With a win over the New England Patriots, there was plenty to like from the Kansas City Chiefs. At the same time, there were some low points and you could argue that the game should not have been that close. The report cards are in. Who’s stock is either rising or falling entering Week Fifteen? Let’s find out with this week’s version of three up and three down.
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It was a tough start to the game for the Chiefs. That includes Bashaud Breeland. He was too handsy, which lead to some early penalties on third down. To end the first drive, Julian Edelman fooled him on a flea flicker for a score. However, his luck turned around in the second quarter. Tom Brady threw a ball right into the waiting arms of Breeland for an interception. Later on, he laid the lick on James White near the end of the first half. This was at a time where the Chiefs defense was gladly teeing off on the Patriots. Eventually, his best play of the day sealed the game for a Kansas City victory. Breeland kept tight coverage on Edelman. The ball was a little behind the receiver, and Breeland tipped the ball away. Thus, the Patriots turned the ball over on downs.
The Defensive Line
The Chiefs’ defensive line was fired up and did not back down against Brady. With a struggling New England offensive line, Kansas City was smart to pressure often. This led to hurried throws by Brady. Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Alex Okafor each notched a sack. Derrick Nnadi and Mike Pennel did well to defend the running game. A miserable Patriots’ rushing attack continued to disappoint, which allowed the Chiefs more chances to rush the passer. Tanoh Kpassagnon was also important again. He blocked a kick for the second straight week.
Moving back to the Kansas City secondary, boy was Tyrann Mathieu effective. This kind of game was the exact reason that the Chiefs signed the Honey Badger this offseason. It’s a luxury to have an ability of moving Mathieu all over the field. He can play in the slot, rush the passer or be a natural safety. Many times, Mathieu was effective in shutting down Patriots skill players. It seemed evident that Brady and New England did not want to test him too often. Furthermore, he was important on the play where Breeland had the game winning pass breakup. Jakobi Meyers ran a route right near the goal line, but Mathieu closed down on the route at the perfect time. He finished the game with six total tackles.
The Running Game
I mentioned earlier how the game maybe should not have ended up being that close. But, the Chiefs have struggled all year running the ball. Give credit to the Patriots, they are one of the best defenses in the league. Meanwhile, with a big lead it’s tough for a team like the Chiefs to chew up clock. The running game averaged just 2.6 yards per carry on Sunday. The only rushing down for Kansas City came from tight end Travis Kelce on a creative play. Additionally, most of the runs were snuffed out quickly and had no time to develop. It could be important if the Chiefs don’t figure out the running game in time for the postseason and January football.
The Offensive Line
We always harp on the offensive line. Yet, it was difficult for this unit on Sunday. Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz were more hard pressed by dominant pass rushers. Penalties put the offense in tough down and distance situations as well. The good news, Patrick Mahomes has been one of the least hit quarterbacks in the league. If the sloppiness issues are cleaned up just a bit, they will be just fine.
The Special Teams
The Chiefs’ special teams play has been improved as of late. However, there were a couple of mistakes on Sunday. The biggest one of all, was the punt that the Patriots blocked. Andy Reid says there was supposed to be a fake on that play. Regardless, there was confusion from the blockers and New England got some momentum. The blocked punt resulted in a touchdown run for the Patriots on a reverse to Brandon Bolden.
That will wrap up this week’s version of three up and three down. Be on the lookout for more Chiefs content later on this week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– 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.