It was definitely not the best performance we have seen from the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The defense struggled to tackle and got blown back throughout the contest. Offensively, there were issues in blocking and occasional dropped passes. Thankfully for Kansas City, quarterback Patrick Mahomes was given a chance to work some magic. And he did just that. Now, let’s recap some of the major highlights from Sunday’s game.
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The Herbert Show
After believing we would see a safer offensive approach with Tyrod Taylor all week, things did not go according to plan. In pregame warmups, Taylor suffered a chest injury and was unfit to play. This opened the door for rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. The sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had one of the more impressive showings among recent NFL debuts.
His comfort level was noticeable, as Herbert beat the Chiefs defense in the short, intermediate and deep passing game. To boot, the Oregon product was not afraid to tuck it and run to pick up tough yardage. Other than a few questionable decisions, Herbert was poised and looked worth the first round pick that the Chargers spent on him. But will he continue to get that chance? More to come later on in this piece.
Another Slow Start
We talked about Kansas City being slow out of the blocks in recent matchups with this AFC West rival. That was evident once again this time around. From the get go, the Chiefs offensive line was backing themselves into a corner. And they largely could not escape out of that.
Receivers were struggling to have time to run the routes, get open or make some catches that hit their hands. Mahomes was trying to muster all he could. But early on, it just was not his greatest showing. He attempted to stay tough in the pocket and let plays develop. However, nothing opened up and the Chargers pass rush was growing increasingly confident in every passing situation. Thankfully in the end, they had a shot to redeem themselves.
Chargering At Its Finest
As well as the Chargers played in this contest on both sides of the ball, the critical errors they are accustomed to making loomed large. Defensively, they gave Mahomes and Kansas City free play after free play with numerous offsides penalties. A lack of aggressive play calling that had been there all game on both sides, seemingly disappeared. Of course players are tired. Nonetheless, the offense seemed to play too safe and the defense stopped challenging Kansas City’s blockers with blitzes.
This allowed the Chiefs to hang around. That is the number one thing you cannot do against them, either. In overtime, Los Angeles’ decision to punt on 4th and 1 was unexplainable. Giving the ball back to Mahomes was a critical mistake. And finally, after Herbert goes out and battles like he did, head coach Anthony Lynn says Taylor is still the starter if healthy? This seems like a statement to please the veteran, when Lynn could have just said they would make a decision later on.
Doing The Dirty Work
In the fourth quarter, Mahomes finally said he would go out and throw rockets all over the yard. His touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, when rolling out to the right, could not have been a better placed ball. Hill’s speed helped to beat double coverage, however the quarterback ignited his teammates once again. His decision making, progressions and reading the field in big moments continue to grow rapidly. Moreover, Mahomes never say die attitude continues to be a big reason of why he is among the greater quarterbacks in the NFL.
The two most respected teams in the AFC will get together for a battle on Monday Night Football to close out Week Three. Kansas City travels to the Charm City to take on the Baltimore Ravens. Both 2-0 teams have faced off in highly anticipated games the last couple of years. The Chiefs have won both in thrilling action, both at Arrowhead Stadium. This time, Kansas City tries to do the same thing to the Ravens on the road.
For all of our preview coverage of the Chiefs upcoming game against the Ravens, stay tuned during the week. Keep things locked on 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.