Chiefs headlines for Wednesday, September 15
In the three games between Mahomes and Jackson, the Chiefs have outscored the Ravens by an average of 13.3 points per game in the first half (67-26). Last year against the Chiefs, the Ravens trailed 27-10 at the half and then they had to play catch-up for the rest of the game, which is something they don’t do so well. A vegetarian has a better chance of finishing a plate of ribs than the Ravens do of pulling off a comeback against a good team.
Mahomes doesn’t lose in September and he doesn’t lose to the Ravens and those are two streaks I just can’t bring myself to pick against.
The pick: Chiefs 37-24 over Ravens
Crazy streak I won’t be picking against: Patrick Mahomes has never lost a game in September.
The Chiefs maintained their mystique.
My first reaction to the Chiefs-Browns tilt was “Damn, this Cleveland team is good.” My second reaction was, well, that it didn’t really matter. With Patrick Mahomes behind center, Kansas City is still the clear-cut team to beat in the AFC.
The Browns jumped all over the slow-starting Chiefs and seemed to be in command for most of the game. They held a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to a combination of balance on offense and a hounding pass rush on defense. But at no point in the game did it ever occur to me that Kansas City would lose. That’s the spell this Mahomes-led group has cast over the years, and it goes deeper than the side-arm throws, the out-of-structure genius, and the downfield bombs that have come to define Mahomes as a passer. Instead, it was one of Mahomes’s less tangible but exceedingly crucial traits that really stood out in Kansas City’s win on Sunday: his complete and total inability to panic.
Browns beat writer Nate Ulrich for the Akron Beacon Journal shared some information from CBS Sports on the broadcast. The numbers reflect that fans were enthralled by the Week 1 matchup between the Chiefs and Browns.
Check it out:
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) September 14, 2021
The Chiefs-Browns game was the NFL’s most-watched Sunday telecast regardless of network, averaging a whopping 19.539 million viewers. Per CBS that makes this game the second-most-watched Week 1 game window since 1998 and the most-watched opening weekend game window since 2015. That’s a pretty impressive feat for both teams and should appease TV executives who have either the Browns or Chiefs scheduled for matchups as the season goes on.
In one of his first feature interviews since joining ESPN as an NFL analyst, former Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith made his way back to the City of Fountains to talk to Patrick Mahomes ahead of his Week 1 matchup against Cleveland. They talked about their year together in 2017, when Smith famously mentored Mahomes before being traded to Washington to make way for the future MVP. It seems their latest engagement lasted beyond the time spent on camera, though.
Smith told his ESPN counterparts that he and Mahomes had gone back after their interview to re-watch last year’s divisional playoff game against the Browns in preparation for the home opener.
Offensive Player of the Week | Tyreek Hill
The argument over who is the best wide receiver in the NFL rages violently on social media. In the end, there is seemingly an endless embarrassment of receivers to choose from. Many would say it’s DeAndre Hopkins. Others believe Davante Adams is the top receiver in the NFL. Personally, I don’t think anybody can affect a game plan the way Hill does.
Hill saw more targets through the air than carries Clyde Edwards-Helaire received on the ground. Now, that usage isn’t sustainable, simply because the Kansas City Chiefs won’t play from behind as often as they did against Cleveland.
Kansas City Chiefs
Sorry, but it has to be this: Patrick Mahomes remains king. However imperfect he and the Chiefs start, he is always good for a thrilling and seemingly effortless comeback.
Around the NFL
The New Orleans Saints have had eight members of the organization test positive for COVID-19, calling into question their status for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The total includes six offensive coaches, one player and a nutritionist, according to a source.
Saints head coach Sean Payton said during the summer that the team’s coaching and personnel staffs were 100% vaccinated.
Darby injured his hamstring late in the Broncos’ season-opening win over the New York Giants. While Darby didn’t miss a snap in the game, Jeudy’s ankle injury looked like a much bigger scare. But Jeudy’s injury is not season-ending, and Darby is expected back shortly after the three-week absence required by short-term injured reserve status, per the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran.
The Broncos announced they will elevate CB Nate Hairston from the practice squad to replace Darby, and WR Kendall Hinton to replace Jeudy.
Jeudy’s injury takes a big weapon away from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, leaving WRs Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler to command the bulk of game reps until Jeudy returns. Jeudy caught six of seven targets against the Giants for a team-high 72 yards.
“I don’t remember this many rookies playing,” Brady said via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “Even the second-year guys. Tua (Tagovailoa), (Justin) Herbert, (Joe) Burrow, Trevor Lawrence. (Justin) Fields played a little bit. Trey Lance played a little bit. Zach Wilson is playing. Mac Jones is playing. That’s a lot of young quarterbacks. Gone are the days of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning. You know, those are the guys I’m used to hearing about. …
“I’ll be forgotten here soon. I’ll move on and they’ll be onto someone else but that’s just the way football goes, as does life.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
On that final drive of the first half, the Browns got down to the Kansas City 36-yard line with 49 seconds to go and two timeouts in their back pocket. But then the Chiefs forced two incompletions — and on third down, defensive end Chris Jones blew past the left tackle for a sack. The Browns weren’t able to score any more points before the break.
For the remainder of the game, the Kansas City defense held Cleveland to seven points on 139 total yards — and forced two turnovers.
Speaking after the victory, Jones recognized his unit’s lackluster start to the day.
“We just have to settle down as a defense,” he told reporters. “We were all over the place. They were giving us a lot of different looks — especially with the play-action when we were expecting the heavy run. We’d expect a run and we’d get a play-action over the top — or we’d expect play action and we got a run down the middle. So we just have to settle down as a defense — and once we got settled, we were able to get them off the field.”
Getting the Browns’ offense off the field was exactly what the Chiefs did to finish the game. Jones noted they didn’t allow points on the Browns’ last three drives. Big plays highlighted those crucial stops.
“There [were] a lot of different key moments,” Jones recalled. “The turnovers are always huge, the sack at the beginning of the drive kind of took the Browns out of the game plan they wanted to go with — and the interception at the end. There’s a lot of key moments, but a lot of building moments also. When you make plays like that, it helps the defense around you; you’re able to settle the corners and let them know the front four is getting after them, make (Browns quarterback) Baker [Mayfield] release it faster than he wants to. It’s a plus for the defense.”
A tweet to make you think
Mahomes Magic was on full display on Sunday ✨ pic.twitter.com/JRQ9b4Musp
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 14, 2021
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