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Arrowheadlines: Looking back at the Rams-Chiefs MNF Classic

Chiefs headlines for Thursday, November 16

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Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The latest

Five Years Ago, Rams-Chiefs Was Called the Future of Football. Was It? | The Ringer

The One Thing That Wasn’t There

I’d argue there is one key item of offensive evolution that isn’t particularly present in this game: fourth-down aggressiveness. Each team went 1-for-1 in this game on fourth-down tries. The Rams’ attempt came on a fourth-and-1 early in the third quarter with the score tied at 23. Joe Tessitoe was quick to acknowledge, “You gotta go for it,” but there was no mention of data or analytics. It just seems like, in a game with this many points, you gotta go for a fourth-and-1 in fringe field goal range.

The Chiefs’ attempt came in a more desperate spot: 4:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, down by three, fourth-and-2 on their own 43. Again, the broadcast crew was fine with the choice—this was an obvious go—but there was no analytics mention. This time, the conversion comes courtesy of what would later become the Chiefs’ most reliable play: the “Travis Kelce just sits down somewhere between some zone defenders, and Mahomes finds him because they share the same brain” play.

That’s it for fourth-down tries. Reid was, of course, one of the more aggressive fourth-down coaches for quite some time—but I wonder if he would have coached this game differently were it played again in 2023. He passed up on a fourth-and-goal from the 2 to take a 21-yard field goal. For McVay, I have the same question: He punted on fourth-and-less-than-1 from his own 25 while the Chiefs lined up in a defense designed to prevent a fake punt (L.A.’s punter at the time, Johnny Hekker, attempted three passes the season prior).

2023 NFL Week 11 QB Power Rankings: Vikings’ Joshua Dobbs surges, Texans’ C.J. Stroud new No. 1 | CBS Sports

3 - Patrick Mahomes

It’s been more of a mercurial year for Mahomes, who’s on pace to set a career high in picks with eight through nine games, but we take for granted how often he also gets the Chiefs out of jams. Besides his 17 TDs through the air, tied for third-most among QBs, he’s been the most efficient scrambler of any passer with more than 200 rushing yards. (+2)

Where Do Josh Allen and C.J. Stroud Rank Among NFL’s Top QBs Entering Week 11? | Bleacher Report

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: The highest-rated passer in NFL history is the reigning MVP. He hasn’t been himself this year with questionable support, but he still leads the AFC in QBR. He gets the benefit of the doubt for now.

Relentless George Karlaftis, Mike Danna help keep Chiefs’ pass rush humming | The Athletic

Neither player has a signature pass-rushing move, one that opposing offensive linemen have to spend a lot of time preparing to disarm before a game. Instead, Danna and Karlaftis will use a variety of moves — a long arm, a traditional bull rush, speed and a dip from the edge, a spin move or a swim move — to get to the opposing quarterback. When the pivotal moment comes, Danna and Karlaftis are both technique-sound to ensure they collect a well-earned sack.

Entering Monday’s prime-time matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Chiefs’ sacks leader is not Chris Jones, the star pass rusher. It’s Karlaftis, a second-year player, who has six sacks, matching the entire production from his rookie season.

Jones is tied for second on the team with Danna, a four-year veteran who has recorded a career-high 5 1/2 sacks.

Former Fresno State wide receiver Devon Wylie dies at 35 | Yahoo Sports

The cause of death has not been released publicly.

The Sacramento native was a key special teams contributor for the Bulldogs. He had 29 punt returns for 446 yards and two touchdowns as a senior. Fresno State went to four bowl games in Wylie’s five seasons with the team and he was a third-team All-American punt returner in 2011.

Wylie played in six NFL games as a rookie with the Chiefs in 2012 and had six catches for 53 yards and also had 14 kickoff and punt returns. He then joined the Tennessee Titans in 2013 and played in two games with the Titans.

Lifelong Fan and Community Leader Kelly Kennedy Named the Chiefs “Fan of the Year” | The Mothership

Kelly Kennedy – a lifelong fan of the Kansas City Chiefs – was having a truly memorable day when he and his family arrived at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium back in early September.

