“Just be you,’’ Mahomes said he told Toney, whose offside penalty late against the Bills cost the Chiefs a go-ahead 49-yard touchdown. “That’s all you can do in life or in this league. You’re going to make mistakes. Stuff’s going to happen in your life. How do you accept that adversity and get past it and do it the right way?
“You make one mistake, that’s not going to define you. It’s going to be how you respond to that mistake.’’
Coach Andy Reid said earlier in the week Toney would remain in the lineup. The mistake against the Bills was not the first costly one Toney made this season. He deflected an easily catchable ball to a defender who returned it for a touchdown in a one-point loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 1.
1. PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Previous Ranking: 1
All anyone will talk about from Sunday’s loss to the Bills is the offensive offsides on Kadarius Toney. If that doesn’t happen, the Kansas City Chiefs win the game, and we probably aren’t panicking much about another frustrating offensive performance.
Patrick Mahomes was balling, though. There were definitely plays where his frustration and hesitation with throwing to these receivers resulted in sacks, but he was largely the engine keeping the offense moving. Mahomes’ connection with Travis Kelce was a vintage performance, and rookie WR Rashee Rice gave Mahomes another option in certain spots.
Still, the offense doesn’t have enough juice outside of those two guys. Mahomes doesn’t trust anybody else. That was especially a problem since his favorite checkdown recipient, Isiah Pacheco, was out of the lineup.
1. DI CHRIS JONES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
It’s rare for a player of Jones’ caliber to reach unrestricted free agency, and Kansas City did not give up the right to franchise tag him for a second time when the two sides agreed to a reworked contract this past offseason. A tag for Jones would land north of $33 million, which perhaps helps him test the open market for the first time in his career.
Jones is not only one of the best interior pass-rushers in the game right now; he’s one of the best ever. He is also capable of lining up outside of tackles as a five-technique, bending around the edge and getting home.
Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) at New England Patriots
The Chiefs go into Foxborough angry after what transpired at the end of their loss to the Bills. An angry Patrick Mahomes is never a good thing for an opponent. But the Chiefs have struggled to score points, and the New England defense is sound. The problem is the Patriots offense. The Chiefs will limit them and win this one.
Pick: Chiefs 23, Patriots 10
Kansas City Chiefs (8-5)
The situation: The Chiefs owned the best record in the AFC after Week 7. But since then, the defending Super Bowl champs have dropped four of their last six games. Sunday, they suffered a 20-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills, which followed a 27-19 loss to the Green Bay Packers the week before. That two-game skid is only the fourth time since 2018 that Andy Reid’s team has lost back-to-back games. The Chiefs are now third in the AFC and two games behind the Baltimore Ravens, who lead the conference with a 10-3 record.
The fix: Improved consistency from their wide receivers.
Pay no attention to hand-wringing about the injustice of Kadarius Toney being called for lining up offside. The Chiefs’ real problem is the inconsistent play of Toney and his fellow wide receivers. A lack of precision and effectiveness plagues Patrick Mahomes’ pass-catchers. If they can’t hold onto the ball, run routes at the proper depth or perform the most elementary of tasks (lining up correctly), Kansas City will not go far.
With less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, the Chiefs lined up near midfield with the opportunity to either tie the score with a field goal or take the lead with a touchdown.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes dropped back to pass and found tight end Travis Kelce, who then made a lateral pass to Toney for what could have been the game-winning score. However, Toney was called for offsides and the touchdown was wiped out as the Bills went on to secure the victory.
In the pool report following the game, referee Carl Cheffers said that Toney was “lined up so far offsides” that he was “actually blocking our view of the ball.”
But while they have experience against the Hall of Fame pairing, they know that it means little given the way the Chiefs run their offense. Anything could happen on Sunday, which is why the Patriots want to be ready for every eventuality.
“Anytime you go against an Andy Reid-coached team you have to expect the unexpected,” said linebackers coach and de facto co-defensive coordinator Jerod Mayo on Tuesday.
