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Arrowheadlines: Justin Watson waited two years to run that double move on the Chargers

Chiefs headlines for Saturday, September 17

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

Ammendola the Difference in Chiefs Win against Chargers | Pistols Firing

Ammendola’s first field goal with the franchise came with 14:58 in remaining, a 19-yard attempt that tied the game at 17. He hit from 31 yards out with 3:20 to play to make KC’s lead 27-17 before the Chargers marched down the field and scored, making that last field goal a pseudo game-winner.

Harrison Butker, the Chiefs’ regular kicker, suffered an ankle injury in Kansas City’s season-opening win against the Arizona Cardinals, making way for Ammendola to get signed to the practice squad and called up.

It’s hard to say what Ammendola’s future prospects are past Thursday’s game, as Butker now has a long week to get healthy. But, Ammendola showing up and not missing a kick surely doesn’t hurt his chances to land somewhere.

Patrick Mahomes: Spreading the ball around makes Chiefs a hard offense to stop | PFT

Mahomes said after beating the Chargers that the Chiefs expect to spread the ball around a lot this year, keep defenses guessing, and be the kind of offense that is difficult for any defense to prepare for.

“With the amount of tight ends, running backs and receivers that we have, it’s going to be everything,” Mahomes said. “It’s going to be a lot of guys catching passes, it’s going to be running the football, it’s going to be throwing the football, it’s going to be deep passes. It makes us a hard offense to stop. And when the defense plays the way they played today, we’re going to win a lot of football games.”

The departure of wide receiver Tyreek Hill was a major offseason story, but through two weeks Mahomes hasn’t missed Hill much: Mahomes has completed 73 percent of his passes, for 8.0 yards per pass, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions, and the Chiefs are 2-0.

Latest injury update on Chiefs rookie CB Trent McDuffie | Chiefs Wire

McDuffie was placed on injured reserve this past week following a hamstring injury suffered in the Week 1 win over the Arizona Cardinals. He must stay on the injured reserve list for a minimum of four weeks before he can be designated to return to practice and subsequently be activated by the team.

According to a recent report from NFL Network’s James Palmer, while the Chiefs are hopeful that the rookie will be back sooner than later, the injury could take closer to six weeks for McDuffie. They’re in wait-and-see mode in terms of how he progresses in his recovery.

At a minimum, we know McDuffie will miss games against the Colts, Bucs and Raiders, after already missing Thursday’s game with the Chargers. If he’s out for six weeks, he’ll also miss an important Week 6 contest with the Bills and the Week 7 tilt with the 49ers. The Chiefs would then break for the bye week in Week 8 and McDuffie would presumably be back in action for Week 9 against the Titans.

Kansas Citians, dignitaries pay respects during funeral for Len Dawson | KSHB 41

Dan Israel, a producer with the Chiefs Radio Network, remembered Dawson Friday.

“If Len Dawson’s life is judged by those he had an impact to, then Len Dawson’s life was truly legendary,” Israel said.

Bobby Bell, Pro football Hall of Famer and former teammate of Dawson on the Chiefs, described Dawson as a “great human being and a great friend.”

“In 60 years, we changed from strangers to brothers,” Bell said. “He will be missed. I will be joining him, and we’ll be playing ball again later.”

Chiefs’ youth movement in defensive secondary paying immediate dividends | The Athletic

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the Kansas City Chiefs’ goals just a few months ago was to counterattack their AFC West rivals. Their opponents had acquired star veterans on offense, so the Chiefs determined they must rebuild their defense with faster, more athletic youngsters.

The Chiefs hoped such a strategy, complementing superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, would allow them to stay ahead of their rivals. The Los Angeles Chargers, perhaps the top threat in the AFC West to dethrone the Chiefs’ six-year reign, entered Arrowhead Stadium for Thursday’s primetime showdown with experienced newcomers such as defensive end Khalil Mack, cornerback J.C. Jackson and linebacker Kyle Van Noy, a trio acquired to better support Justin Herbert, their superstar quarterback. The Chiefs countered with rookie defenders, including defensive end George Karlaftis, linebacker Leo Chenal and cornerback Jaylen Watson.

The first round — which could end as a trilogy between the two teams if they battle one another in January during the postseason — resulted in a 27-24 victory for the Chiefs, the biggest reason for the outcome being the defense’s encouraging performance.

Thursday’s game concluded a fascinating five-day span for the Chiefs, as head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, while watching two victories from the sideline, realized that the team’s defense is progressing faster than anyone could have anticipated. The team’s desire in the offseason to build a younger, more dynamic defense is translating on the field into an improving unit, which could lead to the Chiefs (2-0) becoming a more balanced Super Bowl contender.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in attendance for Chiefs vs. Chargers ‘Thursday Night Football’ game | Chiefs Wire

“We talked about that route in the receiver room – I wanted that route,” Watson said. “Never want to see one of our receivers go down but (I) just want to give them the confidence that if they do have to take a play off the field that I am going to come in and do my job.”

