It wasn't pretty — that seems to be a common theme — but the Kansas City Chiefs were able to get back above .500 for the first time since Week 1 with a victory over the visiting Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The Chiefs' offense was the third-best unit on the day, as Steve Spagnuolo's defense impressed for long stretches and Dave Toub's special teams group was, well, special. In the end, though, Kansas City did what it needed to do and is now right back in the thick of the AFC playoff race.
Here are four takeaways from Sunday's game.
1. Melvin Ingram is already making a difference
When the Chiefs shipped a sixth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for pass rusher Melvin Ingram, they were essentially using a Day 3 draft pick on a half-season rental to help bolster their front four. Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the move was Chris Jones, who is at his best when he's playing from his three-technique alignment. Ingram immediately made an impact for the Chiefs, putting pressure on Packers quarterback Jordan Love on multiple occasions. He served as a boost for a defense that desperately needed one, with both himself and his teammates to perform at a high level.
2. The Chiefs' defense, as a whole, was great
The shutout lasted relatively deep into the game, and Steve Spagnuolo's defense gave up just seven points in all. Sure, it was against a quarterback making his debut. With that said, Spagnuolo dialed up plenty of blitzes to keep the Packers honest and his main contributors were fantastic. Jones made a difference, Frank Clark made a difference, Ingram was good and L'Jarius Sneed made two of the biggest plays of his young NFL career. The Chiefs' defense isn't anywhere near out of the woods, but this is something to hang its hat on.
3. Mecole Hardman struggled immensely
Mecole Hardman has had some target-heavy games this season and has managed to flash in some of those moments, but Sunday's game wasn't kind to him. His ball security was as poor as it's ever been, as dropped passes and near-fumbles reared their ugly heads once again. He benefitted from forward progress and incomplete pass calls, as well as recovering his own muffed punt, but he was arguably the worst player on the field for the Chiefs. On a team that needs reliable special teams play (I only have room for four points, so this is my shout-out to Dave Toub's unit for being fantastic outside of Hardman) and a second wide receiver to step up, Hardman didn't provide either against the Packers.
4. Patrick Mahomes continues to be a shell of himself
Over the past month, Patrick Mahomes has played like an unrecognizable quarterback. Gone are the explosive plays that made him a league MVP. Instead, he's misfiring on passes he normally connects on and he's not even close to being on the same page as his receivers. Running the football may help the Chiefs open things back up on offense — and Andy Reid has to also be better — but Mahomes is enduring the worst stretch of his entire professional career. This is no longer one bad performance. It's multiple strung together. Winning games is crucial considering the Chiefs' amount of losses through nine games, but figuring out what's going on with Mahomes is a necessity as well. He flashed being his old self on the Chiefs' final drive of the game, and building on that will be something to look for moving forward.