On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs held on for a 27-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The game wasn’t always pretty for the Chiefs, but a win is a win. The result wasn’t the only topic of conversation following the game. The call of the game was the pass interference penalty called on Kansas City, which was subsequently waived off and picked up.
This reversal isn’t the first time the Chiefs find themselves at the center of an officiating controversy. The Chiefs benefited from a pass interference call in the Super Bowl in February, the Chiefs benefited from a pass interference penalty against the New York Jets last week, and now they benefited from a pass interference reversal this week.
Not only did the officials pick up the flag, but they allowed a player to remove his helmet following the play. Several on social media have pointed to there being an agenda.
Surrounded by Kansas City Chiefs teammates, Travis Kelce stood in the corner of the visitors locker room inside US Bank Stadium on Sunday, his smile growing wider and wider the more he heard them talk about him.
Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling thought Kelce had torn his Achilles tendon, an injury that would’ve ended the season for the Chiefs’ No.1 pass catcher. Receiver Skyy Moore made a joke, one he knew would make Kelce laugh: He suggested that the NFL’s best tight end somehow found a new way to clumsily injure himself. When it looked like the Chiefs would have to play the second half against the Minnesota Vikings without Kelce, the receivers were surprised to learn that the coaches planned to use receiver Justin Watson at tight end on some plays.
Kelce kept smiling. He could relish his teammates’ enthusiasm in the immediate aftermath of the Chiefs’ 27-20 victory because he pulled off one of the most heroic performances of his 11-year career.
With each snap Kelce played in the second half, he felt pain in his lower right leg because of a low-ankle sprain, a non-contact injury that occurred during the Chiefs’ two-minute drill before halftime. Despite the injury, Kelce’s performance didn’t suffer. He summoned the strength and determination to produce vintage reception after vintage reception, to help the Chiefs win their fourth consecutive game.
Kelce finished with 10 receptions on 11 targets for a team-leading 67 yards, including the winning touchdown. On their way to the showers, many of the Chiefs gave Kelce a high-five or a quick handshake.
“That was a team win,” Kelce said repeatedly to his teammates.
ChiefsIt wasn’t pretty, that’s for sure. Even before Travis Kelce briefly left with an injury, the Chiefs offense remained hit or miss, with Patrick Mahomes struggling to connect downfield. The secondary also worked overtime to contain Jordan Addison in key spots, barely avoiding some late-game penalties that would’ve fueled a Vikings comeback. And yet they got the job done on third downs and in the red zone, with Kelce gutting through his injury and the D-line stepping up down the stretch. They haven’t yet hit their stride, but they’ll take it.
Kansas City Chiefs receivers
This is what’s known as a Champagne problem, but through the first month, the Chiefs mostly young corps of receivers were often invisible and when they weren’t, they were dropping the ball. It was a problem in the opening loss to the Lions and in the near-miss victory over the Jets last week. Teams tend to find their level eventually in the NFL, and the one that won a Super Bowl right after shipping Tyreek Hill out of town was always likely to figure it out. On Sunday, Patrick Mahomes completed 16 of his 31 passes to six different receivers, including one touchdown to rookie Rashee Rice. (Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with 10 receptions despite suffering an ankle injury that briefly sidelined him.) Mahomes said after the game he thought the offense was better this week. Good teams win while they work out their issues and that is what the Chiefs are doing while they smooth out the wrinkles of their pass catchers. They beat the Minnesota Vikings, 27-20, on Sunday, and the Denver Broncos defense on a short week should provide another chance to get the youngsters and Kadarius Toney going again.
Thanks to his stellar play, love life, and commercials, Travis Kelce is a ubiquitous part of American pop culture at the moment. However, the perennial All-NFL tight end has been a legend in our books for years thanks to his unrelenting fire footwear each week.
Today’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings just kicked off, but Kelce has already impressed us with another incredible selection of sneakers. Thanks to the Chiefs’ social media team, we got a great look at “El Travador” entering U.S. Bank Stadium earlier this morning.
Based on the Chiefs’ social media posts, it appears that Kelce ran it back with the same outfit for two straight days. But we can’t get mad at it. If the play call works, why not call it once again? Kelce knows what he is doing when it comes to fashion and football.
Has Travis Kelce’s value to the Chiefs ever been more evident? No. Kelce has had some big games and huge moments. But he practically willed the Chiefs to a touchdown in the third quarter after returning to the game following an ankle injury. His leaping 14-yard grab on third down allowed the Chiefs to continue the drive early. He caught two more passes on the drive, including the touchdown that put them ahead 27-13.
Stock up after the win: WR Rashee Rice. Rice caught two passes on the opening drive of the third quarter, one for a touchdown, while Kelce was out of the game with the injury. Rice, a rookie, has dropped too many passes this season, but if he can lose that habit, he’ll become a bigger factor in the Chiefs’ passing game.
Stock down after the win: Defensive and special teams. The Chiefs committed four penalties for 36 yards on one Vikings drive in the first half, giving their opponents a field goal. The Vikings also got a 15-yard boost on another first-half drive when rookie Nic Jones interfered with a punt catch. That led to Minnesota’s only TD of the half.
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Lions look legitimate
Detroit closed as a 10-point home favorite against a winless Panthers team that is struggling across the board right now, so I don’t want to put too much into the Lions victory on Sunday. Declaring them “legitimate” based on beating Carolina would be silly. How they beat Carolina is much more interesting to me.
The box score really doesn’t do this beatdown justice: 14 of the Panthers 24 points came in the fourth quarter amid mostly garbage time after the Lions extended their lead to 35-10 (they would eventually win 42-24).
This will be Belichick’s final season as the Patriots’ coach
I mean, it’s so bad right now. Pick a stat from this game, and it’s more horrendous than the one before it. The combined minus-69 point differential over the past two games is the worst over any two-game stretch in franchise history. It’s the first time since 1970 that the Pats have lost two straight games by 30 or more points. It’s the first time since 1992 that they’ve scored a total of three or fewer points in a two-game stretch. Jones had the fourth interception returned for a touchdown of his career at Gillette Stadium; Tom Brady had a total of four of those in his lengthy career at Gillette.
There’s nothing to like about the way the Patriots look right now, and mumbling into the microphones in the wake of this fiasco, Belichick didn’t sound like he could come up with anything either. He’s 29 wins short of Don Shula’s record for regular-season wins by a coach, and the way it’s going right now, that looks like a five-year project.
Verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
If you ignore the penalties, Kansas City’s right tackle has been really good.
That may seem like a weird thing to say — but I think it’s fair to say there’s been a target on Taylor’s back ever since Week 1. While there are screenshots of tackles from all across the league lining up incorrectly in play after play, these players aren’t penalized.
When it comes to Taylor, it seems like the referees rarely miss an opportunity to call a penalty. I have to imagine that as the season goes on, this will calm down.
A tweet to make you think
I’ve long said that @tkelce is one of the 1 or 2 toughest players I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking care of…— Aaron Borgmann (@RehabAllStar) October 8, 2023
I continue to get proof of that.