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#pounditTuesday, December 7, 2021

Articles tagged: Kansas City Chiefs

Honey Badger had perfect quote after Chiefs win

Tyrann Mathieu

The Kansas City Chiefs finally put together a complete performance with their blowout win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night. The victory came at a time when many people were beginning to write them off, and Tyrann Mathieu alluded to that after the game.

Mathieu was asked about the Chiefs making a statement in the 41-14 thumping. He said the team hasn’t been overly concerned because championships aren’t won in October and November.

Plenty of people have been down on the Chiefs, but they’re now 6-4 and in first in what has been a tough AFC West division this season. The way they won on the road Sunday night should be huge for their confidence. Patrick Mahomes had one of his vintage MVP performances with 406 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Kansas City had more than 500 yards of total offense as a team.

Steve Young should probably take note of Mathieu’s quote. The Hall of Famer had some harsh criticism for the Chiefs over a month ago, but it may have been premature.

Report: Odell Beckham Jr. has narrowed decision to 3 teams

Odell Beckham Jr warms up

Odell Beckham Jr. officially cleared waivers on Tuesday, meaning he is a free agent and can sign with any team. The star wide receiver is expected to make a decision in the near future, and he is said to be focusing on only a few teams.

Beckham has his sights set on the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini. It’s unclear if those are merely the three teams Beckham would want to join or if all three teams are willing to sign him.

There have been numerous reports about Beckham’s preferences. This isn’t the first time we have heard that the Packers are one of his top choices.

Beckham wants to play for a contender. That doesn’t mean all contending teams are interested in signing him. While he is incredibly talented, OBJ has a reputation for being a tough personality to manage. He has also suffered numerous injuries in recent years and was not all that productive during his time with the Cleveland Browns.

We’ve already heard some troubling talk about Beckham potentially creating issues for his next team, so that is something that will likely be taken into consideration.

Photo: Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) warms up before the game between the Browns and the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Bowler Melvin Ingram traded to Chiefs from Steelers

The Kansas City Chiefs have had no shortage of problems on defense this season, and they made a big trade on Tuesday that they are hoping will help address them.

Veteran linebacker Melvin Ingram III told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that the Pittsburgh Steelers have traded him to Kansas City. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Ingram asked to be traded. The Steelers will get a sixth-round draft pick in the deal.

Ingram spent the first nine seasons of his career with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers before signing a one-year deal with Pittsburgh this past offseason. The 32-year-old has one sack in six games this season after not recording a sack in seven games last year.

The Chiefs have allowed 27.5 points per game this year and rank near the bottom of the NFL in most defensive categories. While Ingram is nowhere near the player who recorded at least seven sacks per season from 2015-2019, he is a low-risk, high-reward acquisition who should provide some depth.

Patrick Mahomes has interesting theory behind Chiefs’ struggles

Patrick Mahomes Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL so far in 2021. Patrick Mahomes thinks he knows why.

The Chiefs quarterback told ESPN’s Lisa Salters in a pre-game interview on “Monday Night Football” that he felt some of the team’s issues are related to focus. Mahomes said that he and some of his teammates had been so focused on winning in the playoffs after last year’s Super Bowl loss that they lost sight of the regular season.

“We expected to be in the playoffs. We expected to have another chance at going to the Super Bowl,” Mahomes said. “But it takes the daily process of every single day to make it there, and we’re noticing that now, that we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and put in that work.”

The Chiefs are still getting plenty of yardage, but they came into Monday night leading the league in turnovers. A lot of their issues are down to sloppiness and preventable mistakes. That suggests it can be turned around, and it would serve as evidence to support Mahomes’ thinking.

There are definitely some indications that the Chiefs’ heads have not been in the right place lately. Fortunately, they have plenty of time to refocus and turn the season around.

Have defenses solved Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs offense with specific strategy?

Patrick Mahomes Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have looked shockingly mediocre this season. Patrick Mahomes already has nine interceptions, which is three more than he had in all of 2020 and four more than the year before. Could that have something to do with the way teams are lining up against them?

Mahomes is averaging 7.6 yards per completion this season, which is the lowest mark of his career. According to Next Gen Stats, no quarterback in the NFL has faced more two-high safety defenses this season than Mahomes.

