If there are no moral victories, then there aren’t moral losses, either.
It just doesn’t matter that we feel the final three quarters of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 23-20 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday night were... well, ugly. At the end of the game, the Chiefs got to 3-1 on the season.
Yes... after Kansas City turned in a dominant first quarter, New York was better on both offense and defense. But fortunately, Kansas City has the league’s MVP. He was determined to grind out a victory on the ground if he wasn’t able to do it through the air.
Here are a few Chiefs who stood out in a game that was far too close for comfort — but was nonetheless a win.
Running back Isiah Pacheco: The game’s first touchdown came from the local New Jersey kid. He was electric throughout the game, collecting 158 total yards and that score. The Kansas City offense sputtered after a hot start, so it needed someone to provide a spark. So it turned to No. 10. Power, speed, contact balance and receiving ability. Pacheco has it all — — and on Sunday night, it was all on display. The Chiefs wouldn’t have won without him.
Mike Edwards: The Chiefs’ third safety had a first-quarter sack, a momentum-shifting tackle in the third quarter and near-interception after that. He was brought in to help force turnovers; he’s known for being able to find the football. Two weeks in a row, Edwards has been getting it done.
Kadarius Toney: In the second quarter, he finally got involved with an important diving catch where he took a big hit and came down with the ball. He immediately got the ball back on a pop pass and broke some tackles to get a bit downfield. Toughness may not be synonmous with his name — but maybe it should be. While these two plays would be his only impacts on the game, they were still encouraging to see after his season got off to such a slow start.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes — when running: We’ve said before that running Mahomes is the best Mahomes. Against the Jets, he was incredible on the ground. Finishing as the team’s second-leading rusher with 51 yards on seven carries, Mahomes showed how he has a real knack for sensing just the right moment to take off and move the chains. In large part, Kansas City’s seven-minute, game-sealing drive happened because Mahomes simply refuses to lose. The MVP ran for 14 yards (called back for penalty), 25 yards and 9 yards — before sliding down short of the goal line like Jerick McKinnon in the Super Bowl.
Wide receiver Skyy Moore: On the first drive, the Chiefs stalled when Mahomes tried to hit Moore — but due to lack of separation (or maybe his inability to lay out and make a play), the pass fell incomplete; Harrison Butker came on for a field goal. In fact, Moore failed to convert either of his two targets — although he did rush twice for 19 yards. While he was consistently featured as a decoy on jet sweep motions, we just have higher expectations for the second-year receiver.
Right tackle Jawaan Taylor: New York’s first points came on yet another penalty on the team’s right tackle. This time, it was a facemask call as he was protecting Mahomes in the end zone. Later, a holding flag would erase Mahomes’ run for a first down — which forced him to do it again on third-and-22. At this point, the penalties have become ridiculous — and they are completely overshadowing what is otherwise a solid start for his season.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire: The Chiefs ran for over 200 yards on Sunday night — but it wasn’t like Week 3, when each of the running backs played a big role. Edwards-Helaire managed just 13 yards on four touches. There will be other days when he is one of the reasons the team wins — but against the Jets, he wasn’t really able to get going.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes — when throwing the ball: It’s rare to see Mahomes on the losers’ list — and even more unusual to put him on both lists. But it’s just startling to see the greatest quarterback on Earth throw two interceptions and have a third one dropped. (he also fumbled once — but to his credit, he recovered it and made a first down). He did come back and put the team on his back to win this game — but for Mahomes, it was an uncharacteristically ugly passing performance.
Note: Applying the labels “winners” and “losers” is not intended to be a judgment on the talent or character of any of these players. It’s just a simple way to grade their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.