How about those CHIEFS!!! Let’s run down the list on this victory Monday:
- Destroy the Raiders in their shiny new stadium full of fans (check)
- Mahomes on fire with 5 TDs (check)
- Blow out win (check)
- Raider fans in turmoil (check)
- The defense showed up and showed out (check)
- 1st place in the AFC West (check and (check)
That’s right, after all the turmoil, turnovers, and bad football, your Kansas City Chiefs are in 1st place in the AFC West. The Kingdom waited and waited for this team to wake up and there was no better week to do it. In a playoff game atmosphere on Sunday Night Football, the Chiefs finally pulled it all together. If the Chiefs only win two games a season, most of the Kingdom would agree it would be against the hated Raiders. Not only did they win, but they sent a message to the Raiders and the rest of the AFC West. That message is, “Not so fast, we are still the reigning Champs.”
For arguably the first time this season the offensive game plan was tailored to fit the defense they met. The arrogance or hubris of the Chiefs offense earlier this season was maddening. It was abundantly clear how defenses would play the Chiefs, yet Mahomes and Reid were hell-bent on playing their style of football.
After a career-high in interceptions and otherwise un-Mahomes-like play, have we finally experienced acceptance? It sure felt that way on Sunday night. Mahomes and the offense exploited the Raiders’ defensive game plan to the tune of 516 yards. The Chiefs accomplished this dominance by doing what they failed to do in multiple games this season, taking what the defense was giving.
Now, did we see PM 15 get a little impatient at times? Yes. Should the Raiders have had at least two picks? Yes. But, at the end of the game, they didn’t and the confidence level of this offensive is back to pre-Super Bowl levels. There were a few times when Mahomes could have cost this team point, but the team responded and recovered. Twice, from just outside the red zone with one or two first downs still available, Mahomes pressed for 20+ yard touchdowns.
This is who he is and as long as the team can recover from giving up that down, in PM 15 we trust. Mahomes ended the evening with 406 yards and five touchdowns, that has to feel great for the man who pundits said was broken.
Speaking of players who are not broken, when Travis Kelce needs a pick-me-up, get him to a Raiders tilt. With eight catches for 119 yards, Kelce continues to own the Raiders. Kelce now has tallied 781 yards receiving against the Raiders since 2018. That is more than any other player against one team during that time span. Another impressive stat for the future Hall of Famer.
One of the issues Mahomes and this team were battling this season was a lack of confidence. Mahomes didn’t trust the pocket or that his defense could hold, that should no longer be an issue moving forward. There is no victory lap after this game, there is work to be done, but to step up and recapture their swagger with 1st place on the line was huge.
Thank you, Melvin Ingram. I’m not sure what he said to the defense when he arrived, but it’s working. What an impact he has had in only his second outing with the team. Only credited for an assist against the Raiders, his presence seems to have reinvigorated the defensive front. Although only registering two sacks, this number needs to go up, Carr was pressured for the better part of the night forcing some bad throws and poor decisions. The Raiders were held to only 1/9 on third-down conversions, 50 yards rushing, less than 250 yards in the air, and 14 points. That is a solid outing for this once struggling unit.
L’Jarius Sneed has quietly turned into one of the best players on the Chiefs’ defense. With a team-leading five tackles against the Raiders, Sneed’s play continues to improve at a position the Chiefs have invested very little on. The Chiefs defense isn’t chock-full of long-term answers, but Sneed is definitely one. We can’t mention the defense’s performance without noting the forced fumble on DeSean Jackson’s first play as a Raider by Rashad Fenton.
First off, what was Jackson doing? That was the most awkward change of direction, it appeared had he kept running the Raiders score. Either way, Fenton’s ball-hawking-forced fumble-peanut punch was the beginning of the end for the Raiders. The best part of that play? Forever DeSean Jackson’s first catch as a Raider is a fumble to the Chiefs. You have got to love that.
Tommy Townsend’s contribution to this team cannot be underestimated. Last week his punting was a huge reason the Chiefs won that game. This week he throws a laser of a pass to Marcus Kemp for a first down. A play nobody expected and happened so fast that the offense was back on the field before most fans picked their jaws up off the floor. Who knew? Townsend is a stud of a punter and now teams have witnessed his ability to throw dimes. What a pick-up by Veach.
Lastly, as it turns out, Jarran Reed is in fact a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. Who knew? Reed has drawn harsh criticism, by myself and others, for his complete lack of contribution this season. An off-season acquisition that, paired with former Seahawk teammate Frank Clark, was supposed to bolster the D-line. This, in turn, would make the Chris Jones move to the outside pure genius and the D-line was setting sack records.
Well, for nine games Reed offered little to no real impact, but last night we heard his name. Reed registered not only two solo tackles, but one of the Chiefs’ two sacks. So, let’s hear it for Jarran Reed showing up to work, finally. Oh, and Daniel Sorensen is still not forgiven. That INT was like catching a pee-wee league punt. You have to be moderately surprised he didn’t tip it to a Raider receiver and miss the tackle afterward.
With their confidence soaring the Chiefs will host the Jekyll and Hyde Dallas Cowboys this Sunday at Arrowhead. After getting blown out by a mediocre Denver Broncos, the Cowboys are coming off their own 43-3 beatdown of the Atlanta Falcons. With their last game before a much-needed bye-week, the Chiefs can’t get full of themselves.
Going into the bye with a win is critical to maintaining their confidence and 1st place standing in the division. Which Cowboys team will show up? Which Chiefs team will show up? We’ll know on Sunday, but until then, there is much to rejoice in the Kingdom on this victory Monday.