Here are your Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive, defensive, and special teams grades from their Week 15 matchup against the New Orleans Saints:
The Chiefs have won yet another big game as they toppled the lethal New Orleans Saints squad 32-29. All around, the Chiefs played spectacularly, and while some groups didn’t play as well as others, they still played their part to secure the win. It was one of their toughest games of the year, and they were able to silence all doubters by securing this win. With that said and done, here are the grades for offense, defense, and special teams along with the best group/player from each side of the ball:
The offense as a whole played better than expected against one of the best passing defenses and one of the best front-seven in the whole league. Mahomes darted it up for 254 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions; having no interceptions against this defense is an award all by itself. Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the way in the rushing as he shredded threw blockers on 14 rushing attempts for 79 yards; this was his best rushing day since Week 6 when the Chiefs defeated the Bills. He also had one reception for four yards, totaling 83 total yards on the day.
We also can’t forget about Le’veon Bell, who had 14 rushes for 62 yards, and thanks to keen option play from Mahomes, he was able to run it in 14 yards for a touchdown. He averaged 4.1 yards per attempt, which proves that Bell is becoming heavily adjusted to the Chiefs’ offense. His style of play and how he improves with this offense will be exhilarating to see in future games.
The receiving core had a spectacular day as well with Kelce leading the charge unsurprisingly. He had his 5th straight-eight catch game, but this time he had only 68 receiving yards (his lowest in the past seven games) and a touchdown. Additionally, Sammy Watkins showed up for four catches for 60 yards, and while he never had a touchdown, he averaged 15 yards per catch; that is exceptional. Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman had a touchdown each, but Hardman had a spectacular five-yard score with a toe-drag plus a magnificent pass from Mahomes that will be talked about for the rest of the week:
The only reason I’m giving the offense an A- is due to the atrocious pass blocking. I understand that the Saints’ front seven is a different breed, but no team can give up four sacks for 22 yards along with over 11 quarterback hits (with Trey Henderson having five of eleven of those hits). The protection was so bad to the point that the Saints’ defense forced Mahomes to have two fumbles, one being recovered by the defense. Mahomes barely had any time to throw it and had to turn to a lot of short passes, which did work out for them as they secured the win. However, the pass blocking has to improve as the more time he has, the more time he has to make outstanding and awe-inspiring plays.
Best group (excluding quarterback): Running backs
For running backs, they had 146 yards on the ground today and that’s impressive given the fact that the Saints were ranked second in rush defense coming into this game; they allowed around 82 rushing yards on average this season, but have allowed around 138 yards each game in their last three matchups (excluding the Chiefs’ game). Helaire and Bell proved that they could be a lethal duo in the league, and it showed they could be an overlooked duo that playoff teams and experts may miss.
Best player: Patrick Mahomes
The defense clearly showed up, specifically in pass defense where they allowed Brees to complete just under 50% of his passes along with an interception and a 23.5 QBR. They also held the Saints rushing attack to just 60 total rushing yards with Karama being the lead rusher with 11 carries for 54 yards. In the first half, they played well by only allowing seven points in the half, and they forced Brees to start 0/6 with an interception, which has never happened in his long career.
We must give credit where credit is due, and that is towards the rush defense. They truly stepped up against Kamara and the Saints as the Chiefs usually allow around 128 rushing yards per game, but this time against one of the scarier offenses in the NFC, they were able to hold them to just 60 yards rushing. While they did allow a touchdown, it went to Taysom Hill and it was from one-yard away, so there isn’t anything to tear them down for. If I had to give that rush defense a grade by itself, it would be an A+ because this was a drastic improvement from what fans usually see.
The second half was completely another tale. Brees came back swinging by throwing three touchdown passes that half with all of them being thrown over ten yards. This wasn’t enough for them to win, but it did expose flaws in the pass defense. This is the only reason why they won’t be receiving an A as they had could’ve blown them out with ease, but for some reason, they decided to move away from that dominance and fell back, which almost cost them the game.
Best group: Cornerbacks
All three starting corners had stellar games. Sneed led the group with three tackles, three pass deflections, a sack, and an interception. Ward fell second as he had four tackles along with a QB hit, which forced Brees to throw a pass that led to an intentional grounding penalty. Finally, Breeland had a decent showing with two tackles and two pass deflections, with one of those deflections that could’ve been a spectacular interception.
Best player: L’Jarius Sneed
Special Teams: B-
There really isn’t much to talk about when it comes to special teams this week. Butker did his job by kicking 3/3 for the point after touchdowns, and he hit a nice chip-shot field goal that was 22 yards. There was no kick returns to evaluate, and Townsend did a fantastic job on six punts with half of them being placed inside the 20-yard line with his longest punt being 61 yards (he has a booming leg). He even averaged over 40 yards per punt, which is extraordinary and spectacular from the young rookie.
However, the punt returning was garbage. Hardman and Robinson combined for -15 return yards with Robinson having a terrible -13 yard return that leads to a fumble, which turned into a safety for the Saints. Also, the longest punt return only went for one yard. That costly error is the main reason why their grade is this low even with the atrocious number of return yards they both had.
Best player: Tommy Townsend
What are your grades for each side of the Chiefs? Leave a comment down below with your thoughts, and thanks for reading!