Why did Watson want that specific route and why were they talking about it in the receiver room? Over 700 days ago, Watson was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They played the Chargers in Week 4. Watson was targeted four times by Tom Brady and on an unfortunate play, he noticed a tendency of the Chargers’ corners.

“Two years ago, I played the Chargers, and they were sitting on my out routes – sitting on my out routes,” Watson said. “In that game, I wanted to run a double move – out and up – and it didn’t get done and they ended up taking (an out route) for a pick-six.”

With the opportunity to play the Chargers again, Watson suddenly had his shot at redemption and he didn’t intend to miss. Even with a different coaching staff in Los Angeles, he saw the same look and knew that the corners would be biting on those out routes. It was the perfect time to unleash the double move.

“So that’s a play that I have thought about a lot over the last two years and I saw the same look – the same type of defense,” Watson explained. “I just knew how to run it to win and Pat (Mahomes) threw a great ball obviously a great result.”

Around the NFL

Will receivers in new situations continue to thrive? Plus, my favorite upset pick for Week 2 | NFL.COM

WEEK 2 UPSET PICK: Washington Commanders (+1.5) over Detroit Lions

It appeared as if Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. came up with a crucial interception during the second half of Thursday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. However, the officiating crew ultimately overturned the initial call.

This dropped interception from Samuel ended up being a costly one for the Chargers.

Samuel’s father, Asante Samuel, didn’t seem all that bothered by this controversial call. After the play happened, he went on Twitter to troll his son.

The former NFL cornerback tweeted, “If I was his teammate I would whisper in his ear ‘you just dropped a million dollars’ #pick6.”

This tweet from Samuel ended up going viral.

Will Justin Herbert’s Injury Change the AFC Landscape? | The Ringer

It was not clear if the big red splotch on Justin Herbert’s jersey was paint or blood. Herbert took a hit from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna and stayed down on the field, writhing in pain. Everybody watching channeled their inner Simba from The Lion King: “Come on Justin, you gotta get up….”

Herbert’s injury is being classified by Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley as an abdominal or rib injury, which makes sense because it looked like Herbert’s kidneys had exploded.

Moments earlier, a somewhat lackluster Amazon Prime–exclusive Thursday Night Football debut between Herbert’s Chargers and Patrick Mahomes’s Chiefs seemed to finally be delivering on its hype. Herbert, the Chargers’ Prince Who Was Promised, got the ball down by seven points with just under six minutes to play. But then Herbert went down, went to the sideline for a play, and looked kaput when he came back in. On third-and-1 with just over two minutes left, Herbert pulled up limp, his left arm dangling at his side, and tossed the ball away rather than try to run a few yards for an easy first down. It was perhaps the saddest moment of his entire career.

Giants first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux ‘really confident’ about making NFL debut vs. the Panthers | CBS Sports

It’s good to be a New York Giants fan. Fresh off of their season-opening win over the Titans, rookie first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux expects to make his regular-season debut Sunday against the Panthers. Thibodeaux missed the opener after sustaining a sprained right MCL during the Giants’ second preseason game.

Thibodeaux was limited during Wednesday and Thursday’s practices. Giants coach Brian Daboll said that his rookie linebacker took part in team drills Wednesday and was a little more involved in practice on Thursday. Thibodeaux also did some extra cardio on his own.

“Getting close,” Thibodeaux said on Thursday, via ESPN. “Like I said, trying not to look too far — what is today? Today is Thursday — still have Friday, Saturday. I’m really confident in this Sunday.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs vs. Chargers Instabreakdown: Kansas City gets a gritty win

In the first half, the Chiefs’ defensive front created very little pressure on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert — but in the second, both it (and the crowd) gained steam. Led by Chris Jones, the unit really started to hit Justin Herbert enough to create a bit of discomfort. Unfortunately for Herbert, it appears he was injured by one of those blows.

Tackling continues to be the biggest overall problem. Part of this is because it’s early in the season — a time of year when all teams tend to struggle with tackling. But it still has to get a lot better — or it will eventually cost the team games. The same goes for penalties in the secondary; cornerback Rashad Fenton had several.

The story of the game — and why the defense was ultimately the unit that helped the team win — was once again the third-down defense. The unit has strung together two straight weeks of excellent statistical output on late downs. On Thursday, the Chargers were 5-of-16 on third down. They did go 4-for-4 on fourth down, but most of those came very late in the game — when it was almost completely out of reach.

Defensive Player of the Game: Defensive tackle Chris Jones

Jones stepped up as the defensive unit’s best player to provide energy, leadership — and most importantly — two sacks in the second half. He also had a big pass deflection.

A tweet to make you think

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