The Kansas City Chiefs won 13-7 over the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. The game had ups and downs, but for the first time in weeks, the Chiefs did three key things that lead them to victory and could get them on the right track for the rest of the season.
The Chiefs pressured Jordan Love all game
Jordan Love made the first start of his NFL career against the Kansas City Chiefs, who responded by pressuring him with a variety of looks. Four-man pressures, cover 0 blitzes, twist games, and non-stop coverage changes kept Love’s head spinning all game. New acquisition Melvin Ingram made his presence felt early as well, nearly coming up with a strip-sack of Love on the game’s first third down.
The Chiefs would only record one sack which came via Tyrann Mathieu off a blitz, but the team recorded seven QB hits of Love and blitzed him an astonishing 54.3% of the game. This lead to pressures in his face all day and helped the Chiefs get the victory. Steve Spagnulo tested the young QB, and the commitment to pressure and man coverage would pay off for KC in the end.
+1 in the Turnover/Takeaway battle
For the first time since week one, the Kansas City Chiefs did not turn over the ball. This helped the Chiefs immensely, because not only did they prevent the Pakcers from having extra possessions but they used it to control the field position battle, which became crucial down the line. Although the offense did punt the entire second half the Chiefs made sure that Green Bay had to earn every yard they got, and late in the game Jordan Love tried to take a shot downfield to create a big momentum play and a possible score. L’Jarius Sneed was ready and waiting matched up in the slot against Devante Adams.
Sneed was expecting the pass, played great man coverage, and then made a great break on the ball which was thrown long by Love. The result kept Green Bay out of the end zone but also proved big considering the Chiefs would only win the game by six points.
Andy Reid put the ball in Patrick Mahomes hand to end the game
Once again Patrick Mahomes struggled. This of course meant the Chiefs offense struggled, but in a familiar fashion that we have not seen much of lately, Mahomes put the game on ice. First, he found Travis Kelce for a big gain of 22 yards that shifted field position and kept the defense who was looking for plays around the kind of scrimmage off balance. Kelce found the hole in the zone, and after manipulating the defense with his eyes he fired a strike.
A giant third down and ten came just after the two-minute warning, and conversion would seal the game for Kansas City. The Chiefs had a max protect on, matching blockers for pass rushers, but no one was open downfield initially. Mahomes had stayed disciplined in the pocket all game, but looking to give Tyreek Hill time to get open he evaded the pocket to the right and delivered a dime while being hit. Hill was able to maneuver his way open and made the catch to close out the game.
These two plays were big for a couple of reasons. Although Mahomes struggled this game he was committed to pocket discipline and made an effort to play under control. This paid off and allowed him to get his feet set and throw a good ball to Kelce. The play to Hill was big because he recognized when it was a good time to leave the pocket and make a play, which he did.
No one was open downfield initially, but he knew with the Packers bringing extra rushers that they had fewer men in coverage. This was a confident calculated decision by Mahomes to leave the pocket and make a play, and not just a wild gamble like we have seen in prior weeks to force a play to happen that isn’t there.