The key plays, stats and grades from the KC Chiefs’ 12-9 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.
Player of the game: Giants safety Landon Collins was all over the place, recording 14 tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception.
Reason to hope: The Chiefs still lead the AFC West coming out of the weekend. Somehow. The schedule is still soft the rest of the way, and the Chiefs could still earn a first-round bye if they win out. The run defense looked better this week.
Reason to mope: The offense isn’t making enough big plays and has looked disjointed for more than a month. The defense isn’t sacking or affecting the quarterback.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs will return to Arrowhead Stadium, where they will play host to the Buffalo Bills and head coach Sean McDermott –– a Andy Reid protege –– at noon on Nov. 26. The Bills entered their game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday with a 5-4 record. They’ve lost their last three games against the Chiefs, all since coach Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City in 2013.
Rushing offense: Entering the game, the Giants’ run defense ranked 30th in the NFL, allowing 132.6 yards per contest. The Chiefs finished with 134 yards in 29 carries, an average of 4.6 yards per carry. Running back Kareem Hunt scratched out 73 yards in 18 attempts, which isn’t bad considering the emphasis the Giants put on shutting down the run. Quarterback Alex Smith ran five times for 27 yards, many via scrambles. The running game wasn’t the problem, but I’m not handing out an above-average grade after a loss like this.
Passing offense: Entering the game, the Giants’ pass defense ranked 30th in the NFL, allowing 267.8 yards per contest. Smith completed 27 of 40 passes for 230 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 61.5. And while he was only sacked once and hit twice, that came against the league’s worst pass-rush, which had registered only 13 sacks entering the contest. The Chiefs just cannot string enough big plays together in the passing game to punish teams for stacking against the run in certain situations. Smith needs to revert to the form he showed in weeks 1 through 8. Tight end Travis Kelce threw an interception, as well.
Rushing defense: Entering the game, the Giants’ run offense ranked 25th in the NFL with an average of 89.8 yards per contest. The Giants rushed 32 times for 112 yards and a touchdown, and running back Orleans Darkwa finished with 74 yards in 20 carries. The defense didn’t get gashed here, but again this loss stinks enough that I refuse to give any unit better than a “C.”
Passing defense: Entering the game, the Giants’ pass offense ranked 18th in the NFL with an average of 217.8 yards per contest. Quarterback Eli Manning completed of 19 of 35 passes for 205 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 71.7. Safety Daniel Sorensen picked off running back Shane Vereen on a trick play, so that was a positive. But where was the pass rush? Zero sacks, only one quarterback hit. They also surrendered the game-winning scoring drive, which came primarily via the air. The Chiefs’ overall numbers are good from this game … but the Giants stink. Not good enough.
Special teams: The Chiefs gave up a successful fake punt early in the first quarter, though it didn’t lead to any points. De’Anthony Thomas muffed a punt but recovered it, and returned a kickoff 39 yards. The Giants’ return squads did nothing. Harrison Butker also made three field goals (31, 31 and 23 yards). Punter Dustin Colquitt dropped four of 5 punts inside the 20. This unit would have gotten a “B” in a win but I’m going to dock a full grade with the loss
Coaching: We’re holding the coaches accountable for this one, and not just because Reid does that in every postgame presser following a loss. The Giants, 2-9, are an inferior football team to the Chiefs, 6-4. There’s no excuse for this loss. The offensive coaches have got to figure this out, because this disjointed team looks nothing like the unit that terrorized teams over the first month of the season. Meanwhile, the lack of pressure from the defense is becoming a major concern. You can’t win in the playoffs without generating pressure, and once again the Chiefs couldn’t affect the quarterback. What an ugly, deflating loss.