Chiefs Defense Delivers Win

Two things stood out on Christmas Eve; the Chiefs defense and Patrick Mahomes.  The Seattle Seahawks came into Arrowhead fighting for their playoff lives.  They made the Chiefs earn the win.  Seattle found a way to slow down the high-flying Chiefs offense…or so it seemed.

Defense Leads the Way!

The Chiefs defense delivered great field position to their offense for their second possession of the game.  Taking advantage of the short field, the Chiefs drove 67 yards, scoring on a Mahomes toss to Kadarius Toney.  The rest of the first quarter consisted of three Chiefs punts.

The Chiefs defense once again set the offense up for an easy score when George Karlaftis sacked Geno Smith for a 9-yard loss on Seattle’s own six-year line.  The punt put the Chiefs on their own 47-yard line.  The drive ended in a Jerick McKinnon touchdown reception.

The Chiefs next drive only netted a field goal.  Finally, the Seahawks were able to get on the score board with a field goal to end the half.  The Chiefs defense forced the Seahawks to punt four times and had defeated one fourth down conversion attempt late in the first quarter.

The third quarter was uneventful.  The second half really didn’t come alive until midway thru the fourth quarter.  Mahomes hit a 20 yard and a 52-yard pass to Travis Kelce.  After an Isiah Pacheco 5-yard run, the Chiefs were sitting on the Seahawks three-yard line and it was third and goal.  Mahomes was flushed out of the pocket and made an epic dive for the pylon.  As Mahomes dove for the pylon, he extended his right hand and the football grazed the outside of the pylon.  Just like that it was 24 to 3 with less than five minutes to go in the game.

Today’s game was a defensive struggle.  The Seahawks forced the Chiefs to punt ten times and they stoned the Chiefs on a fourth down conversion attempt.  The Chiefs defense forced the Seahawks to punt six times while winning three out of six fourth down conversion attempts.  The Chiefs forced a turnover and sacked Geno Smith twice.  Smith spent a lot of time on the ground as the pressure consistently got to him.  It should be noted that the Chiefs defense starts a rookie at corner as well as outside linebacker.  At any given moment, the Chiefs defense could feature two rookie corner backs, a rookie safety, a rookie defensive lineman and a rookie linebacker.

Nick Bolton led the team in tackles.  He and L’jarius Sneed were consistently in on most of the plays.  Bolton and Sneed flew around the field making tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis.  Chris Jones and George Karlaftis had timely drive stopping sacks while Juan Thornhill caught an interception in the end-zone.  Frank Clark spent a lot of time in the back field as well.  The Chiefs defense thrived in the cold.  Perhaps they should play in cold weather more often.

Areas of Improvement

The Chiefs are Patrick Mahomes centric.  Andy Reid refuses to just hand the football off and let his running backs work.  Pacheco was averaging 4.1 yards a carry and showed no signs of slowing down, yet Reid failed to continue to feed him.  The Seahawks are notoriously susceptible to the run, yet Reid kept dialing up pass plays.  The Chiefs need to find consistent production out of more than just Travis Kelce.  JuJu Smith Schuster needs to step up.  One player that has stepped up is Jerick McKinnon.  He has six touchdowns in December (including two today), leading the whole NFL in that category.

In other news Travis Kelce became the fastest tight end to 800 receptions in NFL history.  Nick Bolton is fifth in the league in tackles and Patrick Mahomes must be the leader for MVP because without him, the Chiefs would be dead in the water.  He generated offense when he needed to and willed the team to score in the waning minutes of the game.  Perhaps Andy is being vanilla in preparation for the playoffs.  Playing vanilla has its dangers as well.  Next week, Denver comes town.

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