In what was a mesmerizing loss for the Kansas City Chiefs, they now sit at 6-4 after falling to the Tennessee Titans. There were some positives for the Chiefs. However, many of the negatives spoiled the bright spots in a large way. The report cards are in. Who’s stock is either rising or falling entering Week Eleven? Let’s find out with this week’s version of three up and three down.
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After missing the last two and a half games, Patrick Mahomes was exceptional in his return from injury. Was his knee still bothering him? Maybe, but overall Mahomes went out and found success with his general, magnificent style. For the stat lovers out there, his 446 yards passing stand out. The QB also threw for three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, there were many remarkable plays made by Mahomes as well. His ability to avoid pressure can become secondary each week. Also, his jump pass shocked many people. This play wound up being a perfectly placed ball to Mecole Hardman for a 63 yard touchdown. Mahomes’ accuracy was the thing that stood out the most. He was dialed in from the end of the first drive, throughout the entire game. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, many of his well placed balls were either dropped or broken up with strong defensive plays. He put the Chiefs in a position to win, but it was not enough once again.
It was another game, in which Chris Jones was unruly up front. His play continues to grow week after week, making his potential price for this offseason rise and rise even more. Jones was able to take advantage of the beleaguered Titans offensive line. He toyed with them. More importantly, his strength was enough to defeat double teams more than once. As a result, Jones was able to register two sacks and a forced fumble.
Tyreek Hill has had the hot hand since returning from injury against the Houston Texans. And rightfully so, as he is besting opposing defenders with ease. Against the Titans, Hill was making the tough catches to go along with the big plays. Because of that, Mahomes targeted him 19 times in this contest. It’s amazing to see how Hill can stretch out plays to get the extra yards. Even if it is just an additional six yards, Hill sets up his team well situationally. Hill finished Sunday’s game with 11 catches, 157 yards and a touchdown.
The Special Teams
I don’t remember seeing Kansas City struggle with special teams under this coaching staff. Special teams coach Dave Toub has always been a key in the team’s success. However, very little success has come from his unit this season. Those struggles increased to a new level and burst in Nashville. Special teams penalties and fumbles have been a problem all year. Additionally, it doesn’t seem to matter who is back returning punts, the Chiefs field so many at the five yard line. That happened on Sunday.
On the other hand, the mistakes made late in the game involved so much tomfoolery. The long snapper James Winchester snapped the ball too early and too low. Thus, punter and holder Dustin Colquitt threw the ball away. But, it was intentional grounding and the Titans took over on downs. On the blocked kick to end the game, the Tennessee defender, Joshua Kalu, timed the jump perfectly and Blake Bell was not quick enough to slow him down.
The Run Defense
After three improved weeks from the run defense, all of the past issues arose again on Sunday. With an offense like the Titans, you know they are going to want to lean on the running game of Derrick Henry. The Chiefs linebackers flow sideways more often than not, rather than filling a hole. That was at least the case in this game, and Henry was aware to cutback away from the traffic.
Henry is a large, bruising back. You can’t let him gain six to seven yards before laying a hand on him. Henry does have the speed to run away from defensive backs too. For example, once Juan Thornhill whiffed on one play, Henry outraced Charvarius Ward for a 68 yard score. Henry had a fabulous game, where he gained 188 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The Offensive Line
This seems like a minor issue. However, there is serious questions for how this unit will look throughout the rest of the year and going into 2020. Martinas Rankin, whom the Chiefs acquired in a trade with Houston this offseason, had been playing really well. Sadly, Kansas City has lost him for the season with a knee injury.
The Chiefs now have a makeshift unit up front protecting Mahomes. Many of the interior players like Austin Reiter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and others need an impressive stretch run to finish the season. If not, Kansas City would be wise to add multiple players for those spots next season.
That will conclude this week’s version of three up and three down. Be on the lookout for more Chiefs content during the 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.