Focus on Chiefs: Just win, baby? Sounds like Kansas City’s new motto

Time to read
4 minutes
Read so far

Focus on Chiefs: Just win, baby? Sounds like Kansas City’s new motto

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 14:06
Posted in:
In-page image(s)
Body

Oct. 7--Just win, baby.

It may not be the Kansas City Chiefs’ slogan, but it might as well be. It’s all they really do.

It doesn’t matter if Patrick Mahomes outplays Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson while throwing for 385 yards and four touchdowns, or if he can’t help the Chiefs offense break the 200- yard mark until the fourth quarter.

It doesn’t matter if the Chiefs wait until the fourth quarter to score their first touchdown, or if they score TDs on four straight possessions in the first half.

It also doesn’t matter who they play, Titans, Texans, 49ers or Ravens. Nothing changes the bottom line for coach Andy Reid’s team. They. Just. Win.

The Chiefs haven’t lost a game in the last 10 months. The Raiders, who have proprietary rights to Al Davis’ old motto, have lost two games in the last 10 days.

No one’s beaten Kansas City since Week 11 of last season when Tennessee escaped with a 3-point win because of a touchdown with 23 seconds left. The Chiefs will try to extend their NFL-best 10-game winning streak -- 13 if you count the postseason -- when the Raiders visit Arrowhead Sunday morning.

Still, Mahomes realizes the 4-0 Chiefs are far from perfect, even after a workmanlike 16-point win over the Patriots Monday.

“Obviously, I didn’t do enough because we didn’t execute to a high enough level,” Mahomes said. “Whenever you’re trying to go throughout a season and win as many football games as possible to set you up for the playoffs, you’re going to have to win games like this.”

Fortunately for them, winning is what they do best.

The Chiefs set an NFL record by beating New England as they became the first team in history to start 4-0 for four straight seasons. Kansas City also became the first team in NFL history to win on a Monday on consecutive weeks, thanks to the game being pushed back a day due to a New England player testing positive for COVID.

Want more winning history? Under Reid, the Chiefs have had a winning streak of at least four games in each one of the former San Francisco State assistant coach’s eight years leading Kansas City. ----

Here’s a closer look at what to look for Sunday when the Raiders play in front of actual fans for the first time when they play at Arrowhead Stadium:

GAME ESSENTIALS: Raiders (2-2) vs. Chiefs (4-0) at Arrowhead Stadium, Sunday at 10 a.m. (PT) on CBS-TV. ODDS: Chiefs -13.

THREE REASONS FOR RAIDERS’ OPTIMISM:

Maybe Chiefs take them lightly?

We know, this is the NFL and there are no gimmes. These guys are professionals whose job it is to bring it each week. But considering the Raiders game is in the middle of a brutal 11-day stretch when the Chiefs play three games, and the Patriots and Bills are their other two opponents, wouldn’t it be human nature for Kansas City to assume things will be easier this week? Doing so could open the door for the Raiders. It may be a rivalry game, but the Chiefs have won 10 of their last 11 against the Raiders, and are double-digit favorites for the fourth time in their last five games against the Raiders. Hey, you asked for an optimistic view.

Chiefs’ most dangerous defender hurting

Derek Carr may welcome the news that Pro Bowl defensive lineman Chris Jones’ s status for the game is undecided. Jones, who leads the Chiefs with 3.5 sacks, sat out Sunday’s win over New England with a groin injury. Jones has 28 sacks in the last 2 1/4 seasons, including 15.5 in 2018. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Jones also has two forced fumbles. By comparison, the Raiders entire defense has four sacks and no forced fumbles through four games.

Trouble containing Jacobs

Josh Jacobs was the Raiders’ most impressive offensive player against the Chiefs last year when the rookie averaged more than 101 rushing yards per game. As a rookie, Jacobs was able to slash his way through Kansas City’s defense. He gained 99 yards in the first game on 12 carries (8.25 yards per carry), and then he backed that up with 104 yards rushing on 17 carries (6.12). Still, Jacobs’ chances of gashing K.C.’s defense would improve dramatically if right tackle Trent Brown (calf) could return this week. Jacobs is coming off a 48-yard effort in the loss to Buffalo, his third-lowest yardage total in his brief career.

THREE REASONS FOR RAIDERS’ PESSIMISM:

They can’t stop Travis Kelce

Talk about matchup nightmares, the Raiders haven’t found a solution for Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce the last few years. That doesn’t make them much different than other clubs, but Kelce has taken a lot of delight in ruining the Raiders’ secondary, particularly the last two years when he’s had 29 catches for 427 yards and three touchdowns. He has more than 100 receiving yards in four of his last seven games against the Raiders. At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Kelce has somehow been able to get lost in coverage often against the Raiders. They can’t stop Tyreek Hill

They can’t stop Tyreek Hill

Facing speedy Chiefs All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill twice a year was somewhat of a factor of the Raiders selecting speedster Henry Ruggs III in the first round. The Raiders badly wanted their version of Hill, whose speed has frightened NFL defenses since he entered the league five years ago. Hill is currently on one of his biggest hot streaks as he’s scored a touchdown in all four games this season. He’s the first Chiefs player to catch a TD pass in each of the team’s first four games since 1972. Oh, the Raiders also have to worry about Hill’s speedy sidekicks at receiver, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins. Then again, why worry about what you can’t control? “Nobody in the NFL can guard any of us,” Hill said.

Chiefs’ improved defense

Kansas City’s resurgent defense did something in its win Sunday no other team has done since 2012 -- force the Patriots into four turnovers in a game. OK, it probably makes a difference when their quarterback is Brian Hoyer and not Tom Brady (or Cam Newton). The playmakers made plays when the Chiefs needed it most against New England. Safety Tyrann Mathieu had a pick-six (his 15th interception since 2015) and defensive linemen Frank Clark (sack at end of the half) and Taco Charlton (strip/sack/fumble recovery) each single-handedly made plays inside their own 15-yard line to render back-to-back Patriots’ drives scoreless. Kansas City’s fifth-ranked pass defense will get a huge boost with the return of starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who was suspended the first four games for marijuana possession in the off-season. Breeland was a big factor in last year’s pass defense playing so well -- he had 48 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and eight passes defensed.

PROBABLE DIFFERENCE-MAKER: Patrick Mahomes.

Here’s another reminder Mahomes is something else: The Chiefs quarterback completed 66 percent of his passes while throwing for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over New England and the immediate response was, “What’s wrong with Mahomes?” But that’s what happens when you’ve become the NFL’s most dynamic player. It only seems as thought the reigning Super Bowl MVP and former NFL MVP plays near-flawless ball each week -- as he did last week when he went 31-of-42 for 385 passing yards and four touchdowns to beat the Ravens and Lamar Jackson. This week he’ll more than likely tie ex-49er Elvis Grbac for the Chiefs’ all-time record with TD passes in 15 consecutive games. The question is whether the Raiders can prevent him from inflicting much more damage? History surely isn’t on the Raiders’ side.