In a nailbiter of a game. In the last seven minutes of Sunday’s game, the Kansas City Chiefs had to come from behind to secure the victory at home over a very stout Cleveland Browns 33-29! So let’s take a look at the Kansas City Chiefs: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
At the beginning of the game, the ugly was the run defense, hands down. That porous left side of the defensive line allowed gaping holes that any running back in any league could’ve gained massive yards on every handoff. RB Nick Chubb gashed the Chiefs D for 83 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Former Chief Kareem Hunt had equal success with six carries for 33 yards and a TD. Both running backs averaged 5.5 yards a carry. In fact, all of the TD for Cleveland came from running plays. So to say the run defense is porous is really an understatement.
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With that being said, the run defense did seem to solidify a bit in the second half. They seemed to tighten down on the run, making Baker Mayfield look for the pass more often. Chief’s run defense did allow a running TD in the fourth quarter of two yards.
We all know that the Chiefs’ defense was down some key pieces. DE Frank Clark was a huge hole to fill, and no doubt was a major reason for the gaping holes in the line. Also, S Tyrann Mathieu was out, allowing many of the runs to get to the second level. Mathieu may have secured himself an extension in Kansas City. I believe him missing that game and how the defense started showed the Chief’s front office what an asset he is to the defense.
I will hold off on major judgment on the run defense until the defense is fully on the field. Also, when they are up against arguably one of the best running back duos in the NFL, you have to allow them some leeway and understanding. However, the DC has got to make sure next week’s game fills all the holes.
The Bad: Running Game
The running game is going to have to get better. I know new O-Line, but the run game needs to get going with a combined 73 yards, including Mahomes’ five carries for 18 yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire did receive a bulk of the carries and broke one for nine yards. CEH had 14 carries for 43 yards combined with three catches for 29 yards. His day wasn’t bad. It just needs to be a little better.
I know the Chiefs have a pass-first mentality, but a solid run game makes the passing game that much better. Again, I know the O-line is new, and they were up against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. But, things have got to improve on that aspect as well.
The Bad: Defense
We talked run defense, but the defense as a whole has got to get stronger. Baker Mayfield went 21/28 for 321 yards and one carry for seven yards. Now, they didn’t allow any passing TDs, but there were some big receptions. TE David Njoku and WR Anthony Schwartz had receptions for over 40 yards. No one had 100 yards receiving, but Njoku ended the day with 76.
The defense did get two sacks. Both by DT Chris Jones. They also created a couple of costly turnovers. LB Ben Niemann recovered a fumble that led to a Harrison Butker field goal. And Mike Hughes had an interception to seal the game with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter.
My Thoughts On The Bad
I am still going to withhold defensive judgment until the full defense is on the field. Also, the D did seem to solidify and get strong as the game wore on. In the beginning, I believe a stronger defense is what the key will be for the upcoming work week.
The Chiefs did lean on CEH in the second half quite a bit. So in the future, I would like to see more of that. Not becoming a run-first team. But, leaning on a solid run game. Plus, it will work wonders for QB1’s already awesome play-action game.
Take your pick for the good. Offensive Line protecting the passer, only allowing two sacks. Patrick Mahomes looking magnificent at QB1, going 27/36 for 337 yards, three passing TDs, and running one in himself. Tyreek Hill burning the Browns secondary for 11 catches for 197 yards and a 75 yard TD. Kelce bulling his way to 6 catches for 76 yards and two TDs. How about special teams doing what they had to do to keep their team in the game, including a great turnover on downs for a short field after a botched punt attempt.
Byron Pringle had a nice kickoff return of 24 yards, which gave the offense a nice starting position. Harrison Burker also made all of his attempts, including a 43 yarder. Finally, Tommy Townsend showed his leg with two punts averaging 45.5 yards.
My thoughts On The Good
I was very pleased to see how the O-Line protected QB1. They seem to be jelling very well in that common goal. And after the Superbowl, Chiefs fans will take what we saw on Sunday’s game. Mahomes looked comfortable in the pocket, he had time, and you could see the proof on the field. He even had a sidearm, no-look pass around a defensive lineman. Yep, his magnificence is back! Hill, Kelce showed their top form as well. CEH ran hard and seemed to answer when the team leaned on him in the second half.
All in all, at the end of the day. A win is a win. Some have called it an ugly win. Maybe it was. But, if you look close, you saw a team that was behind for over 50 minutes. Come back and close out the game with a win against an excellent opponent. The road to redemption has begun!
*All info from NFL.com
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