Not only did Kennedy have tickets to the Chiefs’ season-opener against the Detroit Lions, but he was also set to be recognized as the Lamar Hunt Legacy Seat honoree during the game. This was more than enough for Kennedy, an elementary school teacher from suburban Wichita who has been a Season Ticket Member for 30 years, but despite his contentment, this particular day was about to get even better.

In fact, as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the stage at the “World’s Largest Tailgate” outside of the stadium, Kennedy’s excitement quickly turned to disbelief.

“It was kind of funny, because Goodell was up there and he announced that I was the Legacy Seat nominee, which I already knew, but then he said that I had also been selected as the Chiefs’ Fan of the Year,” Kennedy said. “I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ My wife, who was in the audience, apparently looked at my nephew and said, ‘No, he’s confused.’”

Kelce is 2023’s top-trending dog name in America, per report | ESPN

The Kelce brothers became a big source of inspiration this year for new dog owners.

According to a recent report by pet sitting website Rover, Kelce is the top trending dog name in America, enjoying an increase of 135%. Rover said the Kelce brothers are likely an inspiration for the uptick.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce won his second Super Bowl in February. Kelce’s social media following increased drastically after Taylor Swift attended the Chiefs Week 3 game against the Chicago Bears.

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce played against his brother in the Super Bowl and released a documentary about his career in September. He was also a finalist for People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” list, while the younger Kelce topped People’s “Sexiest Men in Sports” list.

Around the NFL

Bears planning on Justin Fields starting at QB against Lions | ESPN

Fields dislocated his right thumb on Oct. 15 and was sidelined for Chicago’s last four games. The quarterback began throwing when he returned to practice in limited capacity on Nov. 3 and is expected to be a full participant during Wednesday’s session.

“We’re excited [to see] where he goes and again, this will be a big evaluation today ... about going full speed, doing full speed reps and all that,” Eberflus said.

Field’s return coincides with the Bears nearing health along the offensive line. Nate Davis, who sustained a high ankle sprain against the Vikings, is expected to start at right guard against the Lions with Teven Jenkins moving back to left guard. This is the heathiest the Bears have been up front since before the calf injury that Jenkins sustained in mid-August, which forced Chicago to shuffle its starting offensive line combination.

Browns QB Deshaun Watson to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery |

Watson suffered the injury in the first half of Sunday’s victory over the Baltimore Ravens, per the Browns. The 28-year-old suffered a displaced fracture in his right glenoid in his right shoulder. Surgery is expected to allow for a full recovery. Watson also played through a high ankle sprain in the comeback win, according to the team.

“I’m still in disbelief,” Watson told reporters on Wednesday. “I’m still trying to process all the information that I’ve been getting since last night. It’s tough. I felt like we were turning a corner to really make a run and I believe that we still will with the guys in this locker room. I just wanted to be physically a part of it, on the field with those guys.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs Injuries: Examining Kadarius Toney’s 2023 usage

What could Toney’s role be for the rest of the season?

To this point, Toney’s young NFL career has been riddled with injuries. While he hasn’t missed a game this year, he was out for 15 games during his first two seasons. When healthy — and with the ball in his hands — he shows immense potential; he is still one of the most electrifying players on the team’s roster. So it is understandable that the Chiefs are trying to manage his usage.

Before the season, I argued that with Toney’s training camp injury (and his history), he should be given a longer recovery time — that he should not be rushed back into the lineup for Week 1. While he was back for the season opener, he dropped two passes. This might have been an indication he had not had enough practice reps to be ready for his return. So his reduced role through the midpoint of the season could be intended to allow Toney to be fully acclimated into the offense.

It does not appear that Toney has aggravated his partially torn meniscus. Given the nature of the injury (and its surgery), he should be fully recovered from it. His recovery from this injury is the main reason Reid cited for Toney’s limited role — but it is concerning that he has been on and off the injury report for multiple issues.

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