By Weston Mills (@wmills94)
A quick housekeeping item before we dive into some Chiefs content: my plan moving forward is to post The Weekly Chop every Wednesday or Thursday and it will include both the review of the previous week’s game and preview of the upcoming week’s game. Now, I know this change probably only effects all 9 of my loyal readers (hi mom) but I thought I would go ahead and put everyone on notice in case you thought you were missing content. Now lets go!
Week 2 Review: Chiefs 27 v. Eagles 20
Going into Week 2, many in the national media were trying to decide if the Chiefs were for real after they went into Foxborough and beat the defending champions. Honestly, I think these conversations are silly to have so soon but, if I have to acknowledge the conversation, I would say the Chiefs Week 2 victory over the Eagles proves they are a very good football team.
This was one of those games that was a constant grind for both teams. This Eagles team is a good good football team and I was incredibly impressed with the Eagles front 7. However, the Chiefs pulled away in the 4th quarter after a beautifully designed shovel pass to Travis Kelce in which he somehow managed to jump (not dive) from the 5 yard line and land in the end zone. An incredible athletic feat that showcases why Kelce earned the nickname Zeus! After the Chiefs went up 27 – 13 on a Kareem Hunt touchdown, the Eagles got a quick score and recovered an onside kick to make the game significantly more interesting than it should have been. Ultimately, the Chiefs slugged out a tough win at Arrowhead Stadium.
Offensive Player of the Game: Travis Kelce
This one was tough because there were some very good offensive performances on Sunday. Alex Smith finished the game 21/28 for 251 yards and 1 touchdown. Also of note, Alex Smith has a 100% adjusted completion rate while under pressure for the season. 100%! The guy is playing really good football.
BUT… last Sunday it was all about Travis Kelce. While you can easily point to his incredible touchdown catch (absolutely insane that a man 6’5 260 can jump from the 5 yard line and land in the endzone), I picked Kelce as Offensive POG due to his consistency and reliability throughout the day. He finished the game with 8 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown (I predicted 7/120/1… not to brag or anything). Also, something that has been going unnoticed so far this year is how improved Kelce has been with his run blocking. On Kareem Hunt’s 53 yard run, Kelce had a great block to help spring the run.
Defensive Player of the Game: Chris Jones
This one was easy. Chris Jones, or Stone Cold Jones as he goes by on Twitter, was a beast last Sunday. The defense as a whole played really well and I was especially impressed with the play of Eric Berry’s replacements Daniel Sorensen and Eric Murray. At times it felt like the defense couldn’t get any pressure on Wentz but I think that had more to do with the fact that Bob Sutton has been content this seaso with only rushing 3 or 4 and not dialing up the pressure that he has in year’s past. However, overall the defense was solid.
Ok… ok… back to the Defensive POG. Chris Jones is quickly becoming one of my favorite players (I obviously have a little biased towards defensive lineman) and this guy is quickly establishing himself as a superstar in the making. Against the Eagles he had 4 tackles including 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an interception (off the helmet of Justin Houston). The only thing he didn’t do was score a touchdown himself (which I would not be surprised to see happen; particularly out of the goal line wildcat). These stats alone were enough to earn him AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
The thing that goes unnoticed about Jones (and a “stat” that does not get enough credit when evaluating D-Line play) was the amount of pressure he put on Wentz. Jones consistently got in Wentz face and forced him to throw the ball sooner than he wanted or the play call would allow. This is often just as effective as a sack even through it doesn’t get the same recognition. Jones also has a knack for bull-rushing offensive lineman straight back into their own QBs. Also just as effective. Chris Jones dominated last Sunday and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Week 3 Preview: 3 Things to Watch
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers
When: September 24, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. (CST)
Where: StubHub Center (Carson, CA)
*Last week I told you the game was on CBS and it was on Fox. My bad! It really is on CBS this week.
How loaded is the AFC West? Broncos: 2-0. Raiders: 2-0. Chiefs: 2-0. Ok… so the Chargers… they are in fact 0-2 but they are a good football team. Hell, before the season started it was fairly trendy for members of the national media to pick them to win the AFC West. I am fairly confident this is not going to happen but I still think they are a much improved team from 2016. Also, they always play the Chiefs tough. Here are my three things to watch on Sunday:
1) Chiefs O-Line Play
It might be cliché to say (It’s always true though) but football games are won in the trenches. Last week the Eagles front 4 consistently put pressure on Alex Smith, in part because they are a tremendously talented unit and in part due to shotty offensive line play from the Chiefs. I think the Eagles front 4 solely kept them in the football game. JIm Schwartz, the Eagles Defensive Coordinator, did as I expected and did not bring very much additional pressure last week, aside from the D-Line. I would expect the same out of the Chargers. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles front 4 are just that talented or if there is reason for concern out of the Chiefs hogs.
While they are not as talented on the defensive line as the Eagles, the Chiefs are going into this game a little banged up. Center Mitch Morse left the game last week with a foot injury and has officially been ruled out for this week. However, the MRI revealed a foot sprain and Morse should only be out 2 or 3 weeks. I think Morse is our second best offensive lineman (behind Mitchell Schwartz) and this is no insignificant loss. However, Zach Fulton will step in at center and could be a starter for many other teams in the NFL. Also of note, Parker Ehinger will likely not make his season debut at Left Guard as he is listed as doubtful. Bryan Witzmann will continue to start in his place.
2) Phyllis Rivers
Hand raised, I am not a fan of Phyllis… I mean Phillip… Rivers. Watch closely to Phyllis’ hand gesturers and facial expressions on Sunday. He is always mad at someone on the field. Typically, he is crying to a ref or berating an offensive lineman. In all fairness, he hasn’t had much talent around him in recent years but it has always irked me how he treats his O-Line (or at least how it appears that he treats his linemen).
However, this is not why Rivers is on my “3 Things to Watch” list. Rivers is important because as Rivers goes the Chargers go. He is going to throw the ball almost 40 times and has always had the talent to beat teams almost on his own. Last week against the Dolphins, he threw for 331 yards and in week 1 against the Broncos he threw for 3 TDs. He is, and always has been, one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league. The other reason I think Rivers will be so interesting to watch is because he is one of the few QBs in the league who will challenge Marcus Peters. If he challenges him this week, I expect Peters to get his first INT of the year.
3) Tyreek Hill
Just watch him. He is fast. Really fast. And he is going to break one this week (60+ yarder). Just watch!