Analysis

Week 16: Chiefs’ grades for Chiefs vs Falcons

Here are your Chiefs’ grades for Sunday’s Week 16 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons:

The Chiefs and playing down to their opponent; name a better duo, I’ll wait. This game shouldn’t have been decided by a botched field goal, but here we are, talking, reading, and writing about it today. At least the good side about this is that the Chiefs came out and won which gave them the #1 seed that rewards them with a first-round bye and home-field advantage; yet, many issues were blatantly exposed on Sunday, especially pass protection.

Now, let’s review what happened on Sunday. Here are the grades for offense, defense, and special teams along with the best group/player from each side of the ball:

Offense: C

This offense was a rare sight to see, especially with the passing attack, but let’s break it down core by core, starting with Mahomes. This has to be one of Mahomes’ worst games this year as he couldn’t seem the lead the offense to anything until it was deathly needed.

The first half was horrendous, as he couldn’t operate a scoring drive until the final one of the half; the second half was more or less the same, until the 4th quarter. He even threw a terrible pick that was on him, as he never saw linebacker Foyesade Oluokun below Kelce, his intended target. He was sloppy most of the day, and he missed 20 passes as well, which is among the most missed passes in a game of his short career.

The rushing attack, however, was clearly balanced with Darrel Williams leading the charge; he had 10 carries for 46 yards, a 4.6 yards per rush average. Bell followed in pursuit of him with seven carries for 30 yards; however, fans, like yours truly, expected him to have a bigger impact this week, especially after his first run that went for ten yards; but, it looked like the Chiefs’ coaching staff had other plans. Also, Mahomes had three carries for 21 yards and Hardman had a carry for 20 yards, totaling 117 rushing yards. That isn’t a bad day for the Chiefs’ rushing attack.

One of the best days out of the receiving core is from none other than the sure-handed Travis Kelce. He had seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown, averaging 14 yards per reception. With these numbers, he was able to break George Kittle’s record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a season. He also holds the record for being the only tight end with multiple 100 reception seasons in an NFL career. Have a day, Kelce!

In terms of run blocking and opening up holes for running backs, the Chiefs’ o-line did a fantastic job at achieving that. As I said, earlier, they had a total of 117 rushing yards on the day; however, the pass blocking was highly suspect. The Chiefs’ allowed five QB hits and allowed 10+ QB knockdowns, which contributed to Mahomes having barely any time in the pocket.

He was running all over the place to escape sacks, which worked as the Falcons never sacked him the whole game. While injuries are plaguing the offensive line (especially now with Reiter injured), they still have to step up and protect Mahomes, or else the Chiefs will fall.

Best group: Receiving Core

Besides Kelce, Tyreek also had a great day with four catches for 69 yards and a key tackle after the interception by Foyesade Oluokun that possibly prevented a pick-six. Demarcus Robinson also had a decent day with two catches on two targets with 29 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Without the sure handedness of these three (including Kelce), the game would’ve flipped to the Falcons.

Best player: Travis Kelce

Defense: A-

All around, the defense played spectacularly on Sunday, but let’s start on how they made Ryan’s day a living nightmare. The defense had four sacks for 23 yards (one each from Sneed, Jones, Okafor, and Clark) and 12 QB hits (Jones led the charge with four hits with Clark following behind with three). All of those hits put a toll on Ryan and there were drives that resulted in three and outs due to said sacks and incompletions that were forced due to Ryan being hit.

Two rookies in Willie Gay Jr. and L’Jarius Sneed showed out this week as well. Gay had nine total tackles (seven solos), a tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble that was recovered by Darius Harris. Sneed had an amazing game as well with seven total tackles (six solos), a tackle for a loss, two QB hits, and a sack. These two were key stars in today’s win.

The secondary had a decent day; it wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst. While they did allow large plays and exactly 300 yards of passing, they were able to hold down the areas they needed to when necessary, which forced dicy third and fourth down situations. They didn’t record any pass deflections nor interception, but that didn’t matter. They held the Falcons’ lethal passing attack at bay and secured their team a much-needed victory.

Best group: Defensive Line

Without Jones, Clark, and Okafor creating a motherload of pressure for Ryan and that Atlanta offense, they would have a field day against the Chiefs’ secondary. As I stated earlier, the defensive line itself had four sacks and ten QB hits (removing Sneed’s sack and two hits), which forced incompletions and three and outs. They definitely carried the most out of that whole defense.

Best player: Willie Gay Jr.

Special Teams: A

Honestly, what else could you ask for in your special teams unit? Butker was 100 % on kicks and hit a 53-yard field goal, Townsend has three out of four punts inside the 20 with an average of 41.3 yards per punt, which pinned the Falcons offense in terrible field position, and Hardman did better than usual on returning (both kicking and punting). There really isn’t much to tear down or analyze this week, so great job special teams!

Best Players: Tommy Townsend and Harrison Butker (both did equally well)

What are your grades for Sunday’s game? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day!

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