D - Chiefs
The Chiefs offense had a bad game, special teams was an absolute disaster, and then there was Kansas City’s defense. For the better part of three quarters, the Chiefs actually played well on the defensive side of the ball, but during the final minutes of the fourth quarter, they simply couldn’t get off the field during a Colts game-winning scoring drive that lasted more than eight minutes while covering 76 yards over 16 plays. The Chiefs appeared to stop the Colts after sacking Matt Ryan on third down, but Chris Jones got called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave Indy a first down. It was just that kind of day for the Chiefs where nothing was going right and even when it looked like things were going to go right, they still went wrong.
KC…. You deserve better out of me. Should have put the game away when I had the chance. Hats off to the colts, they got us… back to work asap!!!— Travis Kelce (@tkelce) September 25, 2022
Do the Chiefs have reason to worry about their special teams? Probably not. But the situation bears watching after Skyy Moore had a rough day as a punt returner and Matt Ammendola missed a field goal and an extra-point kick in Indianapolis. The Chiefs knew Moore, a rookie who didn’t return punts in college, may have a learning curve. His judgment should improve as he gets more experience. The kicking situation will also get a boost when Harrison Butker returns from his ankle injury. The Chiefs may have a new kicker next week to replace Ammendola if Butker isn’t yet ready to return. — Adam Teicher
Taking advantage of a muffed punt, the Colts scored an early touchdown and quickly got the ball back. They drove to the Chiefs’ 49-yard line but faced a fourth-and-1 play. Indianapolis quarterback Matt Ryan lined up in the shotgun but had little time to throw.
That’s because Sneed blitzed and crushed Ryan, who fumbled. Here are two looks at Sneed’s sack.
The Colts made the optimal call by keeping the offense on the field (Guide said go by 4.1%), however, La'Jarius Sneed's strip sack led to a failed try.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 25, 2022
Sneed currently leads all DB in blitzes (15), pressures (5), and sacks (2) this season.#KCvsIND | #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/Nb3AJh74wt
The Chiefs need to add a running back when the trade deadline arrives
Overreaction or reality: Overreaction
Kansas City shouldn’t be ready to go in that direction yet, but Andy Reid could not have liked what he saw in Sunday’s loss to the Colts. Jerick McKinnon was yelling at his teammates over their performance, which resulted in the Chiefs averaging just 2.5 yards a carry and totaling 58 rushing yards. Patrick Mahomes was the leading rusher with 26 yards.
McKinnon had only seven carries for 20 yards while rookie Isiah Pacheco had three carries for nine yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had seven carries for no yards. The Chiefs offensive line hasn’t been great creating holes, but the running backs have to get better.
The Chiefs are averaging just 93 rushing yards per game and the rushing totals are going down each week. The running back situation is on alert, but no reason to upgrade yet.
Gus Bradley Is Vindicated as Colts Get Much-Needed Win over Chiefs
Last year, Mahomes carved up Bradley’s units while the coordinator called plays (mostly single-high safety looks) for the Las Vegas Raiders. In two 2021 outings against the Silver and Black, the Chiefs signal-caller completed 55 out of 74 pass attempts for 664 yards and seven touchdowns and took just three sacks in two games.
On Sunday, fantasy managers may have thought Mahomes would rack up a ton of points against another Bradley-led defense, but he finished with an average stat line, finishing 20-of-35 passing for 262 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a 20-17 loss. The Colts defense forced a couple of turnovers, which also included rookie wideout Skyy Moore’s muffed punt.
Every team in the AFC South division has a loss, so the Colts find themselves right back in the mix with a home matchup against the Tennessee Titans next week.
Keep in mind that Shaquille Leonard (back) hasn’t made his season debut yet. Bradley’s defense will look stronger whenever the star linebacker returns to action.
Next Gen stat of the game: Patrick Mahomes was only blitzed by the Colts on two of his 35 dropbacks after being blitzed on 45.3% of his dropbacks in Weeks 1 and 2.
NFL Research: Matt Ryan delivered his 43rd career game-winning drive, which is tied for the sixth-most by any QB in the Super Bowl era and the most by any QB since Ryan was drafted in 2008.
Around the NFL
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters after the game that Tagovailoa suffered a lower-back injury in the first half, which was exacerbated by the hit from Milano.
“He kind of got bent back pretty severe on a quarterback sneak earlier,” McDaniel said. “... When he hit his head on the ground, I assumed it was a head injury, but his legs got wobbly because his lower back was completely loose as he described it.”
Tagovailoa, who wore wrap around his lower back after the game, explained to reporters that the play that preceded the Milano hit began his back issues.
“Kind of got my legs caught under someone, they were trying to push back and it felt like I hyper-extended my back or something,” Tagovailoa said. “It kind of hurt. I got up, and that’s kind of why I stumbled. My back kind of locked up on me. But for the most part, I’m good. Passed whatever concussion protocol they had.”
The answer to those questions ended up being yes, and the whole game. But Herbert’s participation wasn’t enough to bring Los Angeles the win, as Jacksonville dominated, winning 38-10.
The Chargers’ decision to have Herbert play the whole game despite the lopsided score and his recent injury was met with plenty of questions for L.A. head coach Brandon Staley following the game.
“He wanted to be out there with his teammates,” Staley said. “He felt good, and he wanted to finish the game.”
Herbert echoed the sentiment that he didn’t want to be removed from the game during his news conference.
“Felt like we were getting the ball out quick, so I didn’t want to quit on the team,” Herbert said.
It led Rodgers to taking his hat off to the special teams unit, or the “wefense”?
“To look at it as a whole, you have to feel great about the defense and that third category. The ‘wefense’ as we call it,” Rodgers said. “To have Pat [O’Donnell] punt the way that he punted and [Rudy] Ford be around the ball almost every time. Keisean [Nixon] to catch the ball on the one-yard line. Onside kick recovery. Kind of a phantom, looked like running-into-the-kicker penalty, but to have a special teams [unit] that’s at the bare minimum breaking even and today, I feel like we actually won the advantage, that’s nice.”
A failed two-point conversion is what ended up preserving Green Bay’s 14-12 lead. It was a battle of wills in the humid Florida climate.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The turning point
With 10:04 left in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs were leading 17-13. They were facing third-and-13 — and with the way the offense had looked all afternoon, converting the third down wasn’t likely to be as automatic as Chiefs fans have become accustomed to seeing.
As the ball was snapped, pressure got to Mahomes — just as we had seen through the whole game — but he stepped up and fired a pass through a tight window to connect with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who turned it into a 53-yard gain.
It seemed to be just the spark the Chiefs needed to put the game away. After a short run for three yards by Jerick McKinnon, the Chiefs faced second-and-7 with 8:53 left on the clock. It felt like the perfect time for Kansas City’s stars to make a huge play that would negate all the mistakes the team had made.
Mahomes dropped back again, delivering a near-perfect strike into the hands of future Hall of Fame tight end Travis Kelce in the end zone. But this time — unlike in the heroic stories we are used to reading about the Mahomes-Kelce connection — the story ended differently.
Kelce dropped the pass. He looked at his hands in disbelief.
The Kelce catch would have given Kansas City a two-score lead that the team likely would have been able to sustain. But even without the touchdown, the Chiefs were clearly in field goal range. Two plays later, however, backup placekicker Matt Ammendola was wide left on a 34-yard attempt that would have given the Chiefs a seven-point lead.
A tweet to make you think
Mahomes pointing out the hole to CEH ... he ended up bouncing it and getting tackled for a loss pic.twitter.com/RWjs5VlOq3— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) September 26, 2022