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Arrowheadlines: Travis Kelce made the decision to rest in Week 18

Chiefs headlines for Monday, January 8

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Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 13-12 to win a NFL football game at SoFi Stadium. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The latest

Why Chiefs’ Travis Kelce didn’t play vs. Chargers — just 16 yards short of milestone | Kansas City Star

So why did he decide not to play in KC’s 13-12 road victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium?

“All the players wanted him to play, but he just goes, ‘You know what? I don’t like the way it feels,’” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game. “He’s not into that. And so he chose not to play.”

Kelce’s decision certainly could be seen as a wise one. The Chiefs had locked up the AFC’s No. 3 seed before Sunday’s contest, meaning there was no team-based reason for him to be out there.

2024 NFL playoffs: Ranking all 14 teams to make the postseason, from dynamic Ravens to deflated Eagles | CBS Sports

4. Chiefs (11-6)

Andy Reid’s offense is typically video game-like in its creativity and execution, which has not been the case in 2023. But for all the frustration Patrick Mahomes has exhibited, the QB practically lives and breathes playoff football, not so unlike Tom Brady in his prime. And their Chris Jones-led defense has been nasty up front — top-five in sacks across the NFL.

Five things that stood out about the Chiefs’ win (without Mahomes) over the Chargers | Kansas City Star

I didn’t anticipate many takeaways from the starters.

But here’s a potentially significant one: Omenihu has some momentum building at the right time.

With his strip sack Sunday, he has been a part of a sack in at least six straight games to conclude the regular season.

Mid-season form, in a way. Omenihu was suspended for the first six games of the year.

KC Chiefs DT Chris Jones Reaches Contract Incentive for 10th Sack | Sports Illustrated

Before Sunday’s game even started, Jones had already hit his benchmarks for 35% and 50% of snaps played. That earned him a combined $2M. The 10th sack gets him to $3.25M total in incentives earned, but he has some work to do if he wants to make another jump. He’s missed out on a $500,000 incentive for 15 sacks, as well as (for all intents and purposes) a $2M bonus for a Defensive Player of the Year award and a Super Bowl win. It’s still possible he earns $1M for a first-team All-Pro berth and a Super Bowl appearance, although that will take some serious work by player and team alike.

Randy Moss, Alex Smith to enter College Football Hall of Fame | The Athletic

In 2004, Smith led the Utes to their first-ever 12-0 season and a BCS bowl berth in the Fiesta Bowl. He passed for 328 yards and four touchdowns in the win over Pitt and won Fiesta Bowl MVP honors.

The San Francisco 49ers drafted Smith with the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft and spent his 16-year career with the Niners, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Commanders. The three-time Pro Bowler received the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award after recovering from a gruesome leg injury.

Golden Globe-nominated Taylor Swift appears to skip Chiefs game with Travis Kelce ruled out | CBS News

Taylor Swift appeared to skip the Kansas City Chiefs’ Sunday game against the Los Angeles Chargers ahead of the Golden Globe Awards. Swift has been dating the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce for months, but the star tight end was ruled inactive for the final game of the regular season.

Swift has attended several Kansas City games this season, and fans in the crowd at SoFi stadium in Inglewood, California, could be seen holding a “Where’s Taylor” sign. Kelce and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes were both ruled out Sunday to avoid injury going into the playoffs. The Chiefs won 13-12, with the game wrapping up shortly before the start of the Golden Globes.

Around the NFL

Jaguars’ collapse started well before loss to Titans, and may unspool into offseason of soul-searching | Yahoo Sports

It’s not like the Jaguars were theoretically a good team, they actually were a good team to start the season. Attaining an 8-3 record is hard in the NFL. They beat the Texans, who eventually won the AFC South, on Nov. 26 to take a two-game lead in the division. They were neck-and-neck with the eventual top seed Ravens, until they weren’t.

To be on the outside looking in, not even in the playoffs after that start is almost unfathomable and it may cause the organization to shake up how things are run. General manager Trent Baalke, the coaching staff and the players all share responsibility for where they ended up at the final buzzer.

As negotiations await, Justin Jefferson tops 1,000 yards| ESPN

In between, however, the Minnesota Vikings receiver was the most productive pass-catcher in the NFL, a data point that will further bolster his position when he and the team restart negotiations for a contract extension this spring. Jefferson became only the third player in NFL history to produce a 1,000-yard receiving season while playing in 10 or fewer games — and the first in 31 years — after a 12-catch, 192-yard performance in the Vikings’ season-ending 30-20 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Jefferson called his upcoming negotiations “a conversation for the front office to really speak about,” continuing to put the burden on the Vikings to make an agreeable offer.

Bill Belichick ties NFL record for most losses ever by a head coach after Jets beat Patriots in Week 18 | CBS Sports

The fact that Belichick tied the record by losing to the Jets definitely adds insult to injury and that’s mostly because the Jets have been the one team the Patriots have been able to dominate more than any other. Going into Week 18, New England currently had a 15-game winning streak against the Jets, which dated to December 2015.

Even though the loss to New York might end up being Belichick’s final game in New England with the team, he didn’t want to talk about his future in the days leading up to the game.

“I’m committed to the team that I’m coaching right now, the players that are here,” Belichick said. “They deserve my best every day, and that’s what I’m going to give them.”

Puka Nacua rookie records: How Rams’ draft steal broke the NFL receptions & receiving yards marks in Week 18 | The Sporting News

Nacua wasn’t always tipped for greatness. Rather, he was something of a wanderer, slipping into the mire as a fifth-round pick nine months ago. The BYU alum was viewed as a raw but intriguing prospect with decent-to-good athleticism, footwork, and speed. He was docked for a seemingly limited college route tree that accentuated his strengths as a vertical threat but didn’t allow him to flourish on more intermediate throws.

Lions TE Sam LaPorta likely to miss time after suffering hyperextended knee, bone bruise | NFL.com

Lions tight end Sam LaPorta suffered a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise in the team’s 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings and is likely to miss some time, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per sources.

“The best way I can put it is it’s not as bad as it looked, but it’s not good news,” head coach Dan Campbell said of the injury in his postgame news conference. “We’ll know more tomorrow. I know it looked awful. It’s not as bad as that.”

2024 NFL draft order: Top 18 picks set, with Bears at the top | ESPN

The Bears have the No. 1 pick in back-to-back years thanks to a trade with Carolina from last March. The biggest question is whether they will keep quarterback Justin Fields and use their draft capital to build around him with another wide receiver and interior O-line help, or if they will draft a QB.

The way Fields played since returning from a thumb injury in Week 11 brings up a real debate about whether Chicago is better off with him on this trajectory than starting over in 2024.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Instabreakdown: Chiefs’ reserves tough out win in Los Angeles

Defensive player of the game: Defensive tackle Chris Jones

Jones’ pursuit of the sack that would make him $1.25 million richer may have been agonizing to fans and the team, but it resulted in a very disruptive performance. Jones had three quarterback hits in the first half. Over and over again, he chased Stick down — or forced a hurried throw. On one third down, he broke through the line intending to rush the passer — and blew up a running play.

But in the third quarter, Jones finally broke through, swallowing Stick for the sack. The team’s reaction was priceless — and made the frustration leading up to it worthwhile. Heading into the playoffs, a big moment for the team doesn’t hurt a thing.

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