Week 13 saw the Chiefs play their most important game up to this point in the season. Oakland came to town, and it was for the division lead. Winner takes the division lead and controls their own destiny while the loser would need help to make the playoffs. How did the Chiefs respond? With a dominant 31 point blow out.
A game like this last season wasn’t possible. If Mahomes threw for under 300 yards, the team was in a bad position. This season, though, the defense, while still shaky, is much improved. They didn’t give up a touchdown until late in the game. They didn’t need Mahomes to go out there and throw for 400 yards and three touchdowns to win.
So when people look at the stats for Mahomes, they should not be asking what is wrong with him, but instead saying, this team is much better all around.
Damien Williams missed this game due to injury. The Chiefs went in with LeSean McCoy, Darrell Williams, and Darwin Thompson. Darrell Williams hurt his knee on a non-contact injury, and McCoy only averaged two YPC. So late in the game, Andy Reid finally let Darwin Thompson play. Why do I say “finally”? That’s because I believe Thompson is the best running back on the team.
The sixth round rookie has speed, power, was the most elusive back according to PFF in the 2019 draft, and is excellent catching out of the backfield. The run game immediately improved once Thompson started getting the carries. For weeks now, it has been said that the Chiefs need to find the run game. They desperately need to. They have just been so ineffective on the ground. Thompson ultimately made that look different.
He had 44 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown run where he bulldozed over people to break into the endzone. Damien Williams will likely return for week 14, so Thompson will return to the bench, but it should be clear to people now that this guy can play.
The receivers didn’t do much this week. They weren’t in a position where the team desperately needed to throw the ball. Only Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill had more than three catches and 50 yards. Kelce was the star of the day on offense. He hauled in five catches for 90 yards. The Raiders defense had no answer for him as he made vital catch after catch.
The biggest concern of the day among the receivers was the fact that Sammy Watkins walked away with zero receptions. Like I’ve stated multiple times, the team didn’t need to throw a lot to win, so it makes sense that stats were down, but zero catches against a weaker defense? This is just an anomaly but still one to watch. For this team to have a chance against the elite defenses in the playoffs, Watkins needs to be able to win his matchups.
This defense is new and young. A lot of the guys haven’t played together for very long. On top of that, they’re in a brand new scheme under a new defensive coordinator. It is reasonable to expect that they needed time and experience before they started to gel. They’ve had some time now, and they are looking like a new unit.
The run game is still weak but improving. The secondary is top five in DVOA(Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), and the pass rush is getting stronger and stronger with each week.
Last season this team struggled against high power offenses because the secondary could not stop anyone. This week they completely stopped the Raiders passing offense. The way to beat this defense is to run the ball, but if the Chiefs offense takes an early lead, teams have to abandon the run and start passing. What the 2018 secondary couldn’t do, the 2019 group can.
Biggest Chiefs Takeaways
- The team had zero penalties(1974 was the last time they did that)
- Juan Thornhill had the first pick 6 for the defense this season
- Patrick Mahomes became the fastest player to reach 70 passing touchdowns
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