Winners and Losers from Week 9
The Kansas City Chiefs survived a thriller in their 20-17 OT win against the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs now have a 6-2 record and with the Bills losing to the Jets, they are tied for the top spot in the AFC and remain the best in the AFC West.
There were players that stood out in this one, especially with the snaps played and the significance of their reps. I will list the winners and losers of week 9 for the Chiefs.
Week 9 Winners
1. Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback
Chiefs MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes is back in the top spot at the MVP award. The Chiefs found itself trailing the Titans 17-9 with just over 7 minutes left to play in the 4th quarter and facing 3rd-and-17. Mahomes decided, instead of using his golden arm, scrambled for 20 yards to keep the drive alive. He would later scramble again for a 14-yard touchdown and two-point conversion to knot the game at 17 each.
That led to an overtime period where MVPat again put together the go-ahead scoring drive. Mahomes also used his legs to extend plays and set up throws down the field. In overtime, he rolled out on a 3rd-and-inches play where he avoided a potential sack and completed a jaw-dropping 27-yard pass to Noah Gray that put them deep into Titans territory to set up the go-ahead 28 yard field goal by Harrison Butker. Mahomes fought tooth and nail from bad offensive line play and bad play calling, he found a way to keep his team uptight and leave the victory.
2. Steve Spagnuolo and The Defense
Fans have their feelings on Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. There are some good, some bad and overall mixed. However, Spagnuolo not only coached his best game in 2022, but one the best in his era as the leader of the Chiefs defense. The Titans biggest offensive weapon, Derrick Henry rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns, but most of that production came in the second quarter. The Chiefs did a strong job slowing down Henry in the second half. After a first half where he rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns, K.C. held Henry to 23 yards rushing on eight carries over the course of the second half and overtime.
Give credit to Coach Spagnuolo, Joe Cullen (DL coach) and Brendan Daly (LB coach/Run Game coordinator) for making those second half adjustments. Chris Jones and Carlos Dunlap led Sack Nation with Frank Clark due to miss the next Jaguars game and then he’s back. Also I was so happy to see defensive tackle Khalen Saunders shine yesterday getting that big time sack within those last seconds of the game. It was great to see rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie back on the field as well. He was targeted twice including the attempt when he was guarding Titans tight end Austin Hooper but didn’t allow a single catch all game. He also played right corner majority of the game. Good call, Spags.
3. Dave Toub and Mecole Hardman
It speaks volumes when all three phases of the game contribute in the winning effort. Rather it’s the offense, defense or special teams. They play off of each other. A large part of the success from last night was when Dave Toub used Mecole Hardman instead of rookie Skyy Moore. Hardman still needs to be more serious when it comes to catching the ball on the return cause he will bobble it sometimes. However, Hardman has more experience as a returner than Moore. It made more sense for the 2019 2nd team All-Pro returner to be getting those reps. Hardman’s returns put the Chiefs offense in the field position where the offense had opportunities to score. I’m also looking forward to seeing Kadarius Toney get some opportunities returning punts.
Week 9 Losers
The Chiefs desperately needed the running game in this one, especially when the run game decides the outcome of the contest. Quite simply, the Chiefs running backs weren’t getting it done. Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon combined for just 14 rushing yards on 12 carries. Because of that inconsistency on the ground, The Titans secondary was willing to sit back in coverage and make things tough for our pass catchers. The Tennessee defense is also due some credit however as they shut down the run game immediately. The offensive line also struggled to create holes. Either way, these things forced MVPat to take matter into his own hands by using his legs.
He not only rushed for a team-high 63 yards, but those gains on the ground were the difference between the Chiefs winning and losing this game. It’s time for the team to activate Ronald Jones. Jones deserves an opportunity to utilize his skill set that we’ve seen at USC and with the Buccaneers. Don’t forget, he was teammates with JuJu Smith-Schuster at USC (2015-2016).
2. The Offensive Tackles
The offensive line last night could’ve been the biggest reason why Kansas City barely won this game. They allowed 4 total sacks. Yes, Orlando Brown allowed a big sack, but he actually graded out with a 71.2 PFF grade, which means he was decent. When it comes down to the line, one player will mess up the dynamic of the team where it will affect the QB and his skill players. Once again, Right tackle Andrew Wylie has looked horrible.
He’s given up 6 sacks this season according to PFF. But the other night, Wylie got called for 3 penalties and allowed more hurries (7) and pressures (8) than Brown (Brown allowed 4 hurries and 6 pressures). Mahomes was still able to manage through the woes again. I wonder how long it’s going to take before Lucas Niang sees the field?
3. The Offensive Playcallers
I am sorry but I’m so sick of the fact that we have a top quarterback, head coach, tight end and offensive staff in the league and we couldn’t make any calls that put our offensive players in the best position to win? I don’t know if it’s Eric Bienemy calling plays or Matt Nagy? But this offense is better than how they played. It’s simple, call the plays for the situations that the QB and your players are comfortable with running and putting those players in their roles where they will have certified success. If Andy Reid has to call all of the plays for the rest of the season? So be it. We should’ve scored more than 20 points last night.