The NFL blessed us with the All-22 very early this week. Maybe it was their attempt at a sorry for it being so late in week one. Either way it has allowed me to take a look at the film and come away with some observations for you.
The Chiefs gutted out an overtime win against the Chargers in their new stadium this past weekend, but it was by no means an easy victory like many thought it would be. The Chiefs stalled out on offense countless times until Mahomes took over and the defense did not look like a championship defense against a rookie quarterback.
I am going to go through five good and five bad observations I saw after reviewing the All-22 film. I am naturally a pessimist, so let’s start with the bad.
- Tackling- this was a serious issue. The Chiefs had countless missed tackles and were not nearly as physical as they needed to be. This is not good going into a week three matchup with the Baltimore Ravens who are one of the most physical offensive teams in the NFL and have human highlight reel Lamar Jackson at quarterback. They need to get better and they will.
- Linebacker play- this was an issue all last year and they were able to overcome it through elite play in the secondary and along the front. However, it is still showing up. The linebackers are slow to react, miss tackles, and can’t cover. That may sound harsh, but they are easily the worst unit on the Chiefs right now. Willie Gay Jr., their second round pick, got limited snaps against the Chargers and looked like a lost puppy. Hopefully he can carve out a roll in coverage or as a blitzing linebacker. His athleticism is desperately needed right now.
- Frank Clark illness- Clark has seemed to deal with this stomach issue for multiple years now. It is worrisome that it could be a long term problem and cause him to miss games here and there. They need Clark, not only for his pass rush ability, but for his ability to play the run.
- Offensive line- the oline did not have their best game against a very stout front. The Chargers combination of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram is one of the best pass rushing duos in the league. Add Jerry Tillery into the mix and they may have the best trio and it showed. Mahomes was hurried all day. It wasn’t until late in the game they were able to overcome this.
- Dropped passes- the Chiefs had 5 dropped passes Sunday. That is just unacceptable. The lapses in concentration cannot happen if they are looking to run it back. They are going to get every team’s best. The Chargers have a very good defense to begin with. They can’t give them any help by making foolish mistakes like not catching the ball.
- Harrison Butker- pretty easy here. The man made two.. TWO.. 58 yard field goals, including the game winner. Incredible performance.
- Patrick Mahomes- I think people are so used to seeing him doing the unbelievable that it almost gets lost how incredible he actually is. All in all that was a pretty terrible performance by the entire team, except Mahomes and Butker. The closest thing I have seen to him in sports is Michael Jordan. Now, that is quite the comparison, but I think it is justified. There are times where he just wills the team to victory. It is amazing to watch. When things were down yesterday I said just put the ball in his hands and let him go win this, and he did. Whether it was 20 yard scrambles for first downs or 50 yard missiles to Tyreek Hill on the ran past two defenders while having a defender in his face, he did it all. His greatness is unmatched in the NFL right now. It is truly something to behold.
- L’Jarius Sneed- The rookie corner now has interceptions in back to back games. The ball skills you saw on film in college are translating nicely to the NFL. This rookie even had the difficult assignment of following Keenan Allen, in the slot even, and stood up to the challenge. The Chiefs may have hit a homerun with this pick. It is going to be very interesting to see what happens with Charvarius Ward, Bashaud Breeland, and him when they are healthy. The way this kid is playing I am not sure you can take him off the field.
- Mike Dana, Turk Wharton, and Taco Charlton- the Chiefs were down Alex Okafor, Khalen Saunders and Frank Clark in this game and those three really picked up the slack. It was Charlton’s first action of the year and he showed real value getting to the quarterback. His length and athleticism was able to create multiple pressures on Justin Herbert. Dana and Wharton are first year players. Dana was selected in the 5th and Wharton was a UDFA. Neither of which are playing like it. Both players look like steals. Dana recorded his first sack and showed great awareness and athletic ability on the edge. Wharton is quick on the interior and has shown he can get stout in the run game as well. Once all the defensive line is healthy and these players continue to develop the Chiefs front could turn into a real strength of the team with a lot of depth.
- They won- listen this seems like a simple “of course it’s good” type thing, but in a game where they did not have their A game it was a huge win on the road against a division rival. The schedule isn’t getting easier the next two weeks with Baltimore and New England on the schedule next. This was an important win, especially looking down the road when it comes to playoff seeding. Don’t forget seven teams make the playoffs and only one gets a bye. This will go a long ways towards helping them towards that goal.
There were a lot of good and a lot of bad on film against the Chargers. The bottom line, however, is that they won the game. It is hard to win in the NFL, especially when you are not playing at the top of your ability.
They are really going need to figure out the tackling and linebacker issues moving forward. Willie Gay needs to figure out what he is doing so he can get on the field because they don’t have the answers at the position right now. They may have found steals in Sneed, Wharton, and Dana though, which is huge for the rest of this year and the future. These three rookies are making an impact now and are only going to continue to improve as they get more reps.
Lastly, Pat Mahomes gives Kansas City a chance to win in every game no matter how poorly they are playing. They literally can never be counted out. He showed it during their Super Bowl run and continued to show it against the Chargers.
Like I stated on The Coach’s Corner podcast, if you haven’t listened to it yet, what are you waiting for?, this team is not a finished product. They will continue to evolve every week. The finished product has the potential to be something very special… again.