Winners and Losers from the Christmas Eve game.
After back to back thriller games, the Chiefs came out to play. They played very efficiently and won 24-10 against the Seahawks on Christmas Eve. The Chiefs now stand at 12-3 while the Seahawks drop to under .500 at 7-8.
The win helps the Chiefs’ pursuit of getting that No. 1 seed in the AFC. We will be looking forward to seeing the Bills/Bengals MNF game next week that could decide the AFC playoff picture.
There were many players that contributed to the win, but there were those that I watched that stood out to me. Here is the list of the winners and and my one loser of Week 16 for the Chiefs.
Week 16 Winners:
1. Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback
The Chiefs are clearly the better team and that was evident Saturday. Having the top leading MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes at quarterback is such an BIG advantage, especially against a really medicore Seahawks defense. Mahomes finished 16 of 28 for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
Mahomes’ ability to extend plays with his legs is overlooked. On a scramble that few quarterbacks could successfully make, MVPat was able to somehow get in the end zone. This time, Mahomes, being chased, reached the ball toward the pylon and just made it into the end zone, extending the Chiefs’ lead to 24-3 with less than 5 minutes left in the game.
He very deservingly earned MVP chants from the crowd in Arrowhead. (I may have played a role in starting said chants.)
2. Travis Kelce, Tight end
Tight end Travis Kelce had two huge catches that set up the Mahomes touchdown run and ended the day with 6 receptions for 113 yards. Between Kelce and Mahomes, the Seahawks defense was left with no easy task. The Chiefs made three trips to the red zone and got into the end zone each time. Kelce did all the dirty work between the red zones in this one, producing his second 100-yard receiving effort in as many weeks.
The star tight end has been on a touchdown drought over the last four weeks, but it is hard to complain about a player who has already contributed 12 scores through 15 games.
Look for Kelce to remain heavily involved in the offensive gameplan ahead of next Sunday’s matchup against the Broncos.
3. Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon Duo, Running back (Third week in a row)
For the third week in a row, the duo of running backs Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon continue to do the dirty work for the Chiefs offense, just like Kelce did on Saturday. McKinnon came into this season with just 7 touchdown receptions in his first five NFL campaigns and no more than two in any one year. Well, McKinnon recorded his 6th touchdown reception of the season on Saturday.
What’s more, that 9-yard scoring catch from Patrick Mahomes in the second quarter which extended the Chiefs’ lead to 14-0. was McKinnon’s 5th in the last 4 games, with a touchdown in each one. His partner in running back crime, Pacheco was solid on Saturday, totaling 90 yards (team leading 14 carries for 54 yards). He’s been an effective contributor for the offense over the back half of the season along with McKinnon handling the pass catching responsibilities.
4. The Entire Defense
Whatever you say about Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, he has produced one of his finest seasons as a Defensive play caller. The Chiefs defense did their job, shutting the Seahawks out up until the final second in the second quarter, when the Seahawks kicked a field goal.
The defense set Mahomes and the offense up for good field position multiple times and kept Seattle off the board and out of the end zone for the majority of the game. Nick Bolton’s 17 tackles was a message to the NFL for screwing the wrong linebacker out of the Pro Bowl voting.
Sack Nation made Geno Smith’s life a living hell. pressuring the Pro Bowl QB to make errant throws including the pick by Juan Thornhill which was intended for Marquise Goodwin. George Karlaftis now has 4.5 sacks which is the 2nd most among all rookie defensive lineman. He only trails Lions’ Aidan Hutchinson by 2.5 sacks. Chris Jones finished the game with a game ending sack giving him his 12th of the season.
Seattle’s rushing game was dominating, but it lacked the ability to make the big plays needed to score throughout the game. The Seahawks did finally find the end zone, but scored a touchdown with just over two minutes left to play. Well done, Spags. That’s Championship Defensive Football right there.
Week 16 Losers:
Justin Watson and Marquez Valdes Scantling, Wide receivers
MVS and Watson both saw a good share of targets but had multiple drops, leading to a no catch game for the duo. Watson wasn’t able to catch any of his four targets, which was a rare site from him. Each of Watson’s incompletions was on a drive that ended in a punt or turnover on downs. Watson has been a valuable depth player this season, but what he did in this one could’ve cost us. He will be fine going forward.
Valdes-Scantling was shut down completely on Saturday, failing to catch even one pass in the two-score win over the Seahawks. He was bottled up by Seattle’s secondary all game,and he wasn’t very involved in the offense to begin with. But don’t give up hope on both players, Valdes-Scantling still provides the Chiefs the big-play target that help Aaron Rodgers win back to back MVPs.
He should be the first player in NFL History to be on the same team as the QB winning the MVP three straight seasons with Mahomes coming soon. That speaks to the value that MVS brings to the Chiefs. Plus the team is looking forward to having Mecole Hardman return and now you have a very healthy receiving rotation going forward. This would help both Watson and MVS in finding matchup opportunities that will help them make big plays for the Chiefs.