While the Week four-game played out like an extended version of “Escape from New York”, Patrick Mahomes’ impression of Snake Pliskin was spot on. By understanding situational awareness, he made the perfect decision when the passing game was stuck in the mud. Would another seven on the board have made a difference? Probably not but it could this weekend when the Chiefs travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings.
It’s interesting to listen and read about how the Kansas City Chiefs are this or that, yet they still win games regardless of the critics. This is why you should always watch the product on the field and develop an idea of what your own eyes are seeing. Sometimes it’s difficult when the team is losing but everyone, including me, needs to trust what we’re seeing. Besides we have Mahomes and he’s the great equalizer to the noise.
Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings should be interesting because of the quality of the opponent. Forget the Vikings are 1-3. if you watched the Netflix documentary “Quarterback”, then you have some insight into Vikings signal caller, Kirk Cousins. Personally, I like the guy and I think he has the right mindset. Will he ever fill the niche in his office with a Lombardi trophy? Not sure about that one, but he can play football pretty darn well.
The Vikings offense is ranked 16th and ninth in yards gained. They are third in passing but 28th in rushing. The Chiefs, on the other hand, are ninth in team offense, third in yards gained, only sixth in passing yards, and ninth in rushing.
The Chiefs rediscovered the running game with Isaiah Pacheco gaining 115 yards on 20 carries plus an additional 43 yards receiving for a combined 158 yards Sunday night. Mahomes added another 51 yards, Skyy Moore rang up another 19 yards, Clyde Edwards-Helaire dropped in 12 and Jerick McKinnon added seven. The total rushing output of the team was 204 total ground yards. It was a group effort, and the good news is that head Coach, Andy Reid fed the hot hand in Pacheco.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Patrick Mahomes is one of the best to ever play the game. Kirk Cousins does just enough to be considered a serviceable signal caller. I hate to use the term “game manager” because that connotates a very average quarterback. Cousins can play but is nowhere near as consistent as Mahomes. However, Mahomes must learn the game manager angle as well. His brilliance in the fourth quarter against the Jets bleeding the clock shows a sign of his game that’s evolving.
Cousins has the ultimate weapon in WR Justin Jefferson who has two touchdowns in their only win of the year against the Carolina Panthers last weekend. On the other end, defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum added a fumble recovery with a score for the defense. Cousins was intercepted twice with a pick-six that went for 99 yards courtesy of Carolina’s fourth-year LB Sam Franklin. So, it’s clear this is an up-and-down team that hasn’t found any rhythm yet.
The Vikings’ defense is challenging to evaluate and here’s why: The Vikings are 19th in team defense, 19th in points against, and 20th in yards allowed. They are also 20th in scoring defense. All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference. They have no specific defensive tendencies. This defense is as middle-of-the-road as you can get.
With former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores as defensive coordinator directing the defense, the result should be closer to the top than the bottom. Having sprouted from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, the expectation of Head Coach Kevin McConnell was that his team would field a top-ten defense.
That hasn’t happened so far as the Vikings sit at 1-3, in third place in the NFC North after starting 0-3. However, they did manage to outlast the lowly Carolina Panthers, who joined the Chicago Bears as the last two winless teams in the NFL. The Bears ended their losing streak Thursday night soundly defeating the Washington Commanders.
The Vikings defense held Panther’s rookie Quarterback, Bryce Young to 204 yards passing with 25 completions on 32 attempts with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was also sacked five times All in all, the Minnesota defense just did what it needed by keeping the offense from delivering anything substantial.
In the meantime, the Chiefs are sixth in team defense, fifth in points allowed number eight against the pass but twelfth against the run. Sporting a top-ten defense is right where the Chiefs need to be.
Steve Spagnuolo’s unit is starting to show its strength. Even with some off moments and lapses defensively during games, these guys are coming together. Second-year man, George Karlaftis is tied for fifth place in quarterback pressures. When the Chiefs face off against the Los Angeles Chargers two weeks from Sunday, veteran defensive end, Charles Omenihu will be back, and this unit will be super scary just in time for Halloween!
When you look at the complete picture, the Chiefs have a true “X-Factor”. It’s the ability of a group or individual to create the intangible moment that nobody foresees happening within the game. This is why the Chiefs continually rise to the occasion. This entire team: Offense, Defense, Special Teams, and coaches all possess something other teams do not. Andy Reid has caught lightning in a bottle and Chiefs Kingdom is the beneficiary.
On Sunday, US Bank Stadium will be filled with Chiefs fans and very loud. In the end, those in attendance from Kansas City should leave the stadium happy.
Chiefs 30 – Vikings 21
Please Subscribe to Chiefs Blitz on YouTube to get our Chiefs podcasts!