Following the KC Chiefs’ 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday, beat writer Terez A. Paylor answered Twitter questions about whether it’s OK to believe in this team again, whether Patrick Mahomes could make his NFL debut soon and more.
It’s the most important win of the season, since it put the Chiefs in the driver’s seat for their second straight division title and announced to the rest of the NFL world that they just might be back. It might also be their most convincing win, since it really was a complete effort. You didn’t ask this, but I still think their most eye-opening win was the season-opening victory over the Patriots. Nobody thought they were winning that game.
I’m not going to nitpick these guys, man. They showed up in the biggest game of the season and took care of business. The running game was rolling, Alex Smith looked sharp, the pass rush was nasty, the secondary was forcing turnovers and even the run defense was solid. The special teams were uncharacteristically average, but given special-teams coach Dave Toub’s pedigree, I wouldn’t worry about that at all.
Last week, I went on the radio and said that we might be in line for a “Marcus Peters Game.” I knew Peters would be fired up by three things —– the suspension, a night game at Arrowhead and a showdown against one of his nemeses, Keenan Allen. And boy, was he ever. Two interceptions, a crucial open-field tackle and a part in a forced fumble seemed to effectively quiet the “Peters is a distraction” talk, at least for another week. If the Chiefs continue to get the best of Marcus, the defense can rise to another level.
Smith was outstanding, completing 23 of 30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating of 120.3 was excellent, too. He looked decisive, he was accurate and he powered the ball downfield when he could. That was the form he showed during the Chiefs’ 5-0 start, when he looked like an MVP candidate. If he continues to play like that … maybe, just maybe, the Chiefs could surprise a bit in the playoffs.
Eric Berry is one of the best leaders I’ve been around, period. Everyone on the team talks about him in reverential tones. He’s the heart and soul of the team, and his importance to this team’s chemistry was proven during the two-month skid.
Really good. I’ve been hard on those guys, especially during the losing streak, but they really did a nice job keeping Smith upright Saturday. Give kudos in particular to Mitch Schwartz, who always seems to play his best against the AFC’s best pass rushers, but Eric Fisher also did a nice job against Joey Bosa.
Lots of questions there, man. Let’s go through them, one-by-one. 1. Every Chiefs fan, since the Chiefs traded two first-round picks for this guy. Fans want to see him play. I get it. He’s fun to watch. 2. Because they can’t help but wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. I’ve maintained that this year, it’s not. But they can’t help themselves. 3. I wouldn’t get excited just yet. The stink of November is difficult to get over. Make them continue to prove it to you. 4. Yes.
Sure. The Chiefs can clinch the division with a win next week against Miami, which would potentially make the regular-season finale against Denver moot. Chiefs coach Andy Reid was in that position in 2013, and he ended up resting most of his starters. If the Chiefs are in that situation again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Patrick Mahomes. That would be a terrific audition for 2018 and give Mahomes some actionable learning tape throughout the offseason.
Harrison Butker is under contract next year for a cap number of $555,000. It’s a raise from his cap number of $382,941 this year, but given the way the rookie has kicked, he’s earned that raise.
Never say never, but I imagine Zach Fulton wants to go somewhere he can get paid and start. He’s a good football player, and you guys are starting to see something I’ve long maintained, which is that he’s best at center. Mark my words –– if he doesn’t re-sign with the Chiefs, he’d land with a power run team and establish himself as a good starter.