That is not a coincidence. Opponents have clearly focused on taking the explosive play away from the Chiefs. That has led to Mahomes making poor decisions and forcing the ball into coverage. The result has been a lot more turnovers than we’ve seen in past years, when Andy Reid’s offense was virtually unstoppable.

The Chiefs are still scoring points and moving the ball. They rank eighth in the NFL with 26.9 points per game and are third with 419.3 total yards of offense per game. Their abysmal defense has been their biggest issue, but Mahomes and company have been able to mask those issues in the past. That hasn’t been the case in 2021.

Some of Mahomes’ interceptions have been the result of drops and tipped passes, which is why his mother recently lobbied for a major NFL rule change. Most, however, have happened in situations where he was trying to do too much. Opponents appear to have come up with a successful formula for slowing Mahomes down. It’s up to Reid and the Chiefs to find a way around it.

5 biggest surprises of the 2021 NFL season thus far

Jon Gruden

The 2021 NFL regular season is now in Week 7 — boy, does it go by fast — and to say there have been a few surprises that stand out would be an understatement.

Things got off to a fast start league-wide and have not slowed down one bit. Whether it’s on the field or off of the field, the NFL is jam-packed with excitement, drama, and theater.

Here is a look at the five biggest surprises of the 2021 season (so far).

5. Kansas City Chiefs being average

Everything that goes up must eventually come down. The Chiefs are currently living that reality. They’ve split their first six games this season. At 3-3, they find themselves in third place in the AFC West (more on that division to come). But beyond just the .500 record, several of their superstar players are underperforming. Case in point: quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The former league MVP already has nine turnovers on the season, three shy of his career high. He has four interceptions over the past two games combined (don’t tell his mom). The Chiefs’ -8 turnover ratio is the second-worst in football. Defensively, KC is also allowing over 410 yards per game and an average of 29.3 points per game. Each of those marks are among the bottom five in the NFL.

4. Derek Carr an early MVP candidate

The Raiders decided to let Derek Carr air it out this season, and his aggression has gone through the roof. Yes, Carr has made some risky throws, and his accuracy is nothing to write home about, but he’s second in the NFL with 1,946 yards and 324.3 yards per game. Carr is also in the top half of the league in touchdown passes (10) and has tossed just four interceptions despite the new chuck-and-duck style. Perhaps more importantly, the Raiders are 4-2 under Carr, are tied for the AFC West lead, and three of their victories have come over teams who won 10-plus games in 2020. Whether or not Carr can keep up this pace remains to be seen, but few saw this start coming.

3. Myles Garrett gunning for all-time records

Through seven weeks, Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett has amassed a league-leading eight sacks and is on pace for 23.0, which would be an all-time single-season record. And given how dominant Garrett has been this season, it’s entirely possible that Michael Strahan’s long-standing record finally falls. What makes Garrett’s early-season performance so impressive is that he’s dominating as much against the run as he is the pass. And when he does get home, he finishes. His eight sacks come alongside 17 QB hits and seven hurries, and are coupled with an equally impressive 24 tackles (nine for a loss).

2. Giants defense in shambles

Entering the 2021 regular-season, most believed the Giants would be kept afloat by their defense, which surprised under Patrick Graham a year ago. That has not at all been the case. In fact, the offense has outplayed the defense thus far. Graham’s unit, which plays Cover 2 more than any other team in the league, has taken several steps back. They have been unable to generate any natural pressure. Even when attempting to scheme in pressure, they haven’t hit home. The lack of pressure has allowed opposing quarterbacks to light up their secondary, including cornerback James Bradberry, who was a Pro Bowler in 2020. Not only will this regression take a toll on the organization, it might also cost Graham potential head coaching interest in 2022.

1. Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden

The situations surrounding Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden are very different but equally shocking. Meyer, of course, drew heavy criticism for staying behind in Ohio after his team lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4, only to later be caught on video acting inappropriately with a woman who wasn’t his wife (more here). He survived being fired (or divorced) but it’s certainly an early stain on his NFL career. Gruden, on the other hand, did not survive comments he made in private emails years ago. During an investigation into the Washington Football Team, several Gruden emails containing some ugly comments were discovered. He was immediately canceled, resigned as Raiders head coach, and was removed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor, where he had previously sat alongside Warren Sapp and others.

