The Chiefs need to get DeAndre Hopkins from the Titans
Well, or some veteran wide receiver, right? The inexperience in that WR group continues to plague the Chiefs on a somewhat weekly basis, whether it’s drops or little mistakes that lead to stalled drives.
Kansas City lost to the Broncos on Sunday for the first time since 2015 — two years before the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes. It was a brutally lackluster performance. Mahomes had two interceptions and no touchdown throws. Three Harrison Butker field goals were the only points Kansas City scored. The Chiefs turned it over five times and gained just 275 yards. And while 10 different players caught Mahomes’ passes Sunday, none of them had 60 receiving yards.
Lousy day at the office for the defending champs.
The Chiefs could afford Hopkins. His remaining salary for this season is only about $600,000, and his $13 million in 2024 salary and bonus money is not guaranteed. But after winning Sunday, the Titans are a game out of a playoff spot and might not be ready to deal veterans. Plus, the Chiefs have a lot of young talent at wide receiver, and they showed in 2022 they have the ability to develop young talent as the season goes along.
Overreacting to Sunday, which was their second loss of the season, would be a mistake. Mahomes had flu-like symptoms and was getting IVs all day. The Broncos were basically playing their Super Bowl and had just lost to the Chiefs two weeks earlier. Kansas City’s good for one or two of these a season — games where the Chiefs just inexplicably beat themselves. They aren’t going to turn it over five times every game, and trading for a veteran isn’t the kind of move that would be certain to fix that anyway. If I’m 90% sure the 49ers are going to be fine, I’m 110% sure the Chiefs will be.
Brush this one off, make sure Mahomes pushes fluids and regroup for next week’s game against the Dolphins in Germany.
The Broncos have finally taken down Patrick Mahomes.
Actually, the Chiefs did a good enough job of that on their own.
For just the second time in the Mahomes era, they turned the ball over five times — five! — in a 24-9 loss in Denver.
And that was only half the story. The offense stunk. The receivers were worse. The game probably turned most on a special teams gaffe.
What’s startling is that the Broncos, owners of a 3-5 record, didn’t even play all that well and still broke their 16-game losing streak against the Chiefs.
Where to start? Here are five observations from immediately after the game:
1. THE RED ZONE. AGAIN.
A familiar topic.
Especially against this opponent.
Remember? Of course you do. The Chiefs made five trips to the red zone 18 days ago against the Broncos and got all of one touchdown from it.
Heck, they would’ve killed for that kind of success rate Sunday. Because, somehow, the encore was even worse. The Chiefs advanced inside the 20-yard line three times Sunday, all in the first half, and they had six points to show for it.
It’s a maddening way to see a game unfold — like a baseball team that gets out to lead after lead, only to have the back end of the bullpen blow it.
You know what’s worse? Not reaching the red zone at all, which is how the second half developed for KC.
Still, while we tend to look at the end of games for the decisive moments, the Chiefs elected for a field goal at the 4-yard line, then later kicked another field goal before Mahomes fumbled the third chance. That played as much of a factor as anything.
The Chiefs were upset by the Broncos on Sunday, prompting Shannon Sharpe to offer some criticism of star tight end Travis Kelce.
On his podcast, The Nightcap, with former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson, Sharpe said that Kelce’s appearance at Game 1 of the World Series in Arlington, Texas on Friday was an “awful look.”
“We know the only receiver [Patrick Mahomes] can consistently count on is Travis Kelce, and he didn’t have his best day. And I’m kind of disappointed because, Friday night he was at the Rangers game,” said Sharpe.
When Johnson asked what the issue was, Sharpe shouted back, “It’s the middle of the season!”
Unc and Ocho discuss Travis Kelce's trip to the World Series@ochocinco: "What's wrong with that? You're not gonna tell me you can't enjoy yourself on a Friday night"@ShannonSharpe: "It was in Texas. He lives in KANSAS CITY"— Nightcap (@NightcapShow_) October 30, 2023
Tap in to a new episode of Nightcap:… pic.twitter.com/VL8jAaNPSR
Kelce had six catches for 58 yards during the loss to Denver. It was their first time in their last 17 meetings that the Chiefs lost to the Broncos, and it was the first time since 2021 the team didn’t score a touchdown.
Kelce was featured on the big screen at Globe Life Field during Friday night’s win against the Diamondbacks, two days before the game in Kansas City, resulting in the criticism from Sharpe.
“It was in Texas. He lives in Kansas City,” Sharpe told Johnson. “It’s an awful look. It’s a terrible look.”
Loser | Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs fell to 6-2 by losing to the Denver Broncos in Week 8. It wasn’t any ordinary loss — Sunday marked the first time the Broncos had ever beaten Mahomes. It was also the first time Mahomes hadn’t thrown a touchdown since Week 13 of the 2021 season.
Mahomes was dealing with the flu on Sunday, but he also suffered “multiple large gashes” on his left, non-throwing hand. Still, we’ve come to expect nothing but the best from Mahomes, leaving Week 8 as a likely aberration.
