By Weston Mills (@Wmills94)
Week 3 Review: Chiefs 24 v. Chargers 10
Last Sunday the Chiefs came to play in what is now being called Arrowhead Resort & Beach Club. Approximately 16,000 Chiefs fans showed up in L.A. to watch the Chiefs move to 3-0. (note: this statistic was derived from the Mills Eye Ball test). I almost felt bad for the Chargers because their home field is so embarrassing right now. I am pretty certain it was louder when the Chiefs were on Defense than the Chargers and everyone could hear the “TYREEK… TYREEK… TYREEK” chant when he was back to field a punt. Regardless, Kansas City pulled out a good win against the best 0-3 team in the NFL.
I know this has been said over and over but the Chargers are good football team and winning on the road against a division opponent is never easy. Also, in case you didn’t hear, the Raiders and Broncos both lost last week putting the Chiefs in first place in the AFC West. It is fairly early to be scoreboard watching and keeping track of places within the division but, with that being said, you only get 16 chances in the NFL and there is not much room for error if you want to win your division. (Also, the Pats jumped the Chiefs in the ESPN power rankings, which makes no sense, but there is no reason we should care or get worked up about it….. you know who you are.)
The Chiefs started off with a bang in this one intercepting Phyllis Rivers three times (including one from Marcus Peters *pats self on back*) in the first half and opening up its first offensive possession with a 30 yard pass over the top of the defense to Tyreek Hill. I can’t stress enough how much improvement we are seeing out of Tyreek Hill and Alex Smith. If these two can sustain this level play combined with what we already expected out of Travis Kelce, this is going to be a very fun season. The offensive line play was much better this week even though Alex was sacked 5 times. From what I saw, Alex did not get rid of the football soon enough or no one was open and he was taking a sack rather than force an errant pass. All-in-all you have to be happy with the Chiefs performance. The Chiefs have now won 7 straight against the Chargers and 12 straight divisional games.
Offensive Player of the Game: Kareem Hunt
When are scouts going to stop drooling over guys with a certain 40 time or ignore guys with a below average time? Hunt fell to the 3rd round because of his below average 40 time. Here are Kareem Hunt’s career stats from his 4 years at Toledo: 4,945 rushing yards, 555 receiving yards, 45 total touchdowns, and averaged 6.3 yards a carry. I’m not an NFL scout but I’d bet that he is good at football. Through three football games in the NFL he has rushed for 401 yards, has 137 receiving yards, and has scored 6 touchdowns. He also leads the league in broken tackles per touch according to Pro Football Focus. For every 2.7 times he has touched the ball (rushing and receiving) he has broken a tackle. Ok… you get it…. he has been outstanding so far in his rookie campaign.
Against the Chargers, Kareem the Dream rushed for 172 yards, including a 69 yarder, and scored a touchdown. He did this on only 17 carries, averaging 10.1 yards a carry. The 69 yarder in the 4th quarter absolutely put the game away. Outside of Tyreek’s touchdown on the first possession, Hunt was really the only thing the Chiefs offense had going. Andy Reid has somewhat of a reputation for taking his foot off the gas when he jumps out to a big lead so that may have factored in to every one else being fairly stagnant. However, Hunt’s first three games earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Month and NFL Rookie of the Month. It also earned him The Weekly Chop OPOG Award which is probably much more coveted.
Defensive Player of the Game: Terrance Mitchell
The entire defense came to play on Sunday. Again, I understand the Chargers are 0-3 but this is still an offense that includes: Phillip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon, and Antonio Gates. While the defense played well, the Chargers game-plan was a little suspect. They actually ran the ball fairly well in the beginning of the game and then completely abandoned the run game. If I was to point to any particular area of concern three games into the season, I would point to the run defense. I think that is where the loss of Eric Berry hurts this team the most. Daniel Sorensen has played well but EB is an elite run stopper from the safety position. I’ll be interested in watching the upcoming playing time of Inside Linebacker Reggie Ragland (recent acquisition from the Bills and former 2nd round pick from Alabama) as he is getting back to healthy.
