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This game started off about as poorly as possible for the Kansas City Chiefs. They gave up big play after big play on defense, Patrick Mahomes threw first possession interception and suddenly they were down 10-0 in the first quarter. This team didn’t panic, though. They stuck with it on both sides of the ball and ended up winning the game by over 20 points. The poise shown heading into the bye week shows you exactly what this team is capable of at its best.
So what else did we learn about the Chiefs in their latest game?
This game had everything that you wanted to see from the offense after a poor performance a week ago against the Buffalo Bills. Everyone on the offensive side of the ball contributed in a meaningful way against a defense that was considered among the league’s best. Eight players caught passes and 10 were targeted. Four different players carried the football as well.
The receivers were especially impressive on Sunday. Each of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman stepped up in key moments. Once they get things figured out on the defensive side of the ball, this team could be very dangerous.
An ugly start for Kansas City where the game script seemed to really work against them on the offensive side of the ball. Once they got away from that and let Mahomes really work his magic, things started to normalize on offense.
Isiah Pacheco got the start officially, but this team is still trying to figure out how to best utilize their running backs and running game. By the end of the game, it felt like Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon all made meaningful contributions.
I know this is Willie Gay Jr.’s first game back in over a month, but the Chiefs might be doing a little too much to protect him. Rotating players in and out so frequently seemed to be doing more harm than good.
This really felt like a game that a pair of rookies took big steps forward. Joshua Williams recorded his first career interception and made some nice plays after struggling in Week 6. Isiah Pacheco had the long kick return and then really seemed to thrive in his opportunities running the ball.
After a poor week against the Bills in Week 6, the offensive line really responded in Week 7 against the 49ers. They were really flawless in pass protection outside of the plays where Nick Bosa lined up in the neutral zone. They also looked better blocking up the run game.
Both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are really starting to settle into the offense. Their chemistry with Mahomes in the passing game has been noticeable over the past few weeks.
I was a little critical of the Chiefs’ pass rush in the first half, but they really came alive in the second half. Frank Clark, Carlos Dunlap and Khalen Saunders had some really nice snaps that resulted in sacks or key pressure. I still think they need to find some more help and consistency here, but this was a positive development.
Touchdown-nullifying penalties are becoming a bad trend for the Chiefs. They had two penalties that erased touchdowns against the 49ers, including a costly and questionable one ahead of the end of the first half.
Steve Spagnuolo seems to get a little carried away with the blitz game at times. Against a quarterback like Jimmy G, he’s been able to get away with it. Against other quarterbacks, it won’t be so successful.
The Chiefs have a bye week in Week 8, but fans are hoping that the front office will stay busy during that time period. The NFL’s trade deadline is coming up on November 1 and K.C. is expected to be in the market for some help. The question is going to be whether they can find impact players at a worthwhile price before the deadline.