It wasn’t enough for the Denver Broncos to upset and thoroughly beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon. After defeating the AFC West leaders 24-9, the Broncos celebrated the win by playing “Shake It Off” — the hit performed by a certain pop star linked to Kansas City’s All-Pro tight end.
The NFL has had its fun with the Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce romance, but these are the beats of dating a mega-celebrity and losing, however. Those who high-brow trolling will applaud Denver for this one. Way to read the room and take advantage of the moment.
Broncos celebrate win vs Chiefs with Taylor Swift music pic.twitter.com/3TFdN8InJC— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 29, 2023
To be fair, it’s tough to defeat a team 17 times in a row.
The Chiefs have dominated their all-time series with the Broncos and took a 16-game winning streak in the series into Sunday’s game against the Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver.
But everything that could go wrong did for the Chiefs in a 24-9 loss to Denver.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was battling the flu and didn’t look like his usual self. The Chiefs turned the ball over five times and continued to have troubles in the red zone.
It was an all-around terrible afternoon in the Mile High City. Chiefs fans shared their thoughts on the game on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and Reddit. Here is what they were saying.
A fan on Facebook wrote: “This one was hard to watch.” Another shared this sentiment: “The Chiefs are in major trouble until they go out and get a halfway decent receiving core.”
The streak is snapped, and tougher times are ahead
Each time the Chiefs and Broncos have played in recent years, much has been made about Kansas City’s streak of success. With each passing win, that discussion grew louder and louder. A 16-game stretch of success over any opponent is extremely impressive but as the old adage goes, all good things must come to an end. Denver rose up and overcame the challenge of Kansas City for the first time since September of 2015. To add insult to injury, some more serious challenges are coming up.
From here, the Chiefs go on to Germany for a Week 9 matchup against the (also) 6-2 Miami Dolphins. That contest can and likely will have some sort of playoff seeding implications and also serve as a barometer for Andy Reid’s squad as it heads into the bye week. Following the bye, the Philadelphia Eagles will be waiting for a rematch of Super Bowl LVII. The pressure is on for the Chiefs to correct their issues soon, as superior opponents won’t be nearly as kind.
Around the NFL
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is feared to have suffered a torn Achilles during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Green Bay Packers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters that Cousins will undergo an MRI exam to determine the extent of the injury, but a torn Achilles would end one of Cousins’ best seasons as a pro after just eight games.
“Thinking about our quarterback; went out today again as he has for most of the 2023 season and played the quarterback position as well as anybody in our league and just continued to build and build and build,” O’Connell told reporters at the beginning of his postgame news conference. “We are fearing an Achilles injury. The severity of that I do not know at this point, but I know that is what our fear is in the moment, and we will confirm that as soon as possible. Thinking of Kirk. Our locker room, every single player in our locker room, thinking about our leader, our guy right now. Just so proud of him. Proud of the way he’s played all season long. Whatever is the case, if we don’t have him for one snap or for the duration of our season, that will not change the fact of what I believe … the level that he played to this year and ultimately what he’s meant to me and our organization.”
The Tennessee Titans got a glimpse of their future Sunday, with rookie quarterback Will Levis leading the team to victory in his first career start.
“He was ballin’, huh,” Titans running back Derrick Henry said. “He was playing out of his mind. It was exciting how it came together with him handling the offense and us being able to finish drives and makes some plays.”
Levis completed 19 of his 29 pass attempts for 238 yards and four touchdowns — three to DeAndre Hopkins — to lead the Titans to a much-needed 28-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
The rookie quarterback joined Minnesota Vikings Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (1961 vs. the Chicago Bears) and former Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (2015 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers) as the third NFL player with four passing touchdowns in his first career game.
Titans rookie Will Levis became just the fifth quarterback in NFL history to throw his first three touchdown passes to the same receiver in the same game.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
I think a big Reason #Chiefs didn’t bring back Frank Clark is the play of Week 7 #UnderTheRadar player Mike Danna . His play against the run and the pass has really grown this season. pic.twitter.com/UGtqtTZkzo— Maurice Elston (@ReceNickelz) October 25, 2023
Earlier this year, our Jared Sapp named Danna as one of three underappreciated Chiefs for this season. But after his recent performances, he is beginning to earn the recognition he deserves.
During his first three seasons, Danna primarily served as a rotational player on the defensive line, accumulating a total of 10.5 sacks over 33 games. But after Frank Clark and Khalen Saunders left in free agency during the offseason, Danna has been thrust into a more significant role — and it’s paying dividends. He’s already registered 4.5 sacks — a pace that could lead to double-digit sacks by the season’s end. His 16 pressures rank third on the team — and he’s deflected two passes.
Danna is evolving into a complete defensive lineman. Against the Chargers, he recorded five tackles, three pressures and a sack — and Pro Football Focus gave him an excellent 87.5 grade for his performance against the run.
A tweet to make you think
I lost us that game! Gotta be better! That’s on me.— Mecole Hardman Jr. (@MecoleHardman4) October 30, 2023