Ok, back to my DPOG. At face value there are a couple of different ways you can digest Terrance Mitchell’s day against the Chargers. Mitchell was targeted 14 times, had 4 Pass Break-ups, 2 interceptions , and 9 tackles. He was obviously targeted considerably throughout the day but that is going to happen when you play opposite of Marcus Peters. Mitchell has had a little bit of trouble with penalties but for the most part he has been very solid all season. Last Sunday in L.A. was probably his best game. Both of the interceptions were on below average throws but it still required the ball skills to go get it. When Steven Nelson went down in the preseason I was concerned how the secondary would look but Mitchell has really stepped up and when Nelson gets back this unit will be even better.
Honorable mention: Justin Houston. He is BACK Chiefs Kingdom.
Week 4 Preview: 3 Things to Watch
Washington Redskins @ Kansas City Chiefs
When: October 2, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. (CST)
Where: Arrowhead Stadium
The Chiefs get their second of six prime-time games this season when the Redskins come to Arrowhead on Monday night. The Redskins are coming off a dominating 27-10 win over the Raiders. The Chiefs enter undefeated after winning a division game in Los Angeles. Can Kirk Cousins and the Redskins handle the noise at arrowhead? Can Kareem Hunt attack the Redskins run defense? Can the Chiefs remain undefeated? Here are my three things to watch on Monday night:
1) Redskins Run D vs. Chiefs Run O
Strength vs. strength… which is going to give first? The Chiefs are averaging 162 yards on the ground which is the most in the NFL. On the other side, the Redskins are only allowing 62 yards a game which is second best in the NFL. Linebackers Mason Foster and Zach Brown roam the middle for this stout Redskins defense. This defense is not full of a bunch of big name talents but they are solid. However, Mason Foster was inactive last week with a shoulder injury but it was a game-time decision and I would expect he will probably go. For the Chiefs, I have already discussed how good Kareem Hunt has played. Keep an eye on the health of Parker Ehinger as he is an instant upgrade over Bryan Witzmann when he is healthy.
2) Andy Reid’s Game Plan
In Andy We Trust. He has put together some brilliant offensive game plans together so far this season. I’ll be curious to see how he attacks this Redskins defense that is strong against the run. I would expect to see him move Tyreek all over the field. Make the defense account for him on some jet sweep option type plays or even line him up in the backfield with Kareem and use him for some misdirection.
The other reason I suspect Reid might move Tyreek all over the field would be to force Josh Norman (who will probably be shadowing Tyreek) into some uncomfortable situations. Get Norman out of his comfort zone. One play to particularly keep an eye on is the shovel pass option that they have been running with high efficiency this year. (Sam Mellinger at the KC Star wrote a great article on this play). Reid has ran the shovel pass to Kelce a couple of times and Albert Wilson a couple of times. Monday night against the Redskins might be a good time to run it to the fastest man in all of football.
Finally, I will be interested to see how Reid uses Travis Kelce this week. Against the Chargers, Kelce was targeted one time and gained one yard. Not quite the typical Kelce day. There has been some serious speculation amongst the Kansas City media that this was Reid’s way of punishing Kelce for his recent unsportsmanlike penalties. Regardless, I would certainly expect to see Kelce much more involved this week.
3) The Kicker
Cairo Santos was placed on the I.R. due to a groin issue. He got roughed up during a field goal but it is being reported that the injury occurred during pregame warm ups. Under the new league rules, he will be eligible to return but the Chiefs are only allowed to designate two players to return from the I.R. and it’ll be interesting to see if they use one of those on a kicker. Of course, that will all depend on the success of Cairo’s replacement.
Meet the Chiefs new kicker Harrison Butker…. @ButtKicker87. Butker was drafted in the seventh round this year by the Carolina Panthers. Carolina had Graham Gano when they drafted Butker and Gano ended up beating out the rookie in training camp. However, the Panthers signed Butker to their practice squad. Kansas City signed Butker off of Carolina’s practice squad. Butker played his college ball at Georgia Tech. Keep an eye on the Rookie as Santos had been incredibly solid for the Chiefs. How will the Rook handle the pressure of big time NFL kicks?
Monday Night Football in Arrowhead…. LET’S GO CCCCCHHHHIIIEEEEFFFSSSSSSS!!!!!