1 - Patrick Mahomes
We figured No. 15 would be just fine without Tyreek Hill. We didn’t count on him being ... better? For any flak he gets regarding his freewheeling style, Mahomes sure is automatic as a point guard at the position, too. He could take a week off and still lead the NFL in touchdown passes.
2 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 6
2022 stats: 1 game | 76.9 pct | 360 pass yds | 9.2 ypa | 5 pass TD | 0 INT | 5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble
Questions draped around a post-Tyreek Hill Chiefs attack evaporated minutes into Sunday’s romp over the Cardinals. Mahomes morphed into a burning blaze, steering three straight touchdowns marches to open the game en route to a 360-yard, five-touchdown day. It’s how he did it: Shrugging off Hill’s lost speed to connect with nine different skill-position players inside a scheme that leaned on two — sometimes three — tight ends. Signature shovel action, end-zone perfection and a perfectly placed dart to Travis Kelce tell the story. Andy Reid was tasked with cooking up a new plan on offense; Mahomes with making it go. Together they demoralized Arizona’s defense in mere minutes and never peered back.
Which defense will make the bigger statement? The Chargers played without prized free-agent signee CB J.C. Jackson in Week 1, but the defense’s other big addition was lights out. ’s return to the division was a raucous one, as he had three sacks (his first three-sack game since 2015), four QB hits and a forced fumble. Together, Mack and Joey Bosa put the Raiders’ offensive linemen on skates most of the day, helping the defense register a whopping 22 pressures, six sacks, three interceptions and a game-ending turnover on downs. The Chargers have very good talent on all three levels, but they would love to have Jackson make his debut after Michael Davis had some rough patches in the opener. The Chiefs defense was exceptional on the road last week through three quarters before going into prevent mode, up 30. Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, linebacker Nick Bolton and defensive tackle Chris Jones all had strong games, but so did new pass rushers Carlos Dunlap and George Karlaftis, who both supplied heat. The Chiefs arguably have the stronger offensive line, but the Chargers’ pass-rush group looks lethal. Can either defense slow down these high-powered offenses?
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4)
This is the game of the week with Justin Herbert against Patrick Mahomes. That is a treat anytime they meet, and Arrowhead will be rocking on Thursday night. The Chiefs rolled against the Cardinals with Mahomes lighting things up. But the Chargers can rush the passer with Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa. Look for a high-scoring game with the Chiefs winning a close one.
Pick: Chiefs 31, Chargers 30
The Chargers looked like a complete team for most of four quarters against the Raiders while Kansas City showed they don’t need Tyreek Hill to light up the scoreboard against the Cardinals. In 2021, these two teams split their season series with a pair of excruciatingly close games.
Can we expect more of the same this season? As a fan of good football, I certainly hope so.
As always, this is just a simple “screenshot” of both teams and how they’re faring on both offense and defense thus far in 2021.
Let’s dive in.
Total yards per game: 355.0
Points per game: 24.0
Passing yards per game: 279.0
Rushing yards per game: 76.0
Some recent trends strengthen the case for the Chargers too. Since 2010, teams coming off Week One wins of 21 or more points, such as the Chiefs, have gone 7-19 against the handicap in Week Two - a strike rate of just 27 per cent. Last year all three teams who had won big in their opener failed to cover in the next game.
Underdogs in Week Two have covered in 54.3 per cent of games since 2005, while Herbert has a 5-1 handicap record when his team have been underdogs of more than three points. Take the Chargers to play a full part in what should be a great game to watch.
Around the NFL
“When your defense is playing that well, and they’re getting turnovers, you just want to take care of the football, but we’ve got to have that killer mindset, that aggressive mentality to really take teams out of the game and just not allow them to keep it close,” Trubisky said.
With Minkah Fitzpatrick’s game-opening pick-six accounting for one score, the Steelers’ offense only added 10 points off turnovers thanks to a field goal and a touchdown. The rest of those possessions ended in punts.
Simmons, who played every defensive snap Monday night in the Broncos’ 17-16 loss to the Seahawks, was formally moved to injured reserve Wednesday afternoon. It means Simmons, who has been the Broncos’ iron man, will miss at least the next four games.
The soonest he could return would be for the Oct. 16 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Broncos promoted cornerback Essang Bassey to fill Simmons’ spot on the roster and also signed former Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles safety Anthony Harris to the practice squad. Bassey, 24, has played in 13 games over last two seasons with the Broncos, while the 30-year-old Harris has played in 95 career games.
The Chargers are Carter’s ninth NFL team. After going undrafted in 2015, he spent time on various practice squads before making it on to a 53-man roster with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.
Less than two months later, he was cut.
“You kind of just have to stay with it, trust the process,” Carter said. “Trust God, trust the process. Your opportunity is going to come, and when it comes, make the most of it, take advantage of it. It’s tough, mentally, not getting the opportunity, but everything happens when it’s supposed to.”
That opportunity is presenting itself once again for Carter this season with the Chargers. The team signed him to a one-year deal back in April, mainly so that he could serve as a returner, head coach Brandon Staley said Tuesday. However, Staley said, the team quickly saw he could bring a lot more to the table than that.
“He’s a coach’s dream,” Staley said. “That is kind of how DeAndre is. He is such a hard worker. He’s so unselfish. He does so many different things from a role standpoint. I think he works extremely hard no matter what he’s doing throughout the day, whether it’s in a meeting, in a lift, out at the walk-through, out at practice.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
George Karlaftis: I’m not ready to fully eat crow for my pre-draft analysis, but I’ll bite off a piece for putting “Furious George” on the Losers list after the Arizona game. When a defensive lineman doesn’t create a lot of splash plays, it can be challenging to see what impact he’s having. But upon further review, Karlaftis not only led all defenders in snaps, but he actually generated six quarterback pressures — even with a game plan that required him to contain a mobile quarterback. On Thursday, he’ll face a difficult test against Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert — who can get the ball out quickly — and a much better offensive line. Still... Karlaftis might just be the defensive lineman with the best chance to make an impact.
Juju Smith-Schuster: Mahomes was incredible against the Cardinals, spreading the ball around to 10 different receivers. But when the Chiefs needed to move the chains, there was one guy who seemed to be the go-to: the former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout. Smith-Schuster was targeted eight times (just one fewer than tight end Travis Kelce) and ended with six catches for 79 yards. Against the Chargers — with the lights and the pressure on — Smith-Schuster will have an opportunity to deliver in clutch situations against a division rival. It not only seems as if he’s up for the challenge, it also appears that his offseason work with Mahomes has built the kind of chemistry you’d expect from a No. 1 receiver.
A tweet to make you think
It's unfortunate for the #Chiefs that Justin Herbert is in the division–but the Chargers still have to go through Kansas City to win the AFC West. #GreatBritishChiefsShowAP@BritChiefUK | @tomchilds56 pic.twitter.com/iAlXDR9Dnm— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) September 14, 2022