Crucial game for Chiefs on Sunday

By Steve Sell
October 19, 2018

We’re going to find out what the Kansas City Chiefs are made of on Sunday.

The Chiefs are coming off their first loss of the season, but it wasn’t your average, run-of-the-mill defeat.

It was a punch-to-the-gut loss on the final play of the game at New England, where they were trying to pull off the near-impossible feat of winning back-to-back years in Foxboro.

The loss also spoiled a terrific comeback engineered by second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who added to his legend by leading the Chiefs roaring back from a 24-9 halftime deficit.

The game ended a stretch of four road games out of six for the Chiefs, who haven’t been home since waxing Jacksonville and the only other home game was against San Francisco, which seems light-years ago. 

Cincinnati comes to town and NBC, trying to take advantage of the hype surrounding Mahomes and his cast of highlight-reel performers, is putting the Chiefs on prime-time for a second straight week. Some of the luster was taken off the game with Cincinnati’s loss last week to Pittsburgh, which was just the second of the year for the Bengals, but it’s still a game matching teams that certainly are in the hunt for the postseason.

Cincinnati’s loss to Pittsburgh was just about as devastating as the Chiefs’ to the Pats. The Bengals gave up a late TD pass and that kept the Steelers still in the conversation. Pittsburgh has been one of the NFL’s most underachieving teams and a loss to the Bengals might have sent it on a downward spiral.

Arrowhead should be roaring. The Chiefs are going to wear their “color rush” uniforms for the occasion, which means they’ll be in their all-red. It’s a look I like the most, as they seem to me, for whatever reason, faster in the all-red. And they’re plenty fast to begin with.

This game is going to be about the Chiefs’ defense. Kansas City never forced a single New England punt last week and it was awful against the run, giving up nearly 6 yards a carry. It wasn’t much better against the pass as corners Steven Nelson and Orlando Scandrick, along with nickel Kendall Fuller, were little more than fodder for old Tom Brady, who looked spry for his 41 years. New England accounted for 500 yards of offense, which seems to be the norm for this Kansas City defense.

But in its last appearance at home, the defense held Jacksonville to 14 points, even though Blake Bortles had a career day throwing the ball and the Jags averaged 5 yards a rush. The difference was that it came up with sacks and turnovers, something it didn’t do against New England.

The Chiefs know this game can quiet the critics who are saying this is just another Andy Reid team that gets off to a fast start, then fritters away the glitzy record. But I think this is a different Chiefs team, even with such a shoddy defense.

Kansas City 38, Cincinnati 28.