Keys from the Chiefs’ 41-31 win over Tampa

Kansas City entered Tampa and the Chiefs dominated the Buccaneers’ best-rated defense behind Patrick Mahomes and Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s stunning performances.

Over the past couple of weeks, the sports media have been looking at the Chiefs’ offense like they would an old pair of sneakers, functional but not in fashion. The Chiefs’ offense faced two stout defenses with great game plans, the Chargers overwhelmed them with their talent, the Colts found ways to confuse them, and now the Chiefs had to go into Tampa and face the best defense in the league. It was a challenge they may not have looked ready to face if you were on the outside in, but the Chiefs seemed poised and prepared.

The offense seemed precise and crisp, the offensive line served up large stacks of pancakes, and Patrick Mahomes looked for the kill shot at every possible chance. The defense was manageable, making key plays in situations they needed to. With the third win of the season under the belt of Kansas City, here are some notes as we go through the season.

The Chiefs’ Offensive Line is Still One of the Best

Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, and Trey Smith have been bright spots throughout the rough start for the offensive line, they have consistently gotten critical blocks on run and pass plays. But when Shaquille Barrett decided to question the improvements along the offensive line, the line responded in a big way.

Orlando Brown Jr and Andrew Wylie weren’t perfect against Barrett, but they were able to hold the All-Pro pass-rusher from registering a sack on Patrick Mahomes. Orlando Brown wasn’t the best in pass protection, but he was able to push guys around in the run game, helping to spring Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco for solid gains all night long.

It’s hard to explain why the Chiefs’ offensive line hasn’t been bad over the past couple of weeks, but they have had a lot of communication and recognition issues. Against Tampa, they looked like they were back to where they started.

Patrick Mahomes is still that dude

So….. Patrick Mahomes is still the best quarterback in the league and it’s not close. Say what you will about how the league has changed and how these young talented guys are playing really good football, Patrick Mahomes is still putting up his usual numbers.

Even through what was seen as two “bad” weeks offensively, the Chiefs’ offense still put up 17 points and could have had more if some minor plays were made. So when all of the sports media decided to say he was falling behind, it was time for “Petty Pat” to come out and play.

Mahomes threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns against the Bucs, which might seem like pedestrian numbers for Patrick, but he was electric with every throw. He was dialed in and ready to dismantle the Buccaneers’ defense.

With one of the top ten throws of his career under his belt (a hard list to crack for Patrick), he was fully in control of the game in the second quarter. He benefitted from the consistency of the run game and looks to have the Chiefs have an emphasis on the running game going forward.

Jaylen Watson and L’Jarius Sneed are helping to fill the void of Trent McDuffie

Seventh-round pick and starting corner Jaylen Watson has been playing exceptional football in the first four games of his young career and might have secured a starting spot even after Trent McDuffie returns from his injury. 

Sneed has been one of the featured players for the Chiefs’ defense in the past couple of seasons and has been trying to find a defined role in this defense. He has been a nickel corner, a left corner, or sometimes he plays a roaming safety. But it seems like this season his role has been to be a nickel corner and blitzer out of the slot. Sneed has the most sacks by a defensive back this season with three and has forced three fumbles on his pressures. 

Sneed seems to be finally comfortable in his role with the Chiefs, especially since Jaylen Watson has been playing all-around great football for the Chiefs. Watson wasn’t supposed to be here, a seventh-round draft pick out of Washington State was going to be a project or a special teams player, but he had an exceptional preseason for Kansas City. The cornerback has been playing all over the defense for the Chiefs and has been the number-one corner in some of these games when Rashad Fenton was hurt. 

Watson and Sneed have been two surprises for this defense, but the defense overall has been extremely impressive. The Chiefs host the number-one rushing defense in the league, have consistently gotten pressure, and have been able to force turnovers.

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