Kansas City Chiefs · RB
Prior to Sunday night’s win over the Jets, I rarely saw Patrick Mahomes turn his back to the defense when handing off the ball to the running back (he’s normally in shotgun or running a run-pass option play), but he did it several times. That showed me that for the first time in a long time, the Chiefs were making a conscious effort to get the run game going, and it proved to be the difference in the game. Pacheco set career-highs with 115 rush yards and 43 receiving yards in the win. He racked up 100 rush yards after contact, per Next Gen Stats. We established that the Chiefs’ offense isn’t built like it once was, but a physical rushing attack led by Pacheco can help grind out some clock, which could be huge for this offense late in the season.
12 - Isiah Pacheco
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 2
2023 stats: 4 games | 55 att | 270 rush yds | 4.9 ypc | 2 rush TD | 10 rec | 90 rec yds | 0 rec TDs | 0 fumbles lost
Pacheco was building toward a big performance and began the new month with a career-best effort in prime time. He posted career-highs in rushing yards (115) and receiving yards (43), logging his first game with at least 150 scrimmage yards. The highlight of Sunday’s victory was his 48-yard touchdown run in the first quarter (the Chiefs’ longest touchdown in 2023). He made one defender miss in the backfield and was off to the races. With a less-heralded receiving corps this season, the Chiefs will need their running back to continue having stellar games like this.
1 - Patrick Mahomes
The QB standard-bearer has endured a particularly uneven start to 2023, lackadaisically tossing a pair of picks vs. the Jets in Week 4. But there is never a doubt he’ll come through in the end. Even “off,” he’s tied for third in TD passes (8).
But one Chiefs player is ready to run a quarterback sneak: defensive lineman Chris Jones. He talked about that desire last week on Travis Kelce’s “New Heights” podcast.
“I’ve been waiting on Andy to put me in the backfield for something,” Jones said. “I’ll do a quarterback draw, put me back there for something. Just get me in there, Andy. I hope he’s listening to me. I just need one touch.”
The broadcast featured ads for the forthcoming concert film “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” and on several occasions cut to Swift, who cheered on the Chiefs enthusiastically from her luxury box seats, while commentators made references to her song lyrics. The NFL has played along, particularly on its social media accounts. After the Chiefs’ win over the Jets, the NFL’s Instagram bio read, “chiefs are 2-0 as swifties,” while its bio on X read, “NFL (Taylor’s Version).”
“We frequently change our bios and profile imagery based on what’s happening in and around our games, as well as culturally,” the NFL wrote in a statement on Wednesday. “The Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce news has been a pop cultural moment we’ve leaned into in real time, as it’s an intersection of sport and entertainment, and we’ve seen an incredible amount of positivity around the sport.”
The league went on to state, “The vast majority of our content has remained focused on the game, our players and variety of other initiatives, including our Toy Story Funday Football alt-cast, the international games and more.”
Original prediction: CB Trent McDuffie makes the Pro Bowl.
Why I’m sticking: Among cornerbacks with at least 75 coverage snaps, McDuffie ranks ninth in expected points added (EPA) allowed, and he’s second among corners in Pro Football Focus grading. That’s a solid enough start to keep the Pro Bowl in play, especially playing for a high-profile contender.
Kansas City Chiefs at Minnesota Vikings (+5)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)
The Vikings won last week for the first time and now get a Chiefs team playing on the road in successive weeks. The Chiefs haven’t looked great on offense this season, but the Vikings defense is the perfect tonic. Look for Patrick Mahomes to light up the aggressive Brian Flores defense.
Pick: Chiefs 34, Vikings 23
Around the NFL
Gregory signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Broncos in March 2022. He played in just six games with the Broncos last season due to injury and a one-game suspension for a post-match fight. In four games in 2023, Gregory has generated one sack and nine tackles. Over 10 tilts in Denver, the 30-year-old netted just three sacks and 21 tackles.
Gregory saw his snaps reduced the past two weeks and was removed from the starting lineup in the Broncos Week 4’s win over Chicago.
Adams, who was making his season debut against the New York Giants on Monday, was injured on the ninth play of the game when he took a knee to his helmet while trying to bring down a scrambling Daniel Jones. He stayed down on the field for a moment, then appeared wobbly while trying to stand up. He continued to appear unstable as he walked off the field with the help of a team staffer on each side.
A few minutes later, during a wild scene on the Seahawks’ sideline, Adams emerged from the medical tent and became livid, yelling at one of the NFL’s unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants while being held back by the team’s head athletic trainer and two members of the Seahawks’ security staff.
“By the time they got all the assessments done, he couldn’t play,” Carroll said when asked about Adams’ frustration. “Somebody said something that wasn’t with us. It was somebody else that he might have responded to. I’m not sure about that.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, veteran safety Mike Edwards wanted to explain just how hard it was for Cook to make that play.
“I mean, it might go down like, ‘Oh, he just tackled them’” noted Edwards, “But no! [Hall] has a whole field — and a blocker — in front of him and everything. That’s real tough — especially with a running back like Breece Hall, [who] is a great runner.”
Edwards said that right in the moment, he recognized that Cook had made a game-saving play.
“I heard a lot of people [came] up to him after the game told them how big of a play that was,” he revealed. “But I told him right after the play. I said, ‘Dude, that’s a big play. I mean, it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed [that] you saved the game.’ I told him, ‘Look at the score! Like, the score wouldn’t be what it is right now if it wasn’t for you.’”
A tweet to make you think
My favorite #Chiefs play from Sunday you may have missed on the broadcast— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) October 3, 2023
3rd & 11. L'Jarius Sneed aligns in press on Garrett Wilson, and completely erases him. Doesn't allow him to get out on a route
Makes Mike Edwards' reads simpler, leading him to nearly intercept the pass pic.twitter.com/9ZXKoLG4mV