It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. The Kansas City Chiefs waltzed into Met Life Stadium for the second time this season, hoping to counter their let down against the New York Giants in week 11. However, the afternoon New York Jersey clouds hung high as the Chiefs defense pandered away an offensive showcase. The Chiefs were truly dichotomous with the final score falling in favor of the New York Jets 38-31. After Andy Reid handed play calling duties over to offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, the offense came out and shattered the scoreboard with two quick strikes. However, the defense returned to disastrous third down play, allowing the Jets to convert 13 of their 20 third downs. The week 13 Kansas City Chiefs takeaways presented delightful plays intermixed with a defense that was consistent in failing to finish.
Week 13 Kansas City Chiefs Takeaways
1) Fireworks Everywhere
Alex Smith, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce were the personification of fireworks. Whether Smith refined his confidence, or Nagy broke the communication barrier with his quarterback, the offense was ready to work. Kelce used his physicality and athleticism to catch two first quarter touchdowns, one good for 22-yards, the other good for 36-yards.
The Jets are known for running single, man-man coverage on teams under head coach Todd Bowles, and the Chiefs took advantage of that with Hill’s speed. As physics dictate, when a faster player is put on a slower cornerback, touchdowns happen. Hill drew in a 79-yard and 40-yard reception for his two touchdowns. However, he also was used in the quick passing game to draw in four other targets, finishing with six receptions and 185 yards.
Regarding the quick pass game, Smith was more proficient in longer quick strikes this week. The offense operated with more west coast concepts on late downs that allowed Smith to target farther down field. Conceptually, Smith relied on the route to create intrinsic yardage instead of relying on the receivers to create yardage after the catch.
The transition in play calling allowed the Chiefs to set up timed play calling that took advantage of the Jets youth. Rookies Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams were burned several times, while even veteran Morris Claiborne was turning in circles.
Kareem Hunt only got nine runs the entire game, but they were often essential runs for opportunity generating conversions. Outside runs on third down provided opportunity for the offense to continue marching for field goals. Smith joined in the fun, finishing the day as the leading rusher with 70 yards; only it was on one very explosive carry.
Although the run game was not entirely in que, the Chiefs were able to score 31 points without building on the run. And 31 points should be good enough to beat any NFL team.
2) A Spinning Secondary
Unfortunately, 31 points were not good enough for the Chiefs to win on Sunday. The defense had no answer for Josh McCown and his core of receivers. Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson received 157 and 107 yards respectively. To make the defensive performance even more tragic, most of those receptions were uncontested. Kearse caught nine of 10 targets; Anderson caught eight of 12 targets.
Despite Darrelle Revis making his season debut as a Chiefs player, he began the second half on the side line. Terrance Mitchell went in for him, but was immediately targeted and burnt. Nothing changed throughout the game, no answers existed, and the play was dreadful. The secondary was spinning in futile circles.
Safeties Daniel Sorensen and Ron Parker were consistently too late to assist in the pass game, while Reggie Ragland and Derrick Johnson were one step behind running backs. The Jets utilized quick slants and a slow pass rush to create winning efficiency. McCown was kept clean on the day in the face of a sleep-walking pass rush, allowed to complete 26 of 36 passes.
The running game was of particular mediocrity for Ragland and Johnson. Although the Jets had to carry the ball 49 times to garnish 157 yards, those yards came at the worst of times. There is no excuse for allowing 13 of 20 defense.
Near the end of the second half, there was a specific play where Matt Forte and Johnson faced off in isolation on a third down pass. Both of equal veteran fortitude, Forte agilely slipped passed Johnson, and into the end zone. The moment personified the afternoon for the Chiefs defense; always one step too late.
3) Come on Man!
The final Jets scoring drive was so derisive and abysmal, it deserves a separate segment appropriately titled “Come on Man!”, as each play would beget fans and analysts yelling the exclamation at the Chiefs defense. The defense was not only late, but for all intent, allowed McCown to march in for the icing score.
Early in the drive, Chris Jones had McCown in his hands for a would be sack, but let him slip out. However, the Chiefs would stop the Jets for a field goal, only Bennie Logan lined up over the long snapper and managed to knock the only player on the field who is untouchable. By interfering with the long snapper, Logan gave the Jets a first down, momentum, and a jovial life.
The Chiefs then stopped the Jets twice on the goal line and came to the haunting third down. The afternoon was a destiny of inexcusable mistakes; Steve Nelson committed a holding penalty on the third down stop, which gave the Jets another first down. McCown finished off the day with a one-yard touchdown carry.
The holding penalties were still not complete. After the Jets attempted a two-point conversion and were stopped, a holding penalty was called in the secondary. Marcus Peters then epitomized the entire embarrassing showing by picking up the yellow flag and launching the flag, common sense, and dignity into the crowd. The Jets closed the game by converting their second two-point attempt.
As explosive as the Chiefs offense was, the Chiefs defense netted more “Come on Man!” moments than opportunity.