The key plays, stats and grades from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 29-20 win over Washington on Monday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Player of the game: Kicker Harrison Butker showed mental toughness by nailing the game-winning field goal –– plus two more field goals —– after missing the first attempt of his NFL career
Reason to hope: The Chiefs remain the NFL’s lone undefeated team.
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Reason to mope: Starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif suffered a knee injury that could keep him out for a while.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs, 4-0, will take to the road to face the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Houston, 2-2, is coming off an impressive 57-14 win over a Tennessee team that was expected to be a contender before the season. Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was taken two spots after the Chiefs selected Patrick Mahomes, accounted for five touchdowns in the win. The Chiefs lost to the Texans the last time they faced them, a 19-12 defeat last September at NRG Stadium.
Rushing offense: Kareem Hunt only got five carries in the first half, but he rallied to finish with 101 yards in 21 carries. He consistently made something out of nothing late in the second half. Quarterback Alex Smith was also effective running the ball, rushing seven times for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Passing offense: After a one-catch performance a week ago against the Chargers, tight end Travis Kelce got back into the mix, catching seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Alex Smith was harassed most of the first half, but he did a nice job keeping his cool and still finished 27 of 37 for 293 yards and a touchdown. His completion percentage was affected by a number of drops –– his targets dropped at least four catchable passes Monday, and maybe more. He was also sacked four times.
Rushing defense: Washington opened the game by showcasing an effective rushing attack, mixing power and inside concepts effectively on their first few drives. The Chiefs’ defense began to settle in, however, and held Washington to 111 yards in 26 carries.
Passing defense: Kirk Cousins did a nice job locating the open man. He connected on a handful of big throws and finished 14 of 24 for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Some of those big throws, surprisingly, came against All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters, who surrendered a pair of touchdown passes. Cousins also wasn’t sacked.
Special teams: Rookie kicker Harrison Butker missed his first career field-goal attempt –– from 46 yards out –– that could have tied it in the waning seconds of the second quarter. Butker did bounce back and made his next three field goals, including the game winner. Punter Dustin Colquitt also dropped his 400th punt inside the 20-yard line, good for fourth all-time.
Coaching: The Chiefs started flat, falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter. But it’s a testament to their mental toughness under Andy Reid that they again displayed an ability to come back, taking the lead in the third quarter.