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Arrowheadlines: On 67-yard catch, Chiefs’ Rashee Rice ran the wrong route

Chiefs headlines for Tuesday, January 2

Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

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Why Rashee Rice ran the wrong route — on purpose — in his 67-yard catch | Kansas City Star

The Bengals busted a coverage, and Rice knew before the snap that they’d busted it. The cornerback lined up opposite him, Cam Taylor-Britt, showed outside leverage, meaning he was trying to force Rice inside. This happens to the Chiefs a lot — cornerbacks forcing them into safety help over the middle.

But here? A problem.

“I saw it was only one safety high,” Rice told me. “I basically understood there was something wrong with the defense, because he had outside leverage, but he didn’t have inside help. I knew that (Taylor-Britt) would widen out, and the single safety was too far from me.”

The original play asked Rice to run a short hitch. But he beat Taylor-Britt off the line to the inside as he’d suspected, trusted his pre-snap read that the back end would be open. Then he just kept flying. And Mahomes put it on him.

“He did a great job of recognizing the coverage and converting the route and getting down the field,” Mahomes said. “He does a great job of that.”

Julian Edelman doesn’t believe Chiefs will reach usual heights this year | The U.S. Sun

Kansas City has been plagued by drops on the offensive side of the ball with Mahomes struggling to connect with his receivers.

They have the most dropped passes in the league, and have been forced to lean on their defense and running back more than Mahomes’ arm.

Edelman continued: “They’ve got a great defense, the quarterback, the coach, but you need to be able to make plays if your name is not Kelce and right now they haven’t.

“Rashee Rice has been developing something week after week and getting production but right now, these drops, it’s starting to add up.

“If it happens and they find a way to get it done it wouldn’t surprise me but right now I can’t put my money on it.”

Chiefs’ fans optimistic heading into regular-season finale, playoffs | Fox4KC.com

Kansas City Chiefs’ fans are confident, even though Mahomes has never played a playoff game on the road outside of a Super Bowl.

“If they play like they did yesterday, in my opinion, they’re going to go a few weeks in whether it’s at home or on the road,” said Steve McKay, a Chiefs fan from Georgia. “Taking Patrick and the boys on the road, that’s going to be a true test.”

“You’re going to have to tighten some things up. They’re going to have to play differently and be a little more strategic, knowing the fans will be out here carrying them on, but they’re going to have to show up on the road,” said Nastasia Tebeck, a Chiefs fan hailing from Washington.

The last time the Chiefs played on the road in the playoffs was 2015. Alex Smith was still this team’s quarterback, and Mahomes wouldn’t be drafted for another two years.

Chiefs surprise award winner with Super Bowl LVIII tickets | KSHB.com

Deidre Anderson-Barbee will be able to cross an item off her bucket list when she takes her seats at the Super Bowl this February in Las Vegas.

“Who doesn’t want to go to the Super Bowl?” Anderson-Barbee asked.

The Chiefs named Anderson-Barbee the team’s 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker.

The team surprised her with two free tickets to Super Bowl LVIII in a pregame ceremony during the Christmas Day game.

CBS aired the ceremony during New Year’s Eve’s national telecast of the Bengals vs. Chiefs game.

“I heard from people I haven’t heard from in years.” she said. “The text messages, the phone calls.”

The Inspire Change award also comes with a $10,000 grant Anderson-Barbee can donate to a charity of her choice. She chose to give the money to Early Start. She led the early childhood education nonprofit for 11 years.

Around the NFL

Lions coach Dan Campbell moving on from controversial Cowboys loss | NFL.com

“I’m good. I woke up yesterday — I’m ready man. I’ve got controlled fury, and I’m ready to go,” Campbell said. “I’m absolutely ready to go.

“I don’t go the other way and the team won’t either. We are on a mission and we’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves and wallow in everything. We had plays to make and we didn’t make them. It’s a tight game, a good opponent, playoff-type atmosphere and you have to make that one extra play, and we didn’t. So, we will use this as fuel. I got pure octane right now. I woke up and I’m ready. So, we’re moving forward.”

