The Kansas City Chiefs went on the road to one of the better teams in the NFC where many expected a tough loss.
However, it was a much more complete game from the entire team that took down the Falcons in Atlanta. It had become common that the defense needed to shut offenses down in order for the Chiefs to have a shot. Against the Falcons, Andy Reid finally opened up the playbook.
The Chiefs put big numbers on the board with downfield plays to Travis Kelce and Albert Wilson. They didn’t settle for field goals in the red zone and took timely risks that shows why Andy Reid just guaranteed his 4th straight winning season in Kansas City. The Chiefs still have some work to do but the way they win gives hope for when the big pressure hits in the playoffs.
Dec 4, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) carries the ball in front of Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal (22) in the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Chiefs won 29-28. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
What a day for moving the football and punching it into the end zone. Alex Smith on paper had one of his best days and his first half was one that resembled a top tier quarterback. However, his second half left a little to be desired. Smith missed on a couple of sure-fire touchdown passes. One that really had his detractors’ fingers flailing in angry tweets was his overthrow of Spencer Ware.
Ware snuck behind the coverage as Smith began to roll to his left. Even though Smith saw him, he threw the ball on a line rather than lofting it and letting Ware get under it. The pass would have been a touchdown and would have put the Falcons away in the fourth quarter.
Speaking of Spencer Ware he had a difficult time in the run game. He hasn’t had a big game in several weeks and this week was against a weak run defense. A lot of it is the offensive line but some of it lies on Ware. He hasn’t broken the tackles lately that made us so excited in the first few games and he appears just a step slower. It could be a nagging injury and hopefully the Chiefs can figure out a way to get him going as it gets colder.
The Chiefs fandom as a whole owes an apology to Albert Wilson who showed tremendous speed and hands in Atlanta. Wilson took a fake punt snap 55 yards to the house and caught several key passes over the middle. He finished with four catches for 48 yards plus his one run to put him over 100 total yards. In the beginning of the season it was expected that WIlson would drop the big passes over the middle, especially on third down. His emergence could be just in time for Maclin to return and give Smith a complete bag of tools.
Dec 4, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) celebrates fourth quarter after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 29-28 at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
They gave up a lot of yards but when it came down to it the defense won the game again for the Chiefs. Eric Berry had the game of the season with another pick 6 and his first ever pick 2 off a failed two-point conversion attempt. His 8 points by himself was more than two other teams scored on Sunday. He had an amazing homecoming and deservedly stole the headlines of the game. Berry is playing for a contract but knowing what I know about him, his priorities during the season are different. He wants a championship in Kansas City ahead of his own big payday. He wants to get paid but there might be a few things ahead of that on his list of goals. After that game, John Dorsey had better be looking at any way possible to get him his money.
Lost in the heroics of Berry is a group effort by the Chiefs in goal to go situations. Not only were the Falcons forced to settle for two field goals but they were also turned away on fourth down on the Chiefs’ 10 yard line. That is holding one of the most prolific offenses in the league to 6 points when it could have easily been 21. Now they didn’t have Julio Jones at 100% for most of the game but the Falcons still have plenty of firepower to move the football.
Where the Chiefs really stumble in the grade this week is the penalties. Both offensively and defensively the penalties killed the Chiefs all day and extended Falcons’ drives. Some of them were definitely calls that could have been left out but the Chiefs need to be more disciplined against the Raiders this week. Let the Raiders be the Raiders and the Chiefs can take full control of the AFC West.
Dec 4, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson (12) celebrates with wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter of their game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Chiefs won 29-28. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Special Teams: A-
Yet again the special teams of the Kansas City Chiefs makes their case for a collective MVP award. Dave Toub saw something when on 4th down the Chiefs forced a Falcon timeout. On their own 45 the punt team executed a fake punt to perfection for a 55 yard touchdown. Albert Wilson went largely untouched as he ran right up the middle and easily avoided the return man of the Falcons. It is those kinds of calls that will make the Chiefs playoffs as long as creativity and risk taking aren’t stifled on the sideline.
A blocked extra point and some punt-touchbacks drop the grade this week but there appears to be one thing the Chiefs can rely on: The special teams won’t make the big mistake that gives the game a way. Somehow it is always the other team that makes the big special teams mistake and the Chiefs just play their game.
The playcalling was solid and the defense tightened up in the redzone. Everyone knows how I feel about the special teams coaching. The reason for a “B” here is the penalties. That’s it. When your team gives away 128 yards because of discipline it becomes a coaching issue. Reid will fix it and fix it quickly. Meanwhile they face the most penalized team in the league on Thursday night. If the Chiefs can stay disciplined against the Raiders and play their game then the Raiders will give it away. It is an inevitability and I stand by it!