Winners and Losers From Kansas City’s Week 17 Matchup With The Denver Broncos
Similar to Week 14, Kansas City’s first game against Denver, the Chiefs came out and looked a little sluggish but pulled out the win. Kansas City defeated their divisional rival Denver Broncos 27-24 on Sunday. The Chiefs now stand at 13-3. The win helps the Chiefs’ as they currently stand No. 1 seed in the AFC, barring how the NFL decides to handle the results of the Cincinnati–Buffalo game. However, the seeding is currently irrelevant as the focus remains on prayers for Bill’s safety Damar Hamlin.
There were many players that contributed to the win but there were those that stood out to me. Here is the list of the winners and and my one loser of Week 17 for the Chiefs.
Week 17 Winners:
1. Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback
Patrick Mahomes moved into the rarest of company Sunday, joining Tom Brady and Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks with multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons. Mahomes improved to 11-0 against Denver, joining Andrew Luck (11-0 vs Tennessee) as the only QBs in the Super Bowl era with more than 10 wins and no losses against an opponent.
The Chiefs’ 15 straight wins over Denver is tied for the third-longest streak of any team against an opponent in NFL history. The Broncos have not won against the Chiefs since Sept. 17, 2015.
In this one, Mahomes completed 29 of 42 passes for 328 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed four times for eight yards. He is all but won the MVP.
2. Jerick McKinnon, Running back
Jerick McKinnon continues to be the Chiefs go to guy after rushing twice for 4 yards and brought in 5 of 6 targets for 52 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over the Broncos on Sunday. McKinnon’s notable contributions unsurprisingly came through the air, with the elite pass-catching back scoring from six and three yards out.
McKinnon now has 7 receiving touchdowns in the last 5 games, giving him plenty of momentum heading into a Week 18 road battle against the Raiders.
3. George Karlaftis, Defensive end
Chiefs defensive end “Furious” George Karlaftis made it two straight weeks with a sack for himself. Karlaftis sacked Russell Wilson to get his 5.5th sack of the season (2nd most among the Chiefs behind Chris Jones). That’s his 5th sack in the last 6 games. He also managed his first career fumble recovery and a tackle for loss during the game.
It’s clear that he’s really understanding his role and finding ways to effect the play. His effort and grit is phenomenal. These last 6 games have helped Karlaftis solidify his status as the guy opposite of Frank Clark.
4. Trent McDuffie, cornerback
I love this kid. I knew the moment we drafted him, we got ourselves a dawg. McDuffie has been playing out of his mind. According to PFF, McDuffie had the best game of any Chiefs defender. He had a strip sack on a blitz from the slot, despite still learning to play inside.
It was his first career sack and forced fumble that was recovered by Karlaftis. He allowed just four catches for 28 yards which shows who great he is at holding his opponent to a lesser amount of yardage. McDuffie has allowed 6th lowest completion % of any CB in about 50% of 1000+ snaps in the NFL with (52.6) and a 83.4 passer rating allowed. Like I said after the Bengals loss, this kid is special.
Week 17 Loser (Only one loser):
1. Special Teams Unit
I am really starting to get tired of putting our special teams unit in the Loser list. We have had an onside kickoff fiasco, fake punt, big kick/punt returns that have given our opponents great field position, missed kicks, bad holds on kicks, bad snaps and etc.
This is almost inexcusable as this point. I know Dave Toub is one of the most respected assistant coaches in the NFL. He’s one of the most seasoned postseason coaches in the league. It speaks volumes that a coach of his caliber and great resume who knows how to win has had these situations all season long. However, it’s crazy at this point. Of course there was the Kadarius Toney fumble on a punt return as well but that isn’t really on Toub. However, it is another example of an unnecessary mistake from the Chiefs Special Teams.
Winning playoff games is already difficult enough and if Toub’s unit continues with this level of play, it very well could get us sent home early because of it. These issues need to be resolved immediately.