The Kansas City Chiefs came out with a very different mindset against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football and came away with a huge win on the road.
There were talks that the Chiefs were still the soft, finesse team that got beat down in Super Bowl LV by these Buccaneers the last time these two teams played. Tampa Bay linebacker Shaq Barrett said as much when asked about how to prepare for the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.
"I think we have an opportunity to really dominate the game." 🗣️: @ShaquilBarrett pic.twitter.com/rOgsGql2Am — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 28, 2022
Safe to say, that prediction did not come to fruition. The Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, took control from the very first play, forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff and taking only two plays to score the game’s first touchdown. They never looked back after that, staying in the bird dog seat for the rest of the game to win 41-31.
The Bucs threatened a couple of times, but never got within two scores after their first-quarter field goal to bring the score to 7-3. Kansas City answered with another touchdown on their second drive, courtesy of a Clyde Edwards-Helaire touchdown, handed off by Jerick McKinnon of all people, which made it 14-3 and it was off to the races for the Chiefs.
Direct snap to McKinnon. CEH punches it in! #ChiefsKingdom 📺: #KCvsTB on NBC 📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/o84hsBqv8I pic.twitter.com/0JAQaxnfEB — NFL (@NFL) October 3, 2022
The Chiefs Looked Much Different In Week Four Than Week Three
These Chiefs came out with a much different mindset than we have seen all season. Maybe it was the loss they had to hold after that embarrassment last week or maybe it was the Super Bowl shellacking they took two seasons ago. Whatever it was that lit the fire, the Chiefs took it to Raymond James Stadium and had zero problems dealing with a Tampa Bay defense that was one of the best in the league coming into the game.
Patrick Mahomes went 23/37 for 249 yards, three touchdowns, and a gift-wrapped interception in the final minutes of the game. The real player of the game, however, was Travis Kelce. Number 87 came there as a different kind of animal and you could see it from the jump. Every time Kelce touched the ball, he was trying to take it upfield with a vengeance. His stat sheet may not jump off the screen, with nine catches for 92 yards and the first touchdown of the game, but he set the tone with his attitude and the way he went about his business on the field.
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The tandem of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco ran with force tonight as well, combining for 30 carries and 155 yards. It appeared as if they were both competing for the starting running back job as CEH has looked inconsistent for the first three weeks of the season. Chiefs fans have been clamoring for more of the new number 10 to tote the rock and so far have been impressed. Pacheco on his own went for 11 carries for 63 yards while attending return duties on kickoffs.
CEH was no slouch on this night, however, as he was the bell-cow with 19 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns — one on the ground and one through the air. Tampa Bay came into this game as one of the run defenses in the league but CEH and Pacheco were able to gain yardage with ease.
Another bright spot was new kicker Matthew Wright who was signed after Matt Amendola was cut earlier this week. Wright nailed all five of his PATs as well as hitting both of his field goals from 32 yards and 44 yards. It felt really great to not have to worry about the kicking team this week as Wright was basically automatic. Everything seemed to be right down the middle with no drama and that’s exactly what you are looking for in the kicking game.
That is not to say the Chiefs were perfect, however. Tom Brady took advantage of the middle of the field all night despite hardly being able to throw the ball more than ten yards downfield. Brady ended up going 39/52 for 385 and three scores. Two of those touchdowns went to Mike Evans who had eight catches for 103 yards on top. Evans was able to do whatever he wanted when he was not matched up on L’Jarius Sneed so the other Bucs receivers were able to feast on the middle of the field.
Slot receiver Chris Godwin, who came back from an ACL tear last year, had seven catches. Running backs Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White combined for 12 catches and 117 yards, and three tight ends caught eight balls for 90 yards. The defense could have used a little tightening up considering that Brady did not test them down the field too much, but they held up when they needed to and helped deliver a win.
Watching the Chiefs from the start, you can tell that they meant business in Tampa Bay. The running backs were running north and south with authority, the receivers were making plays and holding on to the ball, and Patrick Mahomes led a mostly clean game for all four quarters. This is the kind of performance that the Chiefs are going to need to emulate in order to the goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come February. If Kansas City can keep playing like that, there will not be a team in the NFL that can get in their way.