Where is Jamaal Charles? https://t.co/UoAjefYAjn— Arrowheads Abroad #FrAAnkenfurters (@KCChiefs_UK) November 28, 2023
9) Kansas City’s offense is BACK!
This is fiction! Don’t let the Chiefs’ 31-point outburst against the Raiders on Sunday fool you into thinking Kansas City has become a scoring juggernaut again. Sure, Rashee Rice (who logged eight catches for 107 yards, both career highs) and Justin Watson (who caught a TD pass in a second consecutive game for the first time in his career) helped Patrick Mahomes out — this time. Just one week earlier, though, multiple drops by Chiefs pass catchers doomed the team against the Eagles.
Mahomes is still a superstar QB. Andy Reid is still an amazing coach. The defense is among the NFL’s best. But outside of Travis Kelce, the Chiefs’ pass-catching corps is completely unreliable — Kansas City’s receivers are tied for second in the NFL with 13 drops, according to Pro Football Focus. And that makes the team potentially vulnerable to being knocked off a few times down the stretch, which could, in turn, prevent Kansas City from hosting the AFC Championship Game for a sixth consecutive postseason.
First team: Nick Bolton, Kansas City Chiefs
Current age: 23
Bolton is currently on IR with a wrist injury, and he has played just four games this season. But the third-year pro is one of the rising stack linebackers in the league, coming off a 180-tackle campaign in 2022. He is a downhill thumper in the run game and is decisive to the ball. Plus, Bolton can make plays in coverage as a zone defender with three career interceptions.
Kansas City Chiefs
Turnovers and dropped passes were nowhere to be found: The Chiefs got off to a slow start against the Raiders, but were able to come back because of a very un-Chiefs like performance. Kansas City has 19 giveaways on the season and had 11 in its last five games. The Chiefs didn’t have any on Sunday, along with just one dropped pass (they lead the NFL in dropped passes). There’s a reason why Kansas City scored 31 points and touchdowns on four of five possessions. The Chiefs didn’t beat themselves Sunday.
Melissa Etheridge is a die hard Chiefs fan. Listen to her new song! pic.twitter.com/7e9VAxYUHt— Brad Henson Productions (@BradHensonPro) November 28, 2023
PICK NO. 31: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: EDGE FELIX ANUDIKE-UZOMAH
Overall Rookie Grade: 55.5 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Kolton Miller
Week 12 Snaps: 3
Week 12 Grade: 39.6
Anudike-Uzomah played just three snaps in Las Vegas in Week 12. On his most notable repetition, he lost his gap against an outside-zone play. Josh Jacobs shot through that gap for a 68-yard touchdown, and Anudike-Uzomah’s day was effectively over.
Around the NFL
The Colts are 6-5 after beating the Buccaneers, but the team will be without star running back Jonathan Taylor for some time after he sustained a thumb injury during Sunday’s win. The injury will sideline him for at least the next 2-3 weeks, Colts owner Jim Irsay told The Athletic, as Taylor needs surgery to correct it. He will undergo surgery on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Taylor’s absence will be a significant blow to the Colts, who are currently on the good side of the AFC’s playoff bubble. The former All-Pro scored twice in Sunday’s win over Tampa and has scored three touchdowns over the past two games.
The league’s former rushing champion missed the season’s first four games as he continued to recover from an ankle injury sustained last season. Taylor’s return coincided with him receiving a three-year, $42 million extension that made him one of the league’s highest-paid running backs.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters on Tuesday that they would activate wide receiver Justin Jefferson (hamstring) later that day. Tuesday marked the final day Jefferson could be activated off injured reserve, so the news doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
Jefferson, whose practice window was opened Nov. 8, has missed the last seven games due to a right hamstring injury sustained in a Week 5 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
He’ll return to a Vikings contingent that sits at 6-6 and in the thick of the playoff race, but losers of two straight games following after they rebounded from a 1-4 start punctuated by the loss of Jefferson.
While Tepper deflected from answering most questions, he didn’t hesitate to support the decision to select Young, who is 1-9 as the starter and ranked next to last among qualified quarterbacks in Total QBR at 32.3.
“Now, look, everything that’s right here, everything that’s wrong here, ultimately it’s my fault,’’ he said. “I’ve got the final say. But as far as those decisions, whether it’s Frank Reich or it’s Bryce Young, those decisions were made.
“And in the case of Bryce it was almost ... I believe it was a unanimous decision from the coaches and the scouts. And very strong opinions at the time.’’
Tepper added that he was “totally confident in agreeing with that pick.”
Eric Bieniemy, Washington Commanders offensive coordinator
Bieniemy first interviewed with the Panthers in 2020 for the job that eventually went to Rhule. After his last two hires, maybe Tepper finds his way back to considering Bieniemy, who wasn’t among the coaches with whom Carolina spoke last year. In his first year with the Commanders after his run with the Kansas City Chiefs, the 54-year-old has reinforced that he can mold a young quarterback; Sam Howell is the NFL’s leader in passing yards, even amid trying circumstances and poor offensive line play.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Screen run options
One area the Chiefs have got Rice the ball in all year is with run-pass options (RPOs), but particularly SROs (screen-run options). Getting Rice going downhill with blocking has proven to be a fruitful part of the offense, but they hadn’t done too much attachment with a run until this point.
If the defense gives the right look and numbers to Mahomes, it’s an easy bubble or smoke screen to Rice. Rice is much more explosive and dynamic after the catch than any other Chiefs wide receiver, so getting him the ball moving forward with blocking is a way for the Chiefs to generate explosive plays on early downs.
Getting Rice in the move going downhill was something that helped the offense yesterday. The Chiefs getting him the ball on these SROs (screen-run options) has been valuable since he's much better at just flying upfield and generating YAC than a Skyy/Toney type. pic.twitter.com/KmPUNWXTip— Nate Christensen (@natech32) November 27, 2023
A tweet to make you think
Don’t mess with Jason’s pregame ritual pic.twitter.com/UDDaU2va02— New Heights (@newheightshow) November 27, 2023