Detroit is in an unfamiliar place this season. The Lions are division champions for the first time in 30 years, and were in a battle for the NFC’s top seed until referee Brad Allen’s ruling negated a successful two-point try that would have given Detroit a great chance of defeating the Cowboys Saturday in Arlington.

For any average viewer who might interpret Allen’s ruling — which was either a mistake, the result of unfortunate miscommunication, or a combination of both — as displaying bias against the upstart Lions, who have maintained they followed player reporting protocol properly and didn’t see the fruits of their process, Campbell disagrees with that notion and pushed back against even entertaining such thought.

“Don’t buy into that. Don’t live in that world, man,” Campbell said. “That will just pull you down. If it makes you feel any better, the NFL is against every team, all right? Because look, I was in New Orleans, so, I know what that feels like. And, but you know what? We walked away. Even in that game, we had chances to win before all that happened, but that one ended it. That was it, man.”

49ers’ Christian McCaffrey suffered mild calf strain, will miss Week 18 | NFL.com

With the NFC’s top seed in hand, the San Francisco 49ers aren’t taking any chances in Week 18.

Running back Christian McCaffrey will sit out San Francisco’s regular-season finale Sunday against the Rams due to a mild calf strain, coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. Shanahan added he’s “real confident” McCaffrey will be good to go for the team’s postseason opener in the NFC Divisional Round.

McCaffrey sustained the injury during San Francisco’s Week 17 win over Washington and was held out of the rest of the game out of caution.

Other than making a final statement in his most valuable player bid, there was little reason for McCaffrey to play, even if he was completely healthy. He’s the engine of the 49ers’ offense, and with the first-round bye already secured, he’ll get nearly three weeks of rest before he needs to take the field for the 49ers’ Divisional Round contest.

Newly formed United Football League sets 8 markets, tabs coaches | ESPN.com

The newly formed United Football League has set its eight markets and secured head coaches for each team as it continues its march toward a March 2024 debut on the field, the league announced Monday.

The UFL will remain in four XFL markets, three from the USFL and one that the now-merged leagues shared. The eight teams, all of which are located in either the Eastern or Central time zones, will be split into two conferences that are named after the leagues that formed them. Four XFL coaches and four USFL coaches were retained.

The full breakdown with each team’s coach:

USFL conference

Birmingham Stallions: Skip Holtz
Houston Roughnecks: Curtis Johnson
Memphis Showboats: John DeFilippo
Michigan Panthers: Mike Nolan

XFL conference

Arlington Renegades: Bob Stoops
D.C. Defenders: Reggie Barlow
San Antonio Brahmas: Wade Phillips
St. Louis Battlehawks: Anthony Becht

Both leagues had teams in Houston in 2023. The UFL kept the XFL team’s brand and tapped the USFL team’s coach.

UFL players will report to training camp Feb. 24 in Arlington, Texas, where the XFL trained last season. Its teams will play a 10-game regular season, starting March 30 with a matchup between Birmingham and Arlington.

The USFL and XFL played separate, partially overlapping schedules in 2023. The leagues announced an intent to merge Sept. 28 and received approval from federal regulators Nov. 30.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Isiah Pacheco has most productive career game vs. Bengals in win

Pacheco returned to the lineup last game after missing two games after midseason shoulder surgery. But he showed no sign of either injury — concussion or shoulder problem — throughout the contest.

“I’m feeling great,” said Pacheco. “Great training staff we have here. [I’m] thankful for them... Julie [Frymyer], [David Glover], everybody in there taking care of me, making sure I was able to go full speed, 100%. And two weeks, surgery, it’s a little bit difficult and you don’t expect to play two weeks out of surgery, but me, my story is a little bit different. Nothing was really too much major or serious, so I was able to compete.”

As he mentioned, Pacheco couldn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday but found a way to absorb the game plan.

“Throughout the whole week, I just felt the details,” he said. “Understanding the scheme, the job and knowing that coach [Reid] has a high expectation for us, so going out there, knowing what you’re doing at a high tempo, it would show for your game.”

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