The Kansas City Chiefs moved to 3-0 on the season with a 38-27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday. The Chiefs offense was as advertised in Patrick Mahomes‘ home debut. Opening the game with 5 straight Touchdown drives in the first half and building up a 35-10 halftime lead. Kareem Hunt found the endzone twice from a yard out to cap off scoring drives to open the game, and then the young gunslinger went to work, surgically dissecting the 49ers defense in route to throwing 3 touchdown passes to 3 different receivers, bringing his 3 game total to 13 TD passes, a new NFL record, and most interestingly to 9, yes NINE, different receivers.
And that’s the way we became… pic.twitter.com/rY907DhqmF
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) September 23, 2018
The all time NFL record for most different receivers to catch a touchdown for a team in a season is just 13, set by the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. There’s a good chance that record could also fall this year, as the Chiefs still have several weapons on the team who have yet to get theirs. So, while the offense has put up video game-like numbers through the first 3 weeks of the season and it has been incredibly fun to watch; unfortunately for Kansas City, the defensive struggles that have plagued the team through the first couple of weeks continued to plague them in this one. Now, I’m not going to sit here and say “the sky is falling” or “time to hit the panic button” or anything like that. However, these are the facts, and the facts aren’t pretty.
- The Kansas City Chiefs defense has given up more yards than anyone else in the National Football League through 3 weeks. Link
- The Kansas City Chiefs defense ranks 29th in the NFL in scoring defense through 3 weeks. Link
- The Kansas City Chiefs defense ranks 30th in the NFL in yards per play allowed through 3 weeks. Link
All of that said. These numbers are slightly misleading. For much of the 2nd half of games, like this past Sunday against the 49ers, and week 1 against the Chargers. The Chiefs defense was sitting back on their heels and basically playing prevent defense to protect big leads. They were giving up chunks of yardage underneath because they’re “ok” with giving up yards and letting teams grind out the clock on their own because they’re so far behind in the second half. The Chiefs much maligned pass rush finally made it home in this game in the 4th quarter, sacking Jimmy Garoppolo 4 times. Two of those sacks were made by Justin Houston, who Chiefs fans have been harsh on over the past year or so. I spoke with Justin Houston after the game and he said “Feel’s good to be 3-0 knowing we still got a lot of work to do, especially on the defensive side of the ball”. So he, and the defense are aware they’re not playing up to the standard they need to. The nice thing is, that we’re just 3 games in to a 16 game schedule. There’s plenty of room for growth and improvement on the defensive side of the ball. So, for all the shortcomings of the Chiefs defense, if you want to take something away from this game, from a positive perspective, the pass rush finally getting home is something to hang your hat on.
Next week, the Chiefs are on Monday Night Football! Kansas City will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos as Mahomes returns to where it all began. Pregame will be Monday at 6:00, with Kickoff around 7:15 PM, and you’ll hear it on Topeka’s Rock Leader, V100! Until next time friends.