It was the worst of times and then it was the best of times. The Kansas City Chiefs were a tale of two halves during Monday night’s matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders. The first half exuded similar vibes to Week Three as the Chiefs found themselves in an early 17-0 hole. Arrowhead Stadium was shrouded in stunned silence as the Raiders were able to get anything they wanted on offense and were hammering the Chiefs on defense.
Two scoring drives and an incredibly questionable roughing the passer call later, the Chiefs along with the Arrowhead faithful, turned on a dime. Patrick Mahomes and company came out of halftime with a fury not seen in quite some time and fed off of the suddenly playoff-like electricity of the Arrowhead crowd. As terrible as that first half was, the Chiefs’ offense was brilliant and led the team to a come-from-behind 30-29 win in primetime.
The defense still had its struggles as Davante Adams continued to run successful deep routes over the young Chiefs secondary and Josh Jacobs ended up with a season-high 154 yards on 21 carries. They did step up when they had to, stopping the Raiders on a two-point conversion which would have given them the lead.
Spagnuolo's defense stepped up when it mattered most, especially on this 2-pt stop. The improved run defense makes this team unstoppable when the offense is clicking. pic.twitter.com/F7EVQJLNim — Preston Farr 🍥 (@preston_b_farr) October 11, 2022
When it comes down to it, a win is a win, especially against the Raiders. While it was certainly not the Kansas City Chiefs’ best effort coming out of the gates, there were some players that brought their juice and helped pulled a victory from the jaws of defeat”
Chiefs Players Trending Up After The Week Five Victory
Welcome to the Kansas City Chiefs, MVS! This is not to take anything from Travis Kelce’s four-touchdown monster performance. Kelce is the best tight end walking God’s green earth and he showed out in the red zone all night. Kelce, however, was held to only 25 yards as he getting blanketed between the 20s. Enter the birthday man, Marquez Valdez-Scantling. MVS turned in his best performance of the year, with season-highs of six catches for 90 yards.
a very normal throw pic.twitter.com/BhR7hHPkOn — Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) October 11, 2022
With the way the Raiders were covering Kelce in the middle of the field, Patrick Mahomes needed someone on the outside to step and Valdes-Scantling filled that role in a big way. Mecole Hardman helped out as well with four catches and 79 yards of his own, but number 11 was the one who was Mahomes best target in the receiving corps. Mahomes was targeting him all over the field for most of the night and the Chiefs do not walk away from Arrowhead with a win without the wideout’s clutch performance.
Darius Harris was one the lone bright spots on a Kansas City Chiefs defense that was gashed by the Raiders offense. Harris was all over the place, racking up a season-high ten tackles and a huge sack for the first of his career on a well-timed blitz at the end of the third quarter. Harris was on his third game subbing in for suspended linebacker Willie Gay and has performed magnificently.
#Chiefs LB Darius Harris gets to #Raiders QB Derek Carr for the sack. #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/CXfZyjMlK2 — Devon Clements (@DevclemNFL) October 11, 2022
He recorded the first two tackles on the night and seemed to be one of the only Chiefs defenders who was consistently finishing tackles. His chemistry with fellow stud linebacker Nick Bolton is evident as Bolton himself was able to record nine tackles as well. While Harris may not have the pass coverage capability that Bolton and Gay have, his tenacity for stuffing the run game is evident in the film. If Harris continues his run of brilliant play after next week’s Buffalo game, he may find himself with quite a bit more playing time even with Gay back in the lineup.
Chiefs Players Trending Down After Week Five’s Showing
Orlando Brown Jr.
Orlando Brown Jr. has bet on himself multiple times since being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. This past offseason, he turned down a five-year, $91 million extension in the hopes that he will become the highest-paid left tackle in the league. Brown has not made this goal a secret and I will not criticize anyone for trying to secure as large of a bag as they can, but it appears as if Brown may have over-played his hand on this one.
Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones was abusing Brown all throughout the game which was the main cause of the first half’s disruption of the Chiefs’ offense. Andrew Wylie, the other Chiefs offensive tackle, did not have any better luck against the Raiders’ other stud defensive end, Maxx Crosby. However, Wylie is not the one who is asking to be the league’s highest-paid offensive lineman. This is also not the first time that Brown has failed to answer the call against some of the league’s best pass rushers.
Coming into Monday Night Football, as Jacob Milham of Arrowhead Addict points out, Brown had allowed nine quarterback hurries which were tied for the most allowed in the NFL. He also ranks toward the bottom in quarterback hits, pressures, and sacks allowed. These are not numbers that would justify a contract worthy of the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league. I understand that betting on yourself can be a successful strategy, but it is called “betting” for a reason and Brown currently looks to have a losing hand.
Chris Jones had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad night against the Raiders. For the second time in three weeks, Jones fell victim to an extraordinarily questionable personal foul penalty as he was called for roughing the passer on a would-be strip sack of Derek Carr. If that atrocious call never happened, then we would be talking about how Chris Jones made the biggest defensive play of the night and was the main turning point of the comeback. That call did happen and while it may have spurred the comeback bid in terms of crowd support and outpouring of emotion, it led Jones to be held out of the sack column for the third straight week.
Chris Jones is one of the longest-tenured players on this Chiefs’ defense and is one of the undisputed leaders on the whole team. There is also no denying his talent level as he does things on the field which no man his size has any earthly right to be doing. With all of that being said, Jones has only six tackles on the year to go along with only two sacks, both of which came against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week Two and were mostly held off the stat sheet against a Raiders offensive line that had been struggling mightily coming into Monday night.
If Chris Jones brings his A game with him to Arrowhead, similar to what his counterparts Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones did, then this game turns out much differently. The Raiders were able to get pressure all night by only rushing four and the Chiefs had to bring extra pass rushers just to get a sniff at sacking Derek Carr. Therein lies the frustration with the recent play of Jones. He is not expected to almost get sacks and almost get tackles. He is expected to actually complete those plays. We all know he can do it and we have seen him do it.
This is not a question of attitude or effort as we do see him busting his tail out there. It is the lack of production on the field that is actively hindering the defense. I believe that Chris Jones will start producing more sacks and tackles for loss as the year progresses, but that production has simply not shown up yet.
When it comes to it, a win is a win. In the immortal words of Dominic Toretto, “It doesn’t matter whether you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning.” It was not always pretty — and was downright ugly at times — but the Chiefs did come away with a victory in the division against their hated rival. If the Kansas City role players, such as MVS, Darius Harris, and others, can continue to produce and if the linemen on both sides of the ball can turn it around, then this team may very well find themselves hoisting the Lombardi in February. Only time will tell.