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Is the AFC West locked down? It certainly feels that way after the Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs saw their usual top offensive stars dominate at crucial points. Elsewhere, other offensive figures seized new opportunities. We also saw the Kansas City defense make some key stops with their backs to the wall to boot.
Each week we will list players, position groups or coaches who have improved or injured their respective stocks. Who saw their stocks up or down in week 11 for Kansas City? Let’s get started.
Patrick Mahomes continues to have all the answers no matter what the opposing defense throws at him. You can perform a male coverage. His ball placement and accuracy is perfect at the moment. On the other hand, Mahomes seems to be feeling the pressure in the pocket like never before. His comfort throwing on the run was always there. But Mahomes knows how to beat the defense with his legs in crucial situations.
Additionally, the Chiefs quarterback is one of the few who can be trusted to lead his team out of deficits and into potential winning runs. There are few who do it better at these points than Patrick Mahomes. Finally, his three touchdown passes, zero interceptions and 329 passing yards against LA continue to build his potential MVP résumé.
We all know that Travis Kelce is the leader of the passport group. This will be even more evident this season as the Chiefs lose Tyreek Hill in the offseason. Still, the Kansas City tight end is enjoying what may be its most dominant season yet. That’s obviously saying something, given the records he’s broken and the pace he’s been going in recent years. But somehow, Kelce only needs 37 receptions, 562 yards and a touchdown to set new single-season career highs in those categories. There are still seven games to play.
Against the Chargers, Kelce consistently hit the opponent after the catch. He also knows how to widen the quarterback’s throwing window and achieve more separation at the top of his routes. Simply put, Kelce did that again and again on Sunday night. He got a trio of touchdowns. And for the second straight season, he dashed the Chargers’ hopes with a walk-off result in their own prime-time building.
The Chiefs had injuries to the wide receiver that came into play. Also, they suffered more at this point during the game. Accordingly, it was Skyy Moore who made the most of the opportunity he had. He had the second most goals (six) and second most catches (five) for the Chiefs that night. While Moore was the third-highest for Kansas City with his receiving yards (63) on the night. We saw some of the quickness of separation and route running skills that helped Moore catch the Chiefs’ attention in the 2022 NFL Draft. Mahomes knows he can trust the Western Michigan product because of that performance all the way.
Due to the comeback in the second half and the game win, Isiah Pacheco faltered a bit. However, the rookie running back was solid from the start of the game. He had an encouraging week in the game before and capped off this week with a more commanding display against the Chargers. Pacheco bounced off tackles, used his cunning to create extra yards and even surprised some Los Angeles defenders with his short area kick. He earned the starting role. More importantly, Pacheco provided the Chiefs with needed toughness and variety that was lacking in the running game. Overall, he finished with 107 rushing yards on 15 carries, good enough for 7.1 yards per carry.
Chris Jones and Mike Danna
Chris Jones is arguably having one of his best seasons. As a pass rusher, he overwhelmed the Chargers’ offensive line later in the game. Jones finished the game with two sacks, three tackles for loss and four quarterback hits. Also, don’t forget his efforts in running plays and gaining leverage at the line of scrimmage.
Mike Danna must love playing this Los Angeles team. He had a notable game against them earlier this season. Now, in the final meeting against the Chargers, Danna collapsed on Justin Herbert for two sacks. He helped Kansas City get off the field and created opportunities for tremendous field position. With his ability to move around the defensive line, Danna can be a Pest-like pass rusher on aggressive Chiefs defense.
Chiefs Secondary (outside L’Jarius Sneed)
L’Jarius Sneed put in a solid performance, playing in all areas of the field. For the rest of Chiefs high school, however, it was largely a night to forget. The safeties just couldn’t keep up with the speed and sluggishness of the chargers on intersecting routes. As for the cornerbacks, we saw Kansas City fail to challenge at the catch point, the line of scrimmage, and miss a few tackles on top of that. The Chiefs can easily fix some of these mistakes by getting the fundamentals right. At other moments, Kansas City needs to be able to do correct reads and leverage more backend communications.
Kansas City Injury Report
When we went into the game, we knew Mecole Hardman would be out for at least four games total with a stomach injury. JuJu Smith-Schuster missed last night’s game with a concussion. Unfortunately, the Chiefs suffered more devastating injuries last night. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has a sprained ankle, according to Andy Reid. Kadarius Toney retired early with a hamstring injury. Of course, each of the two has dealt with different ailments in their respective careers. Also, Juan Thornhill was quickly ruled out with a calf injury. Given that Kansas City is already past its farewell week, the Chiefs need to be smart about how they handle these injuries.
Keep an eye out for more articles and analysis from the FPC Chiefs this week. For more great sports and NFL content, visit Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs Editor-in-Chief for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and keep following Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.