The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the 2017 regular season with a 27-24 victory over the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs played week 17 with an array of backups and still pulled out a win against a Broncos team that has had a tumultuous season. The Chiefs now look ahead to hosting the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the playoffs next week at Arrowhead Stadium. Here are the week 17 Kansas City Chiefs takeaways.
Week 17 Kansas City Chiefs Takeaways
Playoff Bound on a Win Streak
Everyone knows the story by now – Kansas City started 5-0 and was labeled as the best team in the NFL by many teams. This win streak included victories over the AFC’s number one seed New England Patriots and the NFC’s number two seed Philadelphia Eagles. However, it was after a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and a heartbreaker against the Oakland Raiders that the wheels began to fall off.
Kansas City stumbled through a 1-6 stretch which included losses to the worst team in the NFC in the New York Giants and what were two slumping teams in the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. There were calls for Alex Smith to be benched in favor over of rookie Patrick Mahomes, but Andy Reid held strong in his belief in Smith. The Chiefs rebounded to win their last four games, three of which were against division rivals. Kansas City ended the season 10-6 and won their second straight AFC West title for the first time in franchise history.
Through it all, Kansas City held together and seem to have found their groove heading in to the post season. There were some who wondered whether the Chiefs should play their starters in week 17 to keep the momentum going, but Reid opted to give his stars a break. Hopefully the offense comes out firing on all cylinders next week and the defense continues to bring pressure from multiple spots on the field against a Tennessee team that has been very up and down this season.
The Patrick Mahomes Debut
This was the day that many in Chiefs Kingdom have looked forward to since April, when Roger Goodell read Patrick Mahomes name off of the index card at the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chiefs prized rookie quarterback was finally going to show what he could do in a real game against a real defense, and he did not disappoint.
Despite playing with nine backups, Mitchell Schwartz being the lone starter to play all game long, Mahomes was 22 of 35 for 284 yards and an interception – against the number two ranked defense in the NFL. The day was about what you would expect for a player making his first career start, on the road, with backups, against a premier defense in the NFL… but the stats don’t tell the entire story.
There were some throws today that Mahomes made that just left you in awe. Some of the throws off his back foot, rolling out of the pocket, or even in the process of getting tackled were like things we haven’t seen from a Chiefs quarterback in a long time. Mahomes had touch when he needed to and fired bullets when he had to, en route to leading his team to a win in his first start. This was the first Chiefs win by a quarterback that the team drafted since 1987 – a streak unlike any other in the NFL. Whether Mahomes takes over this off-season or after Alex Smith’s contract is up, the future looks bright for the rookie.
The Anthony Sherman Game
How about a tip of the hat to Kansas City fullback Anthony Sherman? The “sausage” set a career high in carries and yards, toting the ball 14 times for 40 yards and a touchdown, the first rushing touchdown of his career. Sherman had to step up as Kansas City wasn’t going to risk injury to Kareem Hunt after he clinched the rushing title on his lone carry, a 35 yard touchdown on the opening drive. The Chiefs were already thin at running back with Charcandrick West being out with an illness, then Akeem Hunt left the game with an ankle injury. De’Anthony Thomas was expected to carry some of the load, but he too went out with an injury.
Anthony Sherman has been with the Chiefs since Andy Reid arrived five years ago. Sherman was acquired via trade for cornerback Javier Arenas – a trade that has greatly paid off for the Chiefs. While Sherman’s game will not have much, if any affect on the rest of the season, but will be a performance that Sherman deserved and will remember for the rest of his life.