Key play: Safety Ron Parker’s red-zone interception spared the Chiefs from allowing a touchdown on the Vikings’ first offensive drive.
Key stat: The Vikings went 3 for 5 on third down.
Key play: Steven Nelson’s third-down 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer extended a scoring that culminated in the Vikings’ lone touchdown of the day.
Key stat: The Chiefs were outgained 193-51.
Key play: Sharrif Floyd’s fourth-and-1 stuff of Charcandrick West at the Vikings’ 7 diffused a potential scoring drive that could have helped the Chiefs cut into a 13-point deficit.
Key stat: The Chiefs’ dormant passing game came alive, as Alex Smith completed 9 of 12 passes for 120 yards.
Key play: West’s fumble late in the fourth quarter stunted whatever momentum the Chiefs had at that point.
Key stat: The Vikings finished the game with nine tackles for a loss, which was an indication of their ability to disrupt the Chiefs’ running game.
The Chiefs missed Jamaal Charles. His replacement Charcandrick West showed some quickness, but he also had a crucial fumble late in the game. He rushed for 33 yards in nine carries while Knile Davis, who fared well when Charles got hurt last year, got 14 yards in five carries. The Chiefs as a team rushed for 3.2 yards per carry, and their ground game never seemed to put much fear in the Vikings.
Quarterback Alex Smith threw for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown, so the final line score wasn’t fail-worthy, but overall, the pass offense just wasn’t good enough. Smith was sacked twice and harassed plenty, and with the ball in his hands late in the game, he ultimately didn’t get the job done, throwing four incompletions at the end of the game.
They didn’t completely take away Adrian Peterson, but it’s pretty darn close. Anytime you can hold that guy to 60 yards in 26 carries — a measly 2.3-yard average — you’re doing something right. As a team, the stubborn Vikings rushed for 84 yards in 35 carries. There’s no denying the Chiefs did a good job here.
Aside from occasionally giving Minnesota’s receivers too much room at the line of scrimmage and allowing rookie Stefon Diggs (7 catches, 129 yards) to have a big day, the pass defense was fine. It was good enough to win, actually. They sacked quarterback Teddy Bridgewater twice and intercepted him twice.
Cairo Santos made a 48-yard field goal, and there wasn’t a ton noteworthy in the return game. Dustin Colquitt shanked a 19-yard punt at the start of the third quarter, and while the Vikings did go on to score a field goal, they started their drive at their own 25-yard line, which isn’t terrible.
The defense played well enough to win, while the offensive play-calling and execution seemed to improve in the second half. Players started showing some emotion in the second half, so it’s not as if they weren’t playing hard. But at the end of the day, the offense was still ineffective for too many stretches — particularly in the first half — and it’s the coaches’ responsibility to get it right.
Player of the game: There was no clear standout, but Vikings rookie inside linebacker Eric Kendricks had a heck of a performance in his first career start, logging 10 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a pass deflection and a quarterback hit.
Reason to hope: There was a sliver of hope at the end of the game, when the Chiefs had the ball and a chance to win despite falling behind by 13. They haven’t mailed it in.
Reason to mope: Jamaal Charles is out for the season, Jeremy Maclin has a concussion, your team is 1-5 and only one of your next four games is at Arrowhead Stadium.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs are host to the Steelers, 4-2, at Arrowhead on Sunday. By the way, the Steelers just beat a good Arizona team without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who could return this week against the Chiefs.
Terez A. Paylor, firstname.lastname@example.org