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Winners and Losers from Week 8

That was ugly!

Mahomes Den Loss
(Photo by: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The reigning champion’s Sunday Week 8 rematch with the Broncos as touchdown favorites on the road. But the Chiefs offense struggled to score a touchdown all game long. Denver’s defense game planned very well against the reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and All-star tight end Travis Kelce, while Russell Wilson and Courtland Sutton connected for another acrobatic score, as the Broncos rolled to a 24-9 AFC West upset. Before Sunday, the Broncos had lost to the Chiefs in their last 16 straight meetings. The last time Denver beat the Chiefs was in September of 2015.

The Chiefs had won six straight since dropping their season opener to the Lions, including a 19-8 victory over the Broncos just two weeks before Sunday’s showdown. There were some positives from the game that will go over and here are my winners and losers from last night’s loss.


George Karlaftis, #56, DE:

Furious George Karlaftis was on fire yesterday, recording 2.5 sacks (a career-best) and 6 pressures. Karlaftis strip-sacked Russell Wilson at the end of the first half, setting up a Kansas City field goal that narrowed the deficit to just five points. He also combined with defensive end Charles Omenihu to sack Wilson on third down early in the third quarter, and he later sacked Wilson yet again on third down midway through the fourth. The second-year man from Purdue currently ranks 7th in the NFL in pressures with 39, and his six sacks rank 13th in the NFL. That work with Tamba Hali this offseason is paying off.

The entire defensive unit:

The Chiefs defense kept us in the game all Sunday, yielding only 7 points on drives that didn’t begin with a turnover. Additionally, on that lone touchdown drive that wasn’t aided by a takeaway, Denver began at the Chiefs’ 39-yard line following a big punt return. Overall, the Broncos’ three touchdown drives on Sunday began at the Chiefs’ 39-yard line, the 50-yard line, and the Chiefs’ 10-yard line. Their final drive, which ended with a field goal – began at the Chiefs’ 20-yard line. Otherwise, on the Broncos’ other seven possessions, they didn’t score a single point. The Chiefs’ pass rush led by Karlaftis was a big part of that success, sacking Russell Wilson six times. Despite losing on Sunday, the performance of the defense – which is one of only two groups in the NFL to allow no more than 24 points in a game this season is a big positive going forward.

Harrison Butker, #7, K:

Butker has been amazing all season not connected on field goals of 23, 34, and 56 yards on Sunday as he continued his perfect start to the season. The veteran kicker has now made 18 straight field goal attempts to begin the year, passing Morten Andersen for the longest streak in franchise history and he’s also 3 for 3 on kicks from 50+ yards this season including his 61-yarder last week against the Chargers.


Skyy Moore, #24, WR:

For the second time this season, Mr. Moore has appeared on this loser list. The 23-year-old speedster has big play ability but has not found the end zone since Week 2 and yesterday showed why he could see a decrease in his snaps. Mahomes drove the Chiefs to the Denver 27 but Moore couldn’t bring in a perfectly placed pass in the end zone on fourth down with 7:35 left.  But more troubling is a combination of a failure to get open while being known as the guy that could get open coming out of college and we see that there is a lack of trust from Mahomes to throw him open. Moore had just one catch for 8 yards Sunday. He has 14 catches all season, despite ranking second on the team in receiver snaps. That’s about to change in my view with Rice’s progression.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, #11, WR:

Another receiver that has a big role on the offense like Moore but once again a lack of effort that might result in no trust from your star QB. After their best drive of the first half (71 yards), the Chiefs looked like they had developed some rhythm with a 15-yard completion to Marquez Valdes-Scantling; except Valdes-Scantling fumbled the ball as he turned upfield. Everything went downhill from that point on. Valdes-Scantling caught 2-of-4 targets for 27 yards in the Chiefs’ loss to the Broncos. The 29-year-old is the leader of that receiving unit and also the highest-paid receiver on the team but has just 12 receptions on the season and after a performance from yesterday and whatever happens going forward, the Chiefs probably will look to not bring him back on his third-year contract in 2024.

The Play Calling of Matt Nagy:

The biggest reason for our offense woe’s despite the turnovers and drops was the play-calling from Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy and Andy Reid for not making the adjustments until late. The Broncos’ defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s play calling showed how prepared and predictable the Chiefs were going to be. They held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to 9 points and kept Patrick Mahomes out of the end zone. On top of that, his defense sacked Mahomes three times, intercepted him twice, and forced three fumbles throughout the game. This is a result of our offense being too inconsistent, the lack of finding or developing wide receivers, our offensive line gets penalized too much and they can’t convert on short yardage, so it falls on the offensive coaching staff to figure it out. They have the best QB and TE in the game, with a future Pro Bowl running back (Isiah Pacheco) and wide receiver (Rashee Rice). Also, one of the best offensive lines in the league. Let’s get it together guys! Listen to Uncle Shannon Sharpe calls out Matt Nagy in this clip below.

L’Jarius Sneed, #38, CB:

Lastly, L’Jarius Sneed has played well all season but yesterday was not a very good day for Mr. Sneed. After a good pass broken up against Courtland Sutton in the first half, he logged a defensive pass interference and a holding penalty on the same drive in the second half. The holding penalty came after Omenihu made a sack that could’ve been the momentum shift for our offense. Sneed then drew another DPI to start the fourth quarter, later adding a hold on a touchdown play. 4 times that he was penalized in moments that cost us big but this is one of those games to forget for Sneed.

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