By Hal Estep
Another week, another 300+ yard performance for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. That makes it 8 consecutive games with 300 or more yards- Mahomes was 23/32 for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns. He played about as well as possible, outside of one interception. That came on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half, while Mahomes was being chased by Cleveland Browns defenders. In this case, Mahomes gets a pass on the pick.
Thanks to Mahomes’ performance, along with running back Kareem Hunt having another great game, the Chiefs defeated the Clevland Browns 37-21. Mahomes did an incredible job spreading the ball, as five different Chiefs players had 50 or more receiving yards. Hunt was one of those five players, receiving a screen pass for a 50-yard touchdown. He tacked on 91 rushing yards and 2 more touchdowns on the day.
One of the main stories of the game was Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams making his season debut after the team fired former coach Hue Jackson on Monday. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid predicted before the game that Williams would be “very aggressive.”
Reid was absolutely correct- Williams and the Browns went for a two-point conversion on all three of their touchdowns. Every one of those attempts failed. The Browns also went for it on 4th down three times, converting two of those attempts.
Cleveland’s defense had no answer for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. He had 7 catches for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns. The second touchdown was a beauty. Mahomes placed the ball in the perfect spot for Kelce to haul in the touchdown over Browns safety Jabrill Peppers, who had Kelce covered almost perfectly.
Kansas City’s defense played pretty well, aside from being unable to stop Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr. from making catches. Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones had his fifth consecutive game with a sack. Safety Jordan Lucas got his first career sack, coming in untouched and taking down Browns QB Baker Mayfield.
The game also featured a bit of immediate redemption. In the fourth quarter, Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson gave up a long pass to wide receiver Antonio Callaway for 38 yards. The next play, Nelson redeemed himself by picking off Baker Mayfield. Nelson has established himself as a solid corner this season. He covers pretty well, and he’s a great tackler and a hard hitter.
Now for a statement that anyone who watched this game can agree with; the officiating was awful. It was especially terrible at the end of the first half. Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford forced and recovered a fumble after sacking Baker Mayfield. And for some reason, the Browns kept the ball. There was no announcement of a penalty, so it’s assumed that a player jumped offsi des.
Poor communication plagued the final two minutes of the second quarter. The Chiefs had to use their last timeout of the first half to avoid a 10 second runoff that would have ended the half. The Chiefs declined a penalty, and Patrick Mahomes assumed the clock would begin running as the referee backed away from the line of scrimmage. Mahomes spiked it, but was called for intentional grounding. The play clock had started, but the game clock was still stopped.
“I have never had to call something like that in my career,” CBS rules analyst and former NFL referee Gene Steratore said on the broadcast.
Chiefs backup running back Spencer Ware deserves some attention for a great performance. He had 4 catches for 69 yards, and was unstoppable when he got the ball on third down. He’s done very well in his role as a third down back.
Now to address a few recurring themes of the season- which are thankfully not Bob Sutton’s defense or Ron Parker.
Kicker Harrison Butker has missed his second extra point of the season. He hasn’t had to make many kicks, but it is a cause for concern if this continues. And the more worrying elephant in the room- safety Eric Berry is still out. He’s been listed as day-to-day for most of the season, but has yet to play due to a nagging heel injury. Speculation is that he may either return for the Mexico City game against the Los Angeles Rams, or be saved until the playoffs.
The Chiefs maintain possession of first place, with the Chargers keeping up close behind. Next week, the Chiefs take on the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon, and the game will be televised on CBS.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org