Chiefs OL Joe Thuney playing through serious injury

Kansas City Chiefs logo

The Kansas City Chiefs are trying to reestablish themselves as an AFC powerhouse, and Joe Thuney is not about to let a broken bone stop him from working toward that goal.

Thuney played through a broken hand in last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. James Palmer of NFL Network reports that the offensive lineman dealt with the injury for the entire game. He’s expected to do the same in Sunday’s game against Washington.

Thuney spent the first five years of his career with the New England Patriots before signing a five-year, $80 million deal with the Chiefs in March. The former NC State star has not missed a start since he was drafted back in 2016.

The Chiefs are 2-3 heading into Sunday’s game. They’re hoping a game against an inferior opponent will be just what the doctor ordered, but Thuney’s injury is certainly something to watch.

Josh Gordon reveals why he chose to sign with Chiefs

Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon apparently had options when deciding which team he wanted to return to the NFL with following his reinstatement. His ultimate choice, however, was an easy one.

Gordon said his previous team, the Seattle Seahawks, had shown interest in bringing him back. When the Kansas City Chiefs entered the running, the wide receiver said it became a pretty easy choice.

“Kansas City, for an offensive player right now, and the offensive climate we have in the NFL, is a dream destination,” Gordon said Friday, via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. “It was an easy decision to make.

“I knew nothing about the city. I just knew there was a good group of guys here. The camaraderie, the family-life environment — when I got here, I knew immediately this was a place that could look out for me, take care of me, and I could reciprocate that back and come in and do my job and make it easy on myself.”

The Chiefs really do have the look of a team ideal for Gordon’s skillset. He doesn’t need to be the No. 1 option with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill on the field. However, the Chiefs haven’t really had anyone step up as a No. 2 receiver behind Hill, meaning there’s opportunity for Gordon. Plus, Patrick Mahomes is a great quarterback to have throwing to you.

Gordon has looked exciting in practice and made one catch in limited usage in his debut last week against Buffalo. He could really be unleashed Sunday against Washington.

ESPN’s Steve Young has harsh comment for Chiefs after loss

Steve Young

Steve Young offered a harsh comment about the Kansas City Chiefs following the team’s loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night.

Young, who is one of the analysts on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown,” was talking about the Bills-Chiefs game prior to Monday night’s Colts-Ravens contest. Young said that the Chiefs had lost their “alpha dog” status in the AFC.

“Everyone knows that in the NFL, they know the alpha dog. And the Chiefs were the alpha dog in the AFC. I felt it changed yesterday,” Young said. “The defense of the Bills, the scar tissue of the Bills, Josh Allen … it just felt like they’ve traded places. And the alpha dog in the AFC yesterday changed to the Bills.”

Young was challenged by Booger McFarland, who questioned whether a game in early October could flip things. He disagreed and said it’s on the Bills to prove it in the postseason.

The Chiefs beat the Bills twice last season. One of the victories came on the road in the regular season, and the other came at home in the AFC Championship Game. Buffalo getting the win was a big deal on Sunday night.

Even more worrisome for Chiefs fans was Andy Reid’s quote after the loss.

Kansas City is 2-3 this season. The Bills are tied for the best record in the AFC at 4-1.

PB&J sandwiches become hot topic during Bills-Chiefs delay

Michele Tafoya

The Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs had to wait out a weather delay during their game on Sunday night, and the halt in play gave NBC’s broadcast team an opportunity to dive into an important topic — peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The start of the second half of Buffalo’s eventual 38-20 win at Arrowhead Stadium was delayed due to lightning in the area. During the break, NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya said players were relaxing and eating PB&J sandwiches. Though, the players told her they were unhappy with the peanut butter-to-jelly ratio.

Al Michaels took the info and ran with it. He kept the conversation going by asking Mike Tirico what the proper peanut butter-to-jelly ratio is. Tirico said he has a peanut allergy so he wouldn’t know. Tony Dungy and Drew Brees then raised some more important questions about the type of jelly, type of bread, and how the sandwiches were being cut. You can hear the important debate below:

We’re used to seeing weather delays in baseball, but they’re a lot more rare in football. Apparently there was only so much for the NBC crew to talk about.

Of course, the real topics for debate weren’t created until the second half. Had these roughing the passer calls taken place in the first half, there would have been a lot more to talk about during the delay.