The Chiefs were once again trying to keep up with New England in the race for home field advantage the AFC. Baltimore entered the game undefeated but we weren’t sure just how good they were based on the teams they had played. After the game it appeared that Baltimore is talented and not necessarily a team you want to play in the playoffs but if you do you want to play them at Arrowhead. This game helped with any potential tiebreaker scenarios. But mostly, this game kept the Chiefs and Patriots tied in the quest to host the AFC Championship game.
Patrick Mahomes was terrific as usual. He was 27-for-37 passing for 374 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes was under pressure quite a bit but once again handled it as well as you could expect and often better than you could even imagine. He made a couple of mistakes including an intentional grounding in the second half but I would prefer that over him taking a hard hit.
Non-Mahomes Player Coach of the Game:
Steve Spagnuolo’s defense is getting better each week. Spagnuolo changes his approach not just from one week to another but during a game. He seems to be able to adjust from one series to the next. After allowing a touchdown on a 14 play drive on the Baltimore Ravens’ first possession, the Chiefs shut out the Ravens the rest of the first half. That allowed the Chiefs offense an opportunity to build a lead that they needed to hold on in the second half for the win.
A failed two-point conversion sealed the win for the Chiefs.
After cutting the Chiefs lead to 30-19 with 12:22 left in the game, John Harbaugh decided to try to two to cut the Ravens deficit to 9 instead of settling for a 10 point deficit. The two-point conversion attempt failed meaning that the Ravens would need another touchdown and successful two-point conversion and a field goal just to tie the game. The Ravens were chasing points the rest of the game and were never able to catch up.
Tyrann Mathieu had four tackles on the day, three solo, but he was involved in a lot more plays than that. Mathieu has a feel for the game and was flying to the ball in this game. Yes, the defense allowed over 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing, but Mathieu really impressed me with his decisions on the field.
Chris Jones caused problems for the Baltimore offensive line most of the game. He had just two tackles, one a solo tackle, but forced plays to change direction and forced Lamar Jackson to make plays he didn’t want to make.
Frank Clark is taking some heat from fans because of his numbers after signing a big contract but he is causing problems for offenses. One important thing he does is draw attention away from Chris Jones to allow Jones to have a bigger impact.
Demarcus Robinson makes tough catches. Patrick Mahomes seems to have confidence in all of his receivers and Demarcus Robinson gives him good reason. Another terrific catch by Robinson on a ball thrown to the back corner of the end zone gave the Chiefs a 14-6 lead and continued the Chiefs dominance in the second quarter this season.
Travis Kelce caught seven of the eight balls passed his direction. He had 89 yards receiving in the game. Kelce makes tough catches and gets additional yards that most tight ends cannot get.
Mecole Hardman had two receptions for 97 yards including an 83-yard touchdown reception in which he was not covered and kicked his speed into another gear after catching the ball to easily score.
Room for Improvement:
The defense is improving and today was noticeably better than last season but there is still a lot of improvement to be made. They struggled against the run in the second half of the game. They aren’t at a point yet where you think they are good enough for the Chiefs to defeat the Patriots in January.
Andy Reid’s clock management was less than ideal at the end of the first half and if you watched the game you saw Patrick Mahomes’ frustration with it. The Chiefs were slow to take a timeout and then settled for a 42-yard field goal. A quicker timeout would have given the Chiefs time to take some shots at the end zone.
Once again there were several nice screen pass calls by Andy Reid that kept drives alive and ran the clock in the fourth quarter to preserve the Chiefs lead. This is commonplace for the Chiefs under Reid but in this game which ended with a five point win, every first down was crucial.
The Chiefs travel to Detroit to take on the undefeated Lions (2-0-1). The Lions have outscored their opponents just 67-61 and have won their last two games.