“You don’t know what you’re going to get, so you go in there with multiple plans and see how those kind of fit into the game. But he’s a very creative coach. He’s very creative whether you’re talking about displacement of receivers, or who’s in the backfield, or who’s really getting the targets. He’s very creative in that way — the motions, all that stuff, kind of starting with them.”
The Chiefs are entering the Week 15 game at Gillette Stadium ranked in the top 10 in points (22.5; 11th) and yards (361.3; 7th) per game, as well as expected points added per play (0.055; 7th). Compared to years past, however, those numbers are not quite as impressive as they have been.
Around the NFL
The game will be played at Corinthians Arena in São Paulo, which hosted the opening ceremony and a semifinal match in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
“Bringing the NFL to new continents, countries and cities around the world is a critical element of our plan to continue to grow the game globally,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Brazil has established itself as a key market for the NFL, and we are excited to be playing in Brazil and São Paulo for the first time in 2024. We look forward to working with the city of São Paulo, SP Turis and Corinthians Arena to deliver a world-class game day experience for this passionate and growing fan base.”
The announcement of the Brazil game came as the league announced it will be boosting its international series in 2025, with more games than ever possibly being played abroad.
Allen’s injury comes at an inopportune time for the Chargers, who head into this game with backup quarterback Easton Stick making his first NFL start. The Chargers’ starting quarterback, Justin Herbert, is out for the season with a broken right index finger.
“He provides that middle of the field target, or, ‘Hey, if he’s playing outside, I can trust it,’” coach Brandon Staley said Monday of the importance of Stick having Allen.
The Super Bowl is going back to Cali — Southern California, to be exact.
Super Bowl LXI in February 2027 will be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, following the approval of owners on Wednesday at the December League Meeting.
It will be the second time in five years that the biggest of big games will take place at the venue.
“We are very excited to bring the Super Bowl back to Los Angeles for the second time in five years,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “The city did an outstanding job hosting Super Bowl 56 in the incredible SoFi Stadium and we believe that Super Bowl 61 will be even more memorable. The Los Angeles Rams, the Los Angeles Host Committee and many other outstanding partners will help create an unforgettable week of events culminating in Super Bowl Sunday in 2027 that will celebrate the region as an epicenter of sports, entertainment and culture.”
Here are multiple examples of the play in case you would like further clarification.
I have never understood the outrage over this rule. Opponents say that the defense is not earning a possession because they aren’t recovering anything. They are simply benefiting from the fact that someone was reckless with the ball around the end zone. To that I say: fantastic.
Offenses currently benefit from defensive players breathing on wide receivers, defensive linemen and edge rushers falling anywhere near a quarterback in an attempt to sack them, defensive linemen and edge rushers even mentally considering the idea of sacking a quarterback, or defensive linemen and edge rushers looking moderately menacing when they cross paths with a quarterback who is famous enough to be recognized with his helmet off (sorry, Nick Mullens, not yet).
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
As the Kansas City Chiefs were playing out a 20-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon, emotions were clearly running high. Following the game, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid both made uncharacteristic criticisms of Carl Cheffers’ officiating crew after the team had registered only its third set of back-to-back losses since Mahomes became the starting quarterback in 2018.
But during the game, a sideline exchange between Kansas City’s superstar defensive tackle Chris Jones and defensive line coach Joe Cullen was caught by the CBS cameras. It appeared to show Jones and Cullen at odds over something — and in what appeared to be a fit of pique, Cullen hurled one of the team’s computer tablets to the ground.
“People make a big deal about that,” Jones said of the incident before Wednesday’s practice, assuring reporters there was “nothing” to it.
“Just two competitive spirits having a conversation,” insisted Jones — who also explained it was a pretty normal exchange between himself and the fiery coach.
“It’s been that way plenty of times,” he said. “I just hate [that] the camera caught it this time.”
Jones’ smiling, breezy demeanor about the whole affair suggested that it has been blown out of proportion from the beginning — and that his strong relationship with Cullen is still alive and kicking.
A tweet to make you think
First look at WR Justyn Ross back at practice for the Chiefs. pic.twitter.com/pFwT4bCqBr— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) December 13, 2023