The Chiefs count their blessings after being down 17-0 in the first quarter, outscoring the Raiders 30-12 in the rest of the game. Even after starting 4-1 for the fourth time in the Mahomes’ era, the team has some things to fix and some notable adjustments.
Well that was an interesting game, to say the least, it’s hard to ask for your team to play so bad then play so good, and barely come out on top. But the Chiefs specialize in playing weird and uncomfortable games, especially with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. Mahomes is the best quarterback in the league while trailing by 10 or more points, winning over half of those games while the rest of the league barely wins 15% of those games.
This was a weird game from all sides, the Raiders had weird plays, the Chiefs had weird plays, and the referees were just so bad throughout the game. The referees have been under scrutiny over the past couple of weeks for player safety concerns and then have been calling bad roughing-the-passer penalties. The worst, at least before Monday, was the soft Chairman call against the Falcons and it helped the Buccaneers win a ball game.
Now it was the Monday Night Crew’s time to shine, they threw the worst roughing the pass penalty ever seen again the Chiefs, going from a turnover to three free points for the Raiders. It was a bad look for the refs, and it probably made it so much worse for the Raiders. Arrowhead was alive and was angry, a thing Arrowhead hasn’t been in a long time. It was nice to see Arrowhead back to where it was in the early 2000s, angry, loud, and helping to change the game’s outcome.
But in the end, the Chiefs won the game, and the national discussion on roughing the passer has been interesting, to say the least. Here are the takeaways from the Chiefs’ win over the Raiders on Monday Night Football.
It’s a Good Idea to Not Anger Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce have been the most productive Quarterback and Tight End duo over the past five seasons, and they haven’t missed a step this season. But down 17-0 in the first half, the Raiders defensive players started to chirp at Mahomes and Kelce, which seems like a really dumb idea.
The Raiders had been dominating the Chiefs’ offense, but when the Chiefs scored a second touchdown and some pushing and shoving, Patrick Mahomes let them know where he was.
For what it’s worth, it was the first time Chiefs’ Kingdom actively saw Mahomes talk back to a defender and it probably was a terrifying sight to the Raiders’ defense which was now reeling. Kansas City’s defense helped to respond and got a three-and-out on the next drive, where Patrick Mahomes and Kelce met up for their third touchdown of the night, taking the lead back. After this touchdown, Kelce decided it was time for him to talk and all call out the Raider’s defense.
So it’s safe to say, don’t make Kelce and Mahomes mad, they were talking back to the Raiders all night long. It looks like Mahomes is still as good as he always is and Kelce is on track for another 1,000-yard season.
The Run Defense Needs a Little Work
The Chiefs came into Monday Night boasting the league’s best-run defense, and it got tested by the Raiders early. Josh Jacobs ran all over the defense, getting over six yards per carry and letting the Raiders’ offense get comfortable. The Raiders were able to comfortably get between the tackles all night long and they ran at Khalen Saunders for the majority of the game.
Tershawn Wharton, the usual starter next to Chris Jones, exited in the first half with a torn ACL and the Raiders took full advantage. Saunders struggled on playing the run, sometimes getting pushed back and opening up a hole which let Jacobs get to the third level on a lot of runs. The Chiefs also started rookie Leo Chenal, a hard nose linebacker from Wisconsin and he didn’t look great for Kansas City either.
The only guys who played well against the run were Nick Bolton and Darius Harris, they made sure tackles all night and even made some big key plays in the game. Bolton has been one of the best linebackers in the league this season and has been so hard-hitting that he reminds a lot of the old Chiefs fans of Derrick Johnson. The defense for the Chiefs may need some retooling after losing Wharton, but don’t be surprised if they make a trade or get someone off the buyout market later in the season.
MVS and JuJu Seem to be Finally Finding Their Roles in the Offense
Marquez Valdez-Scantling has quietly turned into the favorite wide receiver of Patrick Mahomes, MVS and Mahomes have started to find a rhythm over the past two games. MVS has only had one “drop” over the two games while reeling in nine receptions for 126 yards. The issues with trusting receivers seem to be over with at this point, MVS has been really steady up to this point, but he’s not the only receiver to finally be comfortable in this offense.
JuJu Smith-Schuster has been finding his stride in the offense as well, he hasn’t put up a lot of gaudy statistics, but the man has been reliable in the short game, something he was great at in Pittsburgh. JuJu doesn’t care about the spotlight on the field, he is an old-school bruiser in the run game. Mahomes has used this tough-nosed football mindset of JuJu on slant routes and out routes, and JuJu runs downhill to get extra yardage on those plays.
While Mecole Hardman and Skyy Moore have been receiving limited snaps so far, it is fascinating to see how much Patrick Mahomes is starting to trust his wideouts more and more as the season progresses. MVS and JuJu might not be the best wideouts but they have slowly found their roles in the offense.