National Football League

Chiefs Survive Scare, 'King Henry' Rolls

December 13, 2020

Patrick Mahomes showed early signs of vulnerability against the Miami Dolphins, but Kansas City ultimately flipped the switch to win its fifth consecutive AFC West title.

Week 14 also featured several other clashes with major playoff implications, as precious few games remain for teams to decide their respective fates ⁠— both favorable and unfavorable.

Here are the major takeaways from the early window of Week 14:

Mahomes, Chiefs rally vs. Dolphins

The Dolphins made Mahomes look mortal, but the Super Bowl champions still managed to leave with their heads held high and a 33-27 win.

Coming into the game, Mahomes had only thrown two interceptions the entire season. Miami managed to pick Mahomes off three times.

KC’s talisman QB had a rough first quarter overall, including taking a 30-yard sack in the game’s opening frame.

Mahomes bounced back, however, going 24 for 34 for 393 yards, two touchdowns and that trio of interceptions. Fortunately for Kansas City, they’re not short of offensive weapons, as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce both proved to be a handful for Miami.

On the other sideline, Tua Tagovailoa had an impressive outing. Miami’s rookie QB threw the ball 48 times, completing 28 passes for 316 yards, two touchdowns and a pick.

Tua also rushed for a late touchdown to cut KC’s lead to 30-24, but Kansas City answered with a field goal on the ensuing possession.

Miami’s kicking game responded to make it a one-possession game again, but the Dolphins were unable to recover the onside kick, as the Chiefs kneeled out the clock to win the game, as well as their fifth straight AFC West championship.

Brady, Bucs bounce back

Staring at his first three-game losing streak since 2002, Tom Brady was determined to staunch Tampa Bay’s recent slide on Sunday.

Brady and the Bucs had lost back-to-back games prior to last week’s bye, and though it wasn’t overwhelmingly convincing, they secured a 26-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Brady had a pair of touchdowns, including one to old friend Rob Gronkowski, on 15-of-23 passing for 196 yards.

A miserable outing from Vikings kicker Dan Bailey significantly helped Tampa Bay’s case.

Bailey started the game with a missed extra point on Minnesota’s opening touchdown, and it all went downhill from there.

In addition to the missed PAT, Bailey missed three field goals throughout the course of the game.

The loss served as a big blow to Minnesota’s playoff hopes, who now sit at 6-7 heading into Week 15.  

Henry steamrolls Jags

The Tennessee Titans opened their first possession with a trick play to get on the board early against Jacksonville, then leaned on superstar running back Derrick Henry to ride to a 31-10 win.

After being bottled up last weekend against Cleveland, Henry came out firing against the Jaguars.

King Henry racked up 215 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, and even paid tribute to another athlete of regal acclaim, LeBron James, mimicking The King’s celebration.

Titans QB Ryan Tannehill finished the game 19-of-24 with 212 yards and a pair of scores, finding A.J. Brown seven times for 112 yards and a touchdown, as Tennessee improved to 9-4 for the season.

Broncos hold off Panthers

The Denver Broncos scored a solid road victory, holding off a late rally from the Carolina Panthers to win 32-27 at Bank of America Stadium.

A punt return for a touchdown ensured a strong start for Denver, as Diontae Spencer bolted 83 yards to find the end zone in the first quarter.

The Broncos and Panthers traded punches from there on, with the Broncos going to the air for their damage and the Panthers relying on the ground game.

Drew Lock missed on just six of his 27 attempts, racking up 280 yards and four touchdowns. A pair of those scores went to rookie wideout K.J. Hamler
 

Running back Mike Davis led the way for Carolina, with two touchdowns and 51 yards on 11 carries. Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater also rushed for a TD, but did not have a passing TD in the contest. 

Trubisky carves Texans apart

A surgical Mitchell Trubisky went 24-of-33 for 267 yards, as the Chicago Bears lowered the boom against the Houston Texans.

Bears running back David Montgomery got on the board first with an 80-yard scamper in Chicago’s opening possession.

Chicago’s offense then flowed through Trubisky, who had three touchdown throws in the first half.

Khalil Mack enjoyed a strong day defensively for the Bears, forcing a fumble in the first quarter and sacking Texans QB Deshaun Watson for a safety in the second quarter.  

The loss dropped Houston to 4-9, officially eliminating the Texans from the playoffs.

Cowboys remain in NFC East hunt

Andy Dalton marked his return to Cincinnati with a 30-7 win, going 16-of-23 for 185 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as the Dallas Cowboys improved to 4-9.

Dalton snapped a streak of five consecutive games with at least one interception, while Amari Cooper led the way for the Cowboys with four receptions for 51 yards and a score. 

Dallas’ oft-maligned defense also got a chance to shine, forcing the Bengals into fumbles on three consecutive possessions to start the game, one of which Dallas returned for a TD.

For the Bengals, they slipped to 1-10-1 for the year and tightened their grip on the No. 3 overall pick in 2021’s draft.

Talk about Reddick-ulous

The Arizona Cardinals flipped the script on a three-game losing streak with a 26-7 win against the New York Giants, putting up points in all four quarters of the contest. 

While Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins rekindled their connection (nine catches, 136 yards), it was a defensive player that stole the show for Arizona.

Haason Reddick rolled up a franchise-high five sacks against Giants QB Daniel Jones, while also forcing three fumbles.

Jones went touchdown-less for the day, marking his third consecutive game without a TD pass.


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