The Kansas City Chiefs are 2-0 and thus far look like one of the five best teams in the NFL through two weeks. They have played two very different games against two very different teams, but have managed to find a way to win in both.
Kansas City’s home-opener showed a much improved team that has learned to win ugly games when things aren’t going as planned, a big sign of a playoff contender. The season is young, but Chiefs fans have a lot to be hopeful for in the next 14 games. Here are my major takeaways from the game against Philadelphia that saw the Chiefs win 27-20.
- Chris Jones could be even better than we thought, even after an entire offseason of Jones’ upside being showered with praise. His potential is downright scary, especially with the surrounding defensive pieces to allow him to thrive. Jone’s motor is out of this world, and I don’t even know that he is in 100% football shape yet after an offseason knee scope. You read that right, the guy that had three sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception might not even be at 100%. Wow.
- Justin Houston is right when he says that the defense needs to show up and capitalize more, not that they had an awful showing by any means with 6 sacks. They left a few plays out there and I think Houston knows that and has elite expectations for his squad. Here is his exact quote, taken from Arrowhead Pride: “We did OK,” Houston said. “Not where we want to be, not where we need to be. The defense needs to be more dominant as a whole. We gave up too many plays on the field. They had, I think, 25 first downs. That’s way too many first downs for us to be the defense we claim we are.”
- First week without All-Pro safety Eric Berry went as well, or better, as you could hope. Daniel Sorenson had a few very impressive blitzes from nickel linebacker and showed his value in the box, while Eric Murray showed his coverage skills off more than once and even had a touchdown saving tackle of Zach Ertz right before halftime. There will be weeks where Berry’s void is felt more, but first week sans #29 showed that Kansas City has the depth to survive.
- Tyreek, despite not filling up the stat sheet much, played very well. The Eagle’s front seven dominated though, keeping KC’s offense from having time to let any type of deep shot develop. Kudos to Philadelphia, they played single-high safety for much of the game and still managed to avoid being beat by the long ball. Ideally next game against such an elite group up front sees Andy Reid get Tyreek more involved in the short game.
- Kareem freakin’ Hunt. It will be very hard for this coaching staff to not feed the young rookie a plethora of touches each week, though there is a benefit to keeping him fresh down the stretch. Hunt might be too good to rest though, he has been the engine to the offense through two weeks. He had another 6 broken tackles this week, and again showcased his game-changing abilities in every facet of the game. It will be hard to temper the hype around the young superstar, as he has looked like anything but a rookie.
- This was an extremely gritty win that saw Kansas City overcome adversity time and time again, something Chiefs fans will tell you they haven’t always done in the past. This is a testament to the leadership in the locker room and the culture that has been cultivated from top to bottom- which starts with Andy Reid. He deserves a lot of credit for some of the storms he has weathered in KC, some situations that would have been potentially devastating without a strong leader.
- There has been a lot of chatter about Phillip Gaines’ play and lack of consistency. He is often in the right place and stuck with his receiver well, but doesn’t have his head on a swivel and misses out on making plays. I haven’t given up on the guy yet, but getting Steven Nelson back off of IR will be a huge addition for Kansas City when he returns.
- Bennie Logan has quietly replaced Dontari Poe and been an improvement. Logan is enormous and fills gaps in a dominant fashion. He has been responsible for keeping Derrick Johnson clean and gives Chris Jones and Allen Bailey opportunity after opportunity to take advantage of being single-teamed.
- This was not a great showing for the offensive line. Alex Smith rarely had time for anything to open up beyond quick strikes. Mitch Morse sprained his ankle and will miss time. Zach Fulton is a steady-as-they-come replacement and Kansas City is in good hands with him in the short term. When second year guard Parker Ehinger is at 100% and returns to the lineup it will be a much needed boost for KC up front. I doubt we see Ehinger against the Chargers, but I would not be surprised to see him back any time after week three.