The Kansas City Chiefs did something Thursday night that had not been done since 1927, they defeated a team by the score of 19-8. Though this was a sloppy game by the offense, Kicker Harrison Butker nailed four field goals and the defense continued to flex their muscle as they carried this football team to a 5-1 record.
I’ve said this many times you never make excuses for a victory over a division rival. Though the Kansas City Chiefs were heavy favorites, the Denver Broncos defense came to play Thursday Night. Mahomes kept getting his team in the red zone, but the Broncos defense frustrated the Chiefs offense with zone coverages that didn’t create much space for the Chiefs offense to find any rhythm offensively. Yet, despite those struggles, Mahomes completed 30 of 40 passes for 306 yards, but scoring one touchdown wasn’t good enough.
The star of the game on the night was Harrison Butker who kicked a 61-yard field goal to end the first half that pushed the lead to 13-0. For all practical purposes, the game ended at that point because Chris Jones and company held Broncos Quarterback, Russell Wilson to 95 passing yards. He also threw two interceptions adding to his turnover woes. Granted both were tipped, but Wilson did a poor job of going through his progressions and seemed to lock onto receivers that the Chiefs defense was able to gravitate towards.
Honestly, the Broncos put up a good fight, and they’ll get another crack at the Chiefs in two weeks, I suspect Kansas City might not win unless the offense heats up. Still, they can glean some confidence from the loss, but Wilson might not be the answer in Denver.
For Kansas City, Head Coach Andy Reid he tried a few gimmick plays, but his red zone play calling was a little flat. We all appreciate his brilliance and creativity, but sometimes it might be a good idea to play more smash-mouth football. With Isiah Pacheco as the featured back, and the shifty Jerrick McKinnon available, Reid needs to utilize their skill set.
I understand he likes to get big numbers for Mahomes, but at some point, either he or Offensive Coordinator, Matt Nagy needs to find better options on the ground. If the defense turns in a flat performance or Butker starts shanking field goal attempts, the offense eventually needs six points versus three points per drive.
Still, I thought the Chiefs Receivers had a relatively good night. Kadarius Toney had a touchdown, and Rashee Rice appears to be the real deal. He only had four catches, but he had 78 receiving yards including a big-time third-down catch and run for 28 yards. Even Skyy Moore had a big-time fourth-quarter catch that set up Butker’s last field goal.
With girlfriend, Taylor Swift watching from his suite, Travis Kelce had nine receptions for 124 yards including a brilliant 40-yard catch and run. Despite a sore ankle, that he tweaked in the fourth quarter, he went back on the field and gutted it out.
Regardless, of how you look at this team overall, the defense though continues to shine. They had four sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. They were all over the field, and they were laser-focused on shutting down Wilson. Of note, George Karlaftis batted down a pair of Wilson’s throws that had the potential to big offensive plays for Denver. The secondary led by Safety Justin Reid and cornerback; Jaylen Watson was brilliant Thursday night.
At 5-1, the Chiefs enter their mini-bye week, with some work to do, but they also should feel good that despite struggling offensively, Kansas City did put up 400 yards in offense.
There’s no need to panic, and you could tell by the play calling, that Reid was doing some tinkering with his team, which should pay dividends down the road. Listen Mahomes will be just fine, and the receivers will come around eventually.
Though this wasn’t a satisfactory win for the sellout Arrowhead crowd, the team is atop the AFC and the AFC West, and those are the only things that really matter for now.