Week 6 served as a reminder that no team will reach the Super Bowl without making adjustments along the way. After getting steamrolled by the Steelers on Sunday, it's finally Kansas City's turn
In a sense, the Chiefs picked a good weekend for their worst performance of the season. Two 13-point underdogs won on the same week for the first time in 44 years, a slew of other favorites fell, and arguably the best player in football went down with a major injury. So Kansas City's first loss of 2017 did not become a major headline—they even retained the top spot in The MMQB Power Rankings Poll. But trust that coaches around the league took notice of what the Steelers did in Arrowhead Stadium, outgaining the Chiefs 439-251 and possessing the ball for over 36 minutes en route to a 19-13 victory.
Pittsburgh controlled the game on the ground, tallying 194 rushing yards and highlighting K.C.'s biggest weakness. Andy Reid's defense now ranks 28th in yards per rush allowed. SB Nation has a more extensive breakdown of the Chiefs' run defense scheme if you're interested, but the gist is two-fold: Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has opted to put more pass defenders on the field, and none of those smaller players, forced into the box, can play above their weight class like injured safety Eric Berry could.
Sutton's approach worked well enough for five weeks, and there are things Le'Veon Bell can do to a defense that other backs can not (the Chiefs are 15-2 in their last 17 non-Steelers games, after all), but more challenges lie ahead. Kansas City has matchups with run-heavy Cowboys and Bills teams coming up, and it will have to fend off a physical squad from Denver to keep a hold on the AFC West. Plus there's a chance Pittsburgh will be waiting once again in January. Before any of that though, the Chiefs face a talent-laden and hungry offensive line Thursday night in Oakland. If there was one lesson in Week 6, it's that no team will win the Super Bowl without making adjustments along the way. Now, it's finally Kansas City's turn.
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1. Titans 36, Colts 22. Tennessee scored on its final three drives to put away Indianapolis and earn a much needed win in Marcus Mariota's return from a hamstring injury.
2. Player representatives, owners, and Roger Goodell are meeting today in New York to discuss the national anthem and player protests. Beforehand, a league spokesman said the NFL would endorse a criminal justice reform bill. We'll be keeping you updated on anything that could come out of the gathering.
3. As a way of showing the physical toll football takes, Scott Fowler highlights the Panthers' six captains, four of whom "have missed significant time already this season with serious injuries" while the other two are dealing with health issues, too.
4. Former 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman is now a Raider. The four-time All-Pro could suit up as early as Thursday.
5. A humiliating loss to the depleted Giants has quickly soured the mood in Denver, where Mark Kiszla writes, Trevor Siemian is not the answer at quarterback. When he's thrown 35 times or more, Denver has gone 3-7.
6. The Dolphins must be taken seriously after beating the Falcons in Atlanta. After all, they are 12-4 in their last 16 games.
7. ...Meanwhile, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter D. Orlando Ledbetter argues that Sunday's loss proves the Falcons’ Super Bowl hangover is toxic and real, pointing out that "the Falcons have been outscored 72-40 in the second half of their five games this season."
8. Bill Barnwell tackles the Aaron Rodgers problem.
9. Injury update time: Golden Tate is reportedly out multiple weeks with an AC joint sprain, while Jameis Winston could play through a similar shoulder injury. Teddy Bridgewater has been cleared to practice this week.
10. Randy Moss is the only football player in history to have his own signature Air Jordans. Feels right.
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The Gronkowski brothers showed up on Shark Tank. Appropriately, they ended up being silly and successful.