The Kansas City Chiefs came out on top against the Minnesota Vikings, due to a game winning field goal. Furthermore, the Chiefs emerged victorious because they beat the Vikings in all three facets of the game. The report cards are in. Who’s stock is either rising or falling entering Week Ten? Let’s find out with our version of four up and three down.
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This was likely the best game of the season for Tyreek Hill. Since returning from injury, he has been essential in big moments. To start the game, he laid out and hauled in a catch for a 40 yard touchdown. That put the Chiefs on top first. There were a few other times when Hill connected with Matt Moore to move the chains on a crucial down. For example, one catch he had left the cornerback in the dust on a double move and Kansas City gained 30 yards. Later on, Hill beat Trae Waynes on an out and up route, before snatching the ball right above Waynes’s face. That was a 41 yard gain. Finally, Moore found him on a quick pass over the middle on 3rd and 4 to set up the game winning field goal. Hill seems to be just getting started on regaining his electric play we saw before the injury.
The Defensive Line
Welcome back to the lineup Chris Jones. Jones returned from a groin injury to show he is still a game wrecker up front. In fact, the entire defensive line ruined any good fortunes that the Vikings offense had going. Due to other injuries, Jones played on the edge at times, besides just his usual defensive tackle spot. When on the edge, it helped to slow down Dalvin Cook. Meanwhile, Tanoh Kpassagnon has blowing blockers up. He may not always generate a lot of tackles. But, Kpassagnon forces ball carriers or quarterbacks to have to alter their decisions and change direction.
Throughout the last few weeks, Derrick Nnadi has been playing the best ball of his season. Nnadi overpowered the Vikings interior offensive line, and generated six tackles. The rookie Khalen Saunders continues to improve each week he is given the chance. He had a key pass deflection at the line of scrimmage in crunch time. Lastly, Mike Pennel looks to be a middle of the season signing that paid off. He’s only been there two games, and he is already bullying people up front. He has five tackles in two games, including a tackle for loss in this contest. This Chiefs defensive line has energized this front seven during this recent improvement defensively.
After LeSean McCoy‘s recent struggles, it was time to hand the majority of the running back duties over to Damien Williams. Williams had his best game of the season on Sunday. Additionally, he logged the most snaps he has in a single game this year. His 91 yard rushing touchdown put the Chiefs back on top 17-16 at the time. That was a tremendous hole the blockers created to spring him free, and then he only had to step around one man. That run tied Jamaal Charles for the longest touchdown run in franchise history. To boot, he managed to gain 125 rushing yards on the day. Before this Vikings game, Williams had just 100 rushing yards in his first six games this season combined. It just so looks like he has regained the starting running back role.
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The reason this week’s piece is four up, three down and not three up, three down is because we need to give props to the kicker. Harrison Butker had entered this game with a few misses on the season, including one from 50 yards the week before. He just wasn’t connecting on the long range kicks so far this year. However, he came through under pressure this week. First, Butker drilled a 54 yard attempt to tie the game. Then, he lifted the Chiefs to victory with a make from 44 yards as time expired.
Pass Defense Vs Running Backs
The Chiefs defense has defended the pass splendidly lately. But it was the screens and passes to the running backs in the flats that beat the Chiefs plenty of times. Honestly, Dalvin Cook did more damage as a receiver than as a runner. One Minnesota touchdown was to a wide open Ameer Abdullah in the flats. It looked like Morris Claiborne maybe forgot to cover that spot. Who knows who’s fault it really was. If the Chiefs continue to play against the pass this well against the receivers, then things will be fine. But, too many underneath or short, delayed throws are costing Kansas City too many yards.
It’s been a while since we have placed Cam Erving in this three down portion. But, it’s time he appears here again. Erving was beaten too easily by the ferocious Minnesota pass rush. Moore was sacked five times. On one in particular, Erving’s guy beat him for the sack and he was still called for holding. Later in the contest, a crucial false start nearly ruined the Chiefs chances. Fortunately for them, Moore bailed them out. If it wasn’t before, it’s even more clear that Kansas City needs Eric Fisher back protecting the QB’s blindside.
Mecole Hardman has not made too many mistakes in his rookie season. Meanwhile, there was big one to begin the second half. Hardman was hit by Mike Hughes after a long kickoff return and fumbled the ball. That is the second time he has fumbled on a kick return, the other being against the Lions. Special teams has been slightly worse this year for Kansas City, and will need to be cleaned up down the stretch. Also, Hardman did not have a large role on Sunday. He finished with just one carry for seven yards and zero catches.
That will conclude four up and three down. Be on the lookout for more Chiefs articles this week. Stay tuned to Full Press Coverage, for more great sports and NFL content.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.