The Chiefs entered Sunday wondering what they were going to face between a young opposing quarterback returning home to play in the stadium where he watched so many games growing up and weather conditions that could cause a low-scoring game that could make the game go either way with one mistake.
Major League Baseball teams decided that Sunday was a good time to make some big transactions. We had a trade involving one of the best pitchers over the past few years and a top free-agent pitcher close to signing a new contract.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
CHIEFS 23 VS BRONCOS 3
WHAT HAPPENED: The Chiefs defeated the Denver Broncos 23-3 behind a fourth consecutive dominant performance by the defense and a Patrick Mahomes effort that saw him return to his old self in throwing accuracy. This game was never in doubt.
The Chiefs defense applied pressure on Drew Lock throughout the game and they held the Broncos to just 52 yards rushing. That’s a quality job by the defense even though Denver is just a middle-of-the-pack rushing offense.
The Denver offense was highly overrated after one decent passing game for Drew Lock in Houston last week. Lock put up 309 yards passing in nice conditions in Houston and then just 199 in miserable conditions in Kansas City. But give the Chiefs defense credit for a lot of that. Regardless of the weather conditions today, the Chiefs applied pressure and Lock likely wouldn’t have had much more production had it been a beautiful December afternoon.
GOOD JOB DEFENSE: Tyrann Matthieu and Frank Clark led the defense. Matthieu had a sack, an interception that was overturned because of a Charvarious Ward penalty and five tackles on the day. He had an even bigger influence on the game than that. Matthieu provided solid coverage as well. His play on the field and leadership off the field has been huge for this team.
Frank Clark had a second consecutive game in which he was dealing with illness during the week and missing practices leading up to it. You wouldn’t know he was sick if you just watched the game. Clark, like so many on defense, has improved tremendously throughout the season. Some of that is Clark learning the defensive system and no doubt changes Steve Spagnuolo has made to get the most out of him. Clark applied pressure on Drew Lock multiple times in this game and had two quarterback hits. After the game, James Palmer of the NFL Network reported that Clark has lost 20 pounds recently and believes the specialist he has been seeing has fixed his stomach issue. He believes that the issue stems from an appendectomy he had which has changed what he can eat.
There is no doubt that the defense has improved over the course of the season under Steve Spagnuolo. What looked like the same old defense early in the season is now one of the best defenses in the NFL over the past four weeks. The Chiefs have allowed just 11 points per game in their last four games.
GOOD JOB OFFENSE: Just as nice as what the defense did in this game is what Patrick Mahomes did. Mahomes completed 79% of his passes for 340 yards. In his previous three games, he averaged a 59% completion percentage and 213 yards passing. The best part of his game was the accuracy he had on his throws. He was on target on just about every pass. In fact, I can’t remember a pass that was off the mark. That kind of accuracy has been missing from his game the past three games and really for most of the season. In this game, Mahomes stepped up in the pocket instead of floating farther and farther away from the line of scrimmage and relying on his arm to make plays.
The Denver Broncos couldn’t stop Travis Kelce. Kelce had 11 receptions on 13 targets for 142 yards. He was able to get open almost at will which made things much easier on Mahomes. Kelce went over 1,000 receiving yards for the season in this game marking the fourth consecutive season he has done that.
Tyreek Hill had five receptions on seven targets. The best offensive play of the game for the Chiefs was the touchdown reception by Hill on the team’s first possession. That play was important because Mahomes hit Hill in stride for a perfect touchdown pass and catch that we haven’t seen for a while. Overall, Hill had 67 yards receiving and two touchdowns and was close to a third touchdown but the pass was intercepted at the one-yard line.
ROUGH DAY FOR YOU: Former Missouri QB Drew Lock was not good in his first game at Arrowhead. He was 18-for-40 passing for 208 yards and an interception. He doesn’t have a lot of weapons to help him and he was going against what has turned into a really good defense but it’s a game he will want to forget. After the game, Tyrann Matthieu said that despite Drew Lock struggling and not having the game he probably wanted, he will be a good quarterback.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE: The win keeps the Chiefs a game behind New England and a game ahead of Houston in the playoff race. Both of those teams won on Sunday. The Chiefs have two winnable games remaining. They are at Chicago next Sunday night and home the following weekend to play the Los Angeles Chargers. Both of those games should be wins if the team plays as they did against Denver.
Next weekend is huge for the Chiefs because it is likely the last time the New England Patriots might lose. The Patriots play Buffalo in New England next weekend and then host Miami in their last game of the regular season. If the Chiefs are to get the #2 seed in the AFC they will need to win their last two games and the Patriots will need to lose one of their final two.
IN OTHER NEWS
Missouri defeated Southern Illinois at home 64-48 for their second consecutive win prior to the Illinois game on Saturday in St. Louis. The Tigers held SIU to 29% shooting overall and behind the arc and were led on offense by Mark Smith. Smith was 8-for-11 from the field including 7-for-9 from behind the arc for 23 points.
Dru Smith once again led the team in rebounding with eight. He is the point guard. He is a terrific rebounder but he should not be leading the team in rebounds.
Jeremiah Tilmon was missing in action once again. Tilmon had two points and just one rebound to go with three turnovers in 17 minutes.
This team is frustrating to watch for multiple reasons. They don’t shoot the ball well most games. Usually, only one or two players at most shoot well in any particular game. They have one big man that they play and he doesn’t show up most games. The defense is decent but not good enough to beat a quality team without an unusually good shooting game.
Having said all of that, Missouri has now won two in a row but has a big challenge facing Illinois. Illinois is 8-3 on the season with a one-point loss at #3 Maryland and a nine-point win over #5 Michigan.
The Dallas Cowboys messed up before the game even started when they chose to kick instead of deferring after winning the coin toss. That decision could have allowed the Los Angeles Rams to receive the kickoff at the start of both halves. Now, Dak Prescott did say they wanted to defer but after he twice said that the Cowboys wanted to kick. It’s been such a rough season for the Cowboys and their coach Jason Garrett that this is somehow not surprising. Fortunately for the Cowboys, the NFL office in New York discussed the problem with the game officials at halftime and Dallas was allowed to receive the kick at the start of the second half.
The Cleveland Indians traded Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers for two minor league players. Kluber, who is a two-time Cy Young Award winner, pitched just 35 2/3 innings over seven starts in 2019 because of an oblique injury. The Rangers received outfielder Delino DeShields and pitcher Emmanuel Clase in the deal. Clase is just 21 and has what many say is “electric stuff” with the ability to throw over 100mph. Kluber showed less movement on his four-seam fastball and cutter along with a decline in velocity in his short 2019 season. If Kluber returns to his prime form he gives the Rangers five quality starters in the rotation.
The Arizona Diamondbacks reached an agreement with LHP Madison Bumgarner on a 5-year, $85 million contract. Bumgarner is still just 30 years old. He dominated the Royals in the 2014 World Series and practically won the series by himself. He will be in the same division as his former club, the San Francisco Giants.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports revealed the Patriots’ most recent cheating video that he recently acquired. The video was supposedly for a series New England was putting together and this video was following the advanced scout to show viewers what an advanced scout does. While most are focusing on what Bill Belichick knew and didn’t know, the important part of all of this is that the New England Patriots organization did this. It doesn’t matter what Belichick knew. The organization cheated regardless of how the video was to be used. Glazer mentioned that the league will punish the Patriots but that it will depend on what the league learns in its investigation that will determine to what extent they will be punished.
Thanks for reading…