In Week Four, the Kansas City Chiefs got back in the win column by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles. It was an extremely efficient day for the Patrick Mahomes-led offense, sans a couple of snaps. Meanwhile, the defense finally made some strong stands in the red zone. It was not a perfect day for the Chiefs defense by any means. However, they got off the field on some crucial downs.
The major issues still revert back to fundamentals and discipline. That will be heavily focused upon going into a monster home Sunday night game against the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo has dominated in their last three games. Therefore, any hesitation or minor slip up could snowball when facing a challenging team like that.
Before we move on to Bills week, we will look back on the top notes from Kansas City’s win in Philadelphia. What were some of the top things we learned from the Chiefs? Plus, which players’ stocks are rising or falling entering Week Five? Let’s kick it off.
Top Five Things We Learned
The Chiefs Offense Can Win Methodically
Andy Reid has wanted the offense to become more balanced. The new look offensive line is powerful enough to lean on that in the run game, while still learning as pass blockers. To boot, Coach Reid knows they must adjust to a more even attack in order to get where they want to be at the end of the season. Other than the Mahomes interception, this offense made very few mistakes.
More importantly, the Chiefs attempted to keep their defense fresh. It may not have resulted as good defensively as they had hoped. But, five of the six Kansas City touchdown drives were eight plays or more and 75 yards or more. The only one that was not, was the game icing long bomb to Tyreek Hill.
This offense could win explosively if they want to. However, this roster does not have the makeup to do that as consistently as they did two years ago. This patient, controlled offensive attack should only further the Chiefs’ chances by the end of the season.
Kansas City’s Running Game Is Just Fine
If you wanted to nitpick, there were a few runs where the Kansas City offense left a few extra yards out there. Nonetheless, nearly every rushing attempt resulted in a positive outcome. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams and even fullback Michael Burton on his lone carry picked up the short yardage needed to move the chains on tough, hard-nosed runs. Clyde and Darrel each displayed some burst before reaching contact. Finally, Mahomes saved some Kansas City drives from ending with a tremendous feel of the pocket and escaping to the outside edges for a first down.
What makes Edwards-Helaire and Williams a nice pairing, is that they each have a different rushing style. Clyde can make defenders miss. Furthermore, his patience and spatial awareness outside of the tackles can lead to chunk play after chunk play. Williams is more of a straight shooter, so to speak. He is just simply going to barrel his way up the field. He does not care if he has to run you over, Williams is generally falling forward and picking up positive yards. His sneaky good field vision is a nice element for this Chiefs rushing attack to have.
Spags’ Old Ways Created More Pressure
Creating pressure with four is still a work in progress for Kansas City’s defense. Yet, they were able to affect Jalen Hurts on crucial downs. This forced him to either throw it away, force balls into coverage, or take off and run. Hurts still turned in an admirable performance overall.
The positive for the Chiefs was that they were able to get home this time with extra rushers. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo used his patented defensive back blitzes from multiple gaps to confuse the Eagles quarterback. In particular, L’Jarius Sneed and Tyrann Mathieu had the most success in pressuring Hurts. Their speed left the opposing quarterback in precarious positions. Choosing when to bring extra rushers is still a challenge for Spagnuolo as a whole. Though, the Chiefs looked more comfortable doing that this week.
This Secondary Is Getting Worse
The same problems that plagued Kansas City’s secondary in Week Three remained this week in Philadelphia. Miscommunication and timing led to explosive completions for the Eagles offense. Moreover, the reactionary timing, failing to pick up the ball in the air and getting lost in space hurt them again. This showed up mightily in the short to intermediate passing game. And once again, the secondary’s best athlete (Juan Thornhill) saw minimal snaps, even after the Eagles were thriving with quick passes.
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Entering a week in which they will face Josh Allen, the Chiefs’ secondary must start to incorporate more mixed coverages. Man coverage attempts are allowing long passes to be completed at ease. Soft zone coverage attempts are leaving too much room for opposing receivers to work with.
Even With Turnovers, Mahomes Has Been Extremely Efficient
The interception against the Eagles was not a very good decision. Travis Kelce was essentially double covered, and the throw was behind him. All in all however, Mahomes has been efficient and calculated in three of the first four weeks.
He is allowing his receivers to quickly get extra yards after the catch, by placing the ball in a spot to where they do not have to break stride. Mahomes has also matured to taking what the defense is giving him. In fact, most of his throws to the outside were short throws, after he worked through his progression. Mahomes’ completion percentage has been at or above 75 percent in every game this year, except for the Chargers loss. And, his accuracy has been largely linear to all areas of the field so far.
After two games of minimal production, Hill showed why he is one of the league’s best wide receivers. His fluid route running makes him nearly unguardable, especially when you have the world class speed that Hill possesses. His evolution as an overall pass catcher has made him extremely reliable in contested catch situations or over the middle of the field. Hill finished the day with 11 catches on 12 targets, 186 receiving yards (16.9 yards per reception) and three receiving touchdowns.
We mentioned the efficiency from Mahomes already. It was also an impressive bounce back performance, given the results of winning with simplicity. He did not have to improvise or do too much to pull the Chiefs across the finish line. Two of the touchdown passes came on inside shovel passes. But, it felt like an easy, ho-hum day for Mahomes in the TD pass category. Throwing for five scores should not look that easy.
The Chiefs defensive line is struggling to create pressure as a whole. The lone bright spot? Not the guy many would expect. Mike Danna continues to affect the quarterback with effort and an improved array of pass rush counter moves. He is starting to win more with his hands, power and reducing rush angles. Danna’s two sacks on Sunday give him the team lead in that category through the first four games (three sacks). That quietly puts him in the top thirteen in the NFL through the season’s first quarter.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire And Darrel Williams
As mentioned above, CEH and Williams proved they could be reliable if called upon heavily. They sliced through tight holes to gain additional yardage. The determined, tough runs mentally fatigued the Eagles defense. Additionally, they were gaining chunks of yardage that we usually see the Chiefs defense give up per carry. Edwards-Helaire had his second straight 100 yard game and finished with 7.3 yards per attempt. Williams finished with 4.2 yards per attempt in a limited role.
Out of all of the Kansas City defensive backs, Mike Hughes continues to trend the wrong way at a rapid rate. He gave up plenty of long catches to the Eagles after letting receivers get behind him. His instincts appeared to be a strength in his Vikings days. That has not been the case at all with the Chiefs. He looks too uncomfortable and extremely panicked while the ball is in the air. Lastly, Hughes has allowed 11.2 yards per reception and his completion percentage allowed when targeted (66.7 percent) is the second worst number of his career.
Receivers Behind Hill
We were continued to be reminded as to why Josh Gordon was brought in. The pass catchers behind Hill had little to no impact on the game. At least from a consistency standpoint, the opposing defense has not had to account for anything extra to the trio of Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson. Pringle and Hardman combined for just four catches and 39 receiving yards. Honestly, Hardman may only be able to win on quick passes. He also left some yards out there in Philadelphia. On the flip side, Robinson did not even generate a single target or catch. The depth at tight end and running back has been just as productive in the passing game, if not more, than him so far.
Anthony Hitchens And Nick Bolton
The linebacker duo of the Chiefs struggled to get in a rhythm. Anthony Hitchens was blown back noticeably in the running game. He could not get in a comfortable position to make tackles. Meanwhile, Nick Bolton was just a step too late across the board. His reactions to passes over the middle or to the flats was just a click too slow. Even though these two have not been the most glaring part of the Chiefs defense, getting Willie Gay back soon will be crucial to these two.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles throughout 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.
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