muffed punt. There was a feeling that the Chiefs needed to quit playing with their food. Score a touchdown already!
Another Travis Kelce touchdown? Why not. #ChiefsKingdom #FPC #NFL #NFLTwitter— Full Press NFL (@FullPressNFL) November 27, 2022
Kelce’s 39-yard catch-and-run left star Los Angeles defender Jalen Ramsey helplessly flailing his arms like an inflatable air dancer outside of a car dealership. Kelce went into beast mode, breaking a tackle and carrying two defenders into the end zone for the touchdown that gave Kansas City a 7-0 lead.
3. The Chiefs' defense looks really good against a bad offensive line
It’s like the old saying goes: a Los Angeles 10 is an Arrowhead six at best.
It’s hard to know exactly what to make of the Kansas City defense’s dominating performance — especially by the front four.
On the one hand, good defenses should utterly thrash bad offenses — and you can only play the teams on your schedule. It’s not the defense's fault that the Los Angeles offense was decimated by injuries.
On the other hand, there is bound to be a lot of fool’s gold in Sunday afternoon’s performance. The Chiefs treated the Rams’ backfield like their kitchen — kicking up their feat and feasting like it was still Thanksgiving. Kansas City collected three sacks, six tackles for loss and five quarterback hits on Sunday.
But that only tells half of the story.
Making the first start of his career, quarterback Bryce Perkins ran for his life on his way to a pair of picks and a 29.3 QBR score.
Chiefs DT Chris Jones recorded his 10th sack of the season today, earning him a $1.25M incentive— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 27, 2022
He's been dominant all season. pic.twitter.com/sY2MbePoQC
Also: congratulations to defensive tackle Chris Jones for earning his incentive money.
4. Marquez Valdes-Scantling can’t be trusted
We all have at least one person like Valdes-Scantling in our lives — a friend or relative that you genuinely like. Any time you hang out with them, you have the time of your life. The only issue is that when you make plans to do something with them, they cancel out half of the time.
That’s how I feel when the ball is thrown to Valdes-Scantling. He might make an amazing contested catch — or he could let a crucial third-down pass go right through his hands and hit him in the face mask.
You just never know which player is going to show up — and for that reason, it’s hard to put any trust in him.
So far this season, Valdes-Scantling has been credited with four drops — but the really telling stat is that Patrick Mahomes’ passer rating (107.3) is nearly twenty points lower (88.9) when targeting him.
5. Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Ronald Jones make an explosive trio
Kansas City fans have been waiting patiently to get a glimpse of the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones. On Sunday — with Clyde Edwards-Helaire on injured reserve — Jones got the opportunity he has been waiting for. He not only got on the field against Los Angeles, he also looked pretty good in his limited role: his highlight was a 22-yard reception.
This certainly wasn’t an all-star performance from Jones — but you could definitely see the possibility of a running back committee relying on Pacheco and Jones as a one-two punch, with McKinnon coming in on third down to help with pass protection. While Edwards-Helaire may be a better all-around player than Jones, there is something to be said about the energy Jones and Pacheco bring to the table. It seems like it would be difficult for opposing defenses to contain so much raw juice.