Chiefs Focus @chiefsfocus Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Well, well, well. We’ve reached the midway point of the 2021 NFL season, and the Kansas City Chiefs have clawed their way back to within a half game of the lead for the AFC West, with a date with first place Las Vegas looming on Sunday night. 9 weeks of certainly polarizing football (and off the field happenings) are behind us, and the once 2-3 Chiefs find themselves at 5-4 and squarely in the thick of not just the division race, but still somehow in play for the top seed in the AFC. Do they need some help to get there? Sure. But they’re gotten help to get to where they are today, and have taken advantage of those opportunities thus far. By the time Collinsworth rolls into the screen on Sunday night, we could also have another weapon on the roster as well. With how the Chiefs started, each week of the season has become the campaign’s most important – there are seemingly no gimmes in 2021. So, let’s talk about the biggest game we’ve played so far in last week’s win over Green Bay.
Now, I’m not the type to put together some BS “rapid reax” post game blog that just summarizes what you just watched like some of the other Chiefs coverage available for your consumption. I like to gather perspective, confirm that perspective, and put out something that is quality. That, and it takes me a little while to decompress after Chiefs games, win or lose. Ok, enough fo that. On to the football.
Jordan Love’s NFL debut did not go as the Packers probably planned. While the second year signal caller did not play terribly, amassing 190 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 INT, and 23 rushing yards, he was pressured all night and looked generally overwhelmed by the suddenly fierce KC pass rush. Led by Chris Jones (7 pressures), Frank Clark (relentless on the rush all night long – not seeing many question his effort after this performance), and the king of first impressions Melvin Ingram (4 pressures) the Chiefs did not relent all night on the young QB. They pressured the Packers on 49% of the snaps on Sunday, which ultimately set the tone for by far the best defensive showing of the year so far for Steve Spagnuolo’s bunch. Worth mentioning that Derrick Nnadi also silently had the Chiefs 5th highest PFF gradeout on Sunday night. The only real negative from Sunday defensively was on the lone touchdown that the squad gave up on the evening. The score came when Allen Lazard was matched up in man coverage with – you guessed it – Daniel Sorensen. For the 9th week in a row, the Kingdom collectively begs that the Daniel Sorensen experiment come to an end. We can’t take it anymore.
Special teams was also an incredible bright spot for the Chiefs, and an incredibly glaring hole for the Packers. Tommy Townsend (to be mentioned later in this post) was lights out on Sunday. It’s incredible that the punter with the least reps in the NFL might just be the best at his position, but we seem to have that in Tommy T. The Packers might be looking for a new holder this week, as Mason Crosby was victim to two sets of stiches directly applied to the kicking portion of his foot, and the Packers punt returners got in the holiday spirit early – handing out gift after gift to the Chiefs punt squad as special teams blunders gave the Chiefs exceptional field position on both sides of the ball all night. The offense didn’t necessarily take advantage of this, but it certainly allowed the defense to be a little more aggressive in their approach, and they certainly were advantageous with this.
Offensively, the first drive was nothing short of a masterpiece. 15 play – 7 run, 8 pass (perfect balance) – and 7:55 taken off of the clock. The running game was crisp, the intermediate passing game was crisp, and we avoided the completely unnecessary trick plays that we’ve been apt to this season. After that, though, Kansas City could not get much going. Credit Green Bay’s defense for also bringing the wood on Sunday. The Packers overall, in fact, played very well – offensively with Aaron Jones, Aj Dillon, and the stable of receivers making plays at times, and defensively with the entire unit showing up and making life tough for the Chiefs. Kansas City’s offense may have been slow, but there were definitely improvements made from previous weeks. First and foremost – Patrick Mahomes look to be much, much more comfortable behind this revamped (and very, very good) offensive line. He did not have happy feet this week, he did not panic, and he did not vacate the pocket far too early as he has the entire rest of the season. He looked cool, calm, and collected. Did he miss a few throws? Yes. Specifically to Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill on deep throws in the second and third quarters. Not the outcome we wanted on those two plays, but the fact that those opened up against a disciplined Green Bay defense due to how we schemed the first part of the game is a huge step in the marathon chess match that is a NFL season. We have a lot of football left to play, and the balance we need to find on offense seems to be finding us.
The offensive play calling to me is the biggest call out of this game. What were we doing? Like I mentioned above, the first drive was a master class in offensive football, particularly with this iteration of the Chiefs offense. Run the ball, pass the ball, punch it in for a score. Multiple tight end sets, aggressiveness in the run blocking schemes, and taking what the defense gave us. Three recipes to success. And then we completely abandon it. Trying to throw 15-20 yard passes on first down, running on second and long, and getting ourselves into far too frequent third and long situations. The players are responsible for playing the game, but if the coaches do not put them in a position to succeed, they simply cannot.
Game balls for this week :
- The entire defensive line
- Tommy Townsend
- Patrick Mahomes
Midseason Quick Hitters
- KC moves to 5-4 with Las Vegas next on the schedule. Vegas comes off of a loss at the New York Giants, as well as having cut their other 2020 first round draft pick Damon Arnette after he visited a much darker part of TikTok than Jackson Mahomes could ever dream of
- Odell Beckham Jr. cleared waivers today, and has reportedly been in discussion with the Chiefs, among 3 other teams (Packers, Saints, Patriots)
- Kyle Long was activated off of the Chiefs PUP list today, and could be in the mix for playing time at right tackle with injuries to Lucas Niang and Mike Remmers
I know what you’re thinking – what the hell kind of midseason outlook is this? You basically just summarized my Tuesday Twitter feed? Come back tomorrow for a fully in depth midseason breakdown, including LaCharles’ playoff predictions, where our Chiefs will end up, midseason awards, and a stab in the dark at who will take those awards away at season’s end and why. It’s Raider week, Chiefs Kingdom. Let’s get excited, because for the first time all season we have a lot to be excited about.