After a critical Week 1 victory here are four players who showed up against Cleveland.
I feel like I might need to still catch my breath after Mike Hughes got that interception to seal the victory over the Browns. The Chiefs had to make a second-half comeback after they went down 22-10, they went on a 32-7 run to secure the win down the stretch.
The offense came alive and scored quickly and often in the second half and the porous defense came alive to get two turnovers and got a special teams play to help with the comeback. With a huge week one win like this there are key players who made the plays that were needed. Here are four players who made the difference and took over against the Browns.
4. Tyreek Hill
The Cheetah ran wild.
Tyreek Hill had 11 receptions with 197 yards and a touchdown, he looked how he was supposed to, elite. He was able to wiggle his way through the secondary all afternoon and find the soft spot in the zones. He was the safety valve for Patrick Mahomes all afternoon long, getting into those soft zones and turning on the jets to get some Yards After the Catch.
He was able to showcase his explosiveness all afternoon and took on doubles from the safeties so Kelce could take his mismatch over a linebacker or a nickel corner in the RedZone. There is no way the Chiefs come away with a victory if Tyreek isn’t spectacular all afternoon, he kept the chains moving late in the game and helped the offense get into position to score continuously.
I cannot wait to see if Tyreek can carry this momentum into Baltimore in Week 2.
3. Chris Jones
Big Macs for everyone!
Chris Jones at the edge was, in a word, a problem. Jones decided to take matters into his own hands and had two sacks to help the Chiefs get their second-half comeback. Chris Jones was able to line up inside and outside and take on the very physical offensive line of the Browns. He was able to get his pressures and sacks without the aid of Frank Clark on the opposite edge and not having the leader of the secondary in Tyrann Mathieu as well.
Chris Jones was able to rally the troops of younger guys to stay steady in the second half so they had a chance to win the game. He and the young guys only gave up one touchdown in the second half. Jones also added a dimension of grittiness in the run game, holding up blockers so the linebackers and safeties could finish off the runner. It wasn’t a perfect game, but Chris Jones did everything he could to help them win against Cleveland.
2. Nick Bolton
When Nick Bolton was pushed into the starting lineup due to the injuries to William Gay, many people in Chiefs Kingdom were worried. Bolton didn’t start a lot in the preseason and wasn’t making the plays which would have made the fans happy. But when you start because of injuries, it’s either put up or shut up and Nick Bolton rose to the challenge.
The rookie was spectacular in his first regular-season game, he seemed to be everywhere and making a lot of big tackles throughout the game. He had 7 combined tackles with four solo and 1 tackle for loss. Bolton also had to deal with the loss of Anthony Hitchens as well and took over in the middle linebacker spot and was able to help keep the Browns in check in the second half. Bolton’s biggest question mark coming into his rookie season was his ability in space and he was able to play sideline-to-sideline all afternoon.
Bolton will probably be starting the rest of the season due to how well he played against the Browns and it should be fun to see him and Gay or Hitchens continue to make plays in the season. He was extremely impressive and it should be a good sign that he was able to make a statement this early in the season.
1. Patrick Mahomes
Down double digits going into the second half, Chiefs Kingdom wasn’t worried. It’s a nice luxury to have the greatest player on the planet on your team, even when you are down by 12 and the defense hasn’t stepped up. Patrick Mahomes was incredible and started off his MVP candidacy started off well against the Browns, Mahomes went 27/36 for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns in the air, and one touchdown on the ground.
Patrick Mahomes not only helped his team to another September victory, he’s still undefeated and hasn’t thrown an interception in September, he also broke a couple of records. He passed Kurt Warner for most passing yards in 50 games started and passed Dan Marino for most touchdowns in 50 games started. Mahomes did all of that in 47 games started.
Mahomes was just spectacular as he led the Chiefs on their comeback, throwing for three touchdowns in the second half and led the Chiefs to five straight scoring drives. His most impressive play was this impossible throw he made across his body.
As the game went on it seemed like Mahomes was able to trust his offensive line more, he was willing to stand tough in the pocket and take some hits because he knew he had the time to make the throw from the pocket. Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, and Lucas Niang all had to be solid to play the Browns and they were able to only give up two sacks all afternoon to a relentless pass-rush.
Even Mahomes was able to admit that the sack late in the fourth quarter was on him holding onto the ball too long and dropping back too deep. This will be something to watch as the season moves on, he will need to trust his offensive line and it will help them continue to win.