Kansas City Chiefs
Running backs were highly productive in Isiah Pacheco’s absence: Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon stepped up in the backfield with Pacheco out, even if the pair had 17 carries for 48 yards on the ground. The pair combined for seven catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game, and McKinnon threw a touchdown pass. The running backs played a significant role in all three touchdowns, helping the Chiefs go 3 of 4 in goal-to-go situations. The offense has been inconsistent of late, so it needed the running backs to step up with Pacheco out.
Budde, an offensive guard, was a member of the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl-winning squad in the 1969 season, which stood as one of his seven AFC All-Star/Pro Bowl campaigns and two All-Pro years.
“My family and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Chiefs Hall of Famer Ed Budde,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement issued by the team. “Ed spent his entire 14-year career with the Chiefs, and he was a cornerstone of those early Chiefs teams that brought pro football to Kansas City. He never missed a game in the first nine seasons of his career, and he rightfully earned recognition as an All-Star, a Pro-Bowler and a Super Bowl Champion. After his playing career, Ed remained connected to the Chiefs organization and was a founding member of the Kansas City Ambassadors. He was well-loved in the Kansas City community, and he was a great father to Brad, Tionne and John. My family and the entire Chiefs organization extend our sincere condolences to Carolyn and the Budde family.”
A two-time AFL champion, Budde’s entire career was spent with the Chiefs, running from 1963 to 1976. The ‘63 season was the first for the Chiefs after the club began its days as the Dallas Texans from 1960-1962.
Budde, who was part of four postseason appearances, played 177 career games with 161 starts, including nine as a rookie after he was drafted eighth overall by the Chiefs. He was also taken No. 4 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL draft.
Kansas City Chiefs
What to know: The Chiefs lead the AFC West by two games over the Broncos after their win over the Patriots. They are the No. 3 seed, two games back of the Ravens for the top spot.
Remaining schedule: vs. Raiders, vs. Bengals, at Chargers
2. Fifteen different Chiefs have recorded at least a half sack this season.
The Chiefs tallied four sacks on Sunday, as cornerback Jaylen Watson, defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, defensive end Charles Omenihu and linebacker Drue Tranquill each brought down Zappe over the course of the game. It was Nnadi’s first sack of the year, making him the 15th member of the Chiefs to record at least a half sack on the season.
Only Detroit, with 16 players, features more defenders with at least a half sack this year.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (40 Percent Rostered)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is making the most of what might be his last chance to revive a disappointing career. The 2020 first-round pick had been demoted and was sparsely utilized following the rise of unheralded 2022 seventh-rounder Isiah Pacheco, but he’s getting an opportunity to show he still be a useful contributor in wake of the starter’s injury.
In a Week 15 showdown against the lowly New England Patriots, CEH drew his second successive start and had his best game of the season. Although he didn’t make much of an impact on the ground—just 37 yards on 13 carries—Edwards-Helaire reeled in all four of his targets for 64 yards and a touchdown. That was good for 20.1 fantasy points and a No. 8 finish at the RB position, his first top-10 showing since Week 4 of last season.
While CEH still must prove he can consistently contribute after struggling in Week 14—a mere 39 yards on 11 totes while catching two of four targets for 29 yards in a loss to the Buffalo Bills—he’ll have a fantastic opportunity to build momentum when the Chiefs take on the rival Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16.
With the Raiders giving up nearly 125 yards per game on the ground and allowing 12 rushing touchdowns this year, CEH can be trusted as an RB2 for this matchup.
Around the NFL
“I think sometimes it’s maybe the misses that help you grow the most — that you can learn from the most,” Spanos said Monday, speaking for the first time since the team fired coach Brandon Staley and GM Tom Telesco last week. “And I think we always have to be pushing ourselves as an ownership to get better, to be better.”
Spanos declined to discuss the specifics of why he and his father, owner Dean Spanos, fired Staley and Telesco during the season, but the decision came one day after the Chargers lost to the Las Vegas Raiders 63-21 on “Thursday Night Football.” It was one of the most embarrassing losses in NFL history, not only because of the margin, but also because it came against a Raiders team without much to play for — a team that had already fired its own head coach and general manager.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday night that an MRI revealed that Chase suffered a separated shoulder in the Week 15 win over the Minnesota Vikings, which
Taylor, however, said, “We’ll see how the week goes.”
Already down Joe Burrow, the Bengals losing Chase would be a blow to Cincinnati, who currently sit in the No. 6 seed in the AFC. However, with quarterback Jake Browning playing well, Cincy still boasts stellar wideouts in Tee Higgins, who had a pair of TDs Saturday, and Tyler Boyd to bridge the gap.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
After failing on their first two third-and-longs, the Chiefs completed a huge third-and-10 pass to wide receiver Justin Watson that was good for 31 yards.
Most of the KC’s offensive success came on 3rd and long
Most of the KC's offensive success came on 3rd and long— Nate Christensen (@natech32) December 18, 2023
This is the second 3rd/long of the game, after 74's penalty. Get into 4x1, use motion with 1 to get man check. Pats double Kelce, CB plays inside lev to the help. Great flag route by Watson, speed to reach landmark pic.twitter.com/lL8NrH3m3F
Here we see the Patriots are in a Cover 1 double coverage, in which they’re doubling Kelce with a single high safety and man coverage across it.
In a middle-of-the-field closed coverage like this one, we typically see defensive backs play with outside leverage against wide receivers who are inside the hashes. This funnels these routes to the defender’s help — in this case, the free safety.
The Chiefs know this, so they dial up a Flag route for Watson — something with which he has been terrific in Kansas City. This is a route where the receiver stems to make it look like a deep Over route — but then breaks outside to the corner. Watson executes it very well — but Mahomes’ ball placement is also tremendous.