We’re just outside Waldstadion - Deutsche Bank Park - this morning. Feel free to call it Eurohead. pic.twitter.com/DZSKdRbaY4— Mick Shaffer (@mickshaffer) November 2, 2023
One of Kelce’s touchdowns this season happened because he improvised his route.
Near the goal line, the Chiefs started their third-and-goal play against the Chicago Bears with Kelce in a bunch formation next to tight end Noah Gray and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. When Kelce heard the play call from Mahomes, his assignment was to run a corner route to the back pylon. But just before the ball was snapped, Kelce anticipated and visualized himself ending the play in the back of the end zone near the goal post. The Bears were in zone coverage, matching Kelce with safety Elijah Hicks. Kelce started his route running directly at Hicks, making the defender commit to covering the perimeter of the end zone. But after planting his right foot, Kelce ran a corner-post route, double move to create plenty of space for him to get open.
“In practice, where we were thinking about making a call for that, when we get that look for him to (change his route),” Mahomes said of Kelce. “I remember I was telling the coaches, ‘I mean, I don’t know why we need a call; he’s going to do it anyways.’ So of course he does it and it’s a touchdown.”
Those brief interactions served as a primer for what took place the next day, as more than 100 passionate German fans – each of whom was clad in red from head to toe – joined us for a rooftop party in downtown Frankfurt. The event was coined a “Schedule Release Party,” but think of it as a slice of the Chiefs Kingdom experience dropped right into the middle of Germany.
It included numerous activations, from four replica lockers to some assorted games, but the main event was our stage show with Dante Hall, our Cheerleaders and two representatives from the Chiefs’ business staff. I had the honor of hosting the event, and to be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was my first venture representing the Chiefs abroad, but in short, I was completely and utterly blown away. Not only were the fans in attendance engaged and fired up throughout the presentation, but it was abundantly clear that our efforts made them feel seen and special.
Hill spent the first six years of his career with the Chiefs before he was traded to the Dolphins last offseason and faces his former team for the first time Sunday. The game will be played in Frankfurt, Germany, instead of the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium, but Hill said the location of the game isn’t as important as the result.
“It doesn’t really matter where we play at,” he smiled. “I mean, obviously it would’ve been great to play in K.C., but it really doesn’t matter where we play at, you feel me? They going to get this work wherever though.”
11. L’Jarius Sneed, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
If you haven’t been paying attention, the Kansas City Chiefs are a defensive team now. Yes, Patrick Mahomes is still playing, but if Kansas City makes a deep postseason run, it’ll be thanks to a defense that ranks fourth overall and second in points allowed.
Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed has played a huge role in Kansas City’s defensive transformation. A 2020 fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech, Sneed has developed into one of the better cover corners in the NFL.
Last season, Sneed recorded a career-high 11 passes defended, three interceptions and 108 tackles en route to his first Super Bowl victory. So far this season, he’s allowing an opposing passer rating of just 57.9 in coverage.
The Los Angeles Chargers should be eager to get under the salary cap and make a run at Sneed. It never hurts to weaken a division rival, and L.A.’s pass defense has been virtually nonexistent for much of the season.
Chicago should also covet the Sneed, who will turn 27 in January. The Bears will still be rebuilding in 2024—with or without Justin Fields—they need young defensive centerpieces, and they lead the NFL in projected cap space.
Potential Suitors: Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Chargers
Around the NFL
From warming up to the musical stylings of seminal rap group N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton” to All-Pro receiver Davante Adams taking running back Ameer Abdullah to school in the locker room’s new mini-basketball hoop to offensive linemen wrestling each other WWE style to even, yes, a new starting quarterback in rookie Aidan O’Connell, it was a new day.
All less than 48 hours after the Raiders fired Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler as coach and general manager, respectively, and replaced them with Pierce and Champ Kelly.
“Don’t get it confused,” Adams cautioned. “It’s not a celebration that we have a new coach and there’s been changes made. We, obviously, think it was time, one way or the other, it was time for some sort of change. Just to bring a little juice in and revitalize the team a little bit. So, I think that’s kind of the mindset we’re having, just trying to have fun and enjoy our time in this building because I think as we speak to each other, it’s been too much of, this has just been feeling like work too much and not having enough fun.”
Adams went on to thank McDaniels and Ziegler for trading for him.
“As I’ve said countless times, I want to be a Raider,” Adams added. “So I want to try to make this work and do everything I can to keep it going now.”
How the Steelers won
Once again, Pittsburgh rallied from behind to win a game it trailed in for large stretches. The Steelers’ five comeback wins this season are the most in franchise history through eight games since the 1997 team that got within a game of the Super Bowl.
Pickett engineered his seventh game-winning drive in either the fourth quarter or overtime since the start of the 2022 season, the second-most such drives in the NFL over that span (only Kirk Cousins has more). Pickett did so by spreading the ball around while also leaning on his rapport with Johnson, who led both teams with 90 yards on seven catches.
While the Steelers’ rallying wasn’t new, Pittsburgh received a resurgence from their running game. With rookie Broderick Jones making his first start at right tackle, Harris and fellow running back Jaylen Warren ran for a combined 156 yards on 27 carries.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
On Thursday, Hardman’s coordinator, Dave Toub, essentially said, not so fast! He thought Hardman’s decision-making process on the play was correct.
“I’ve talked about this a lot of times,” started Toub. “With punters today, they can put the ball on the 1. They hit it at the 5, and they can put it on the 1. In his case, if you looked at the tape and saw that situation, he did the right thing trying to field the football. It was wide open. There was nobody there. He’s just got to do the routine things routinely, which is catch the football.
“Keep his elbows tight, and take care of fundamentals — and we would have been fine. We get the ball possessed, and he probably could have had 10-15 yards on the play. That’s what you want to do there.”
To Toub, it is more than just the yard line that factors into whether or not Hardman should have caught the ball. In addition to that, at the time, the Chiefs were only seven plays removed from a 50-yard Hardman return setting up the Chiefs’ put-away touchdown.