The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a big 31-13 victory over the Washington Football Team. The final score doesn’t tell the whole story, though. The Chiefs had a rough first half, and the turnovers that had plagued the team through the first five weeks of the season reared their ugly heads again.
With the Chiefs leading 7-3 and driving into the red zone early last week, disaster struck. Actually, Mahomes threw a ball that struck Tyreek Hill in the hands. Maybe the ball was thrown too hard, but Hill couldn’t make the grab and popped the ball sky-high into the air and Washington capitalized with an interception on the play.
Later in the half, it was Mecole Hardman who took a jet sweep and made his way around the corner and close to a first down while within kicker Harrison Butker’s field goal range. Hardman coughed up the ball before coming to the ground and Washington, once again, took over when the Chiefs were setting up for a score.
Near the end of the first half, Mahomes led the team down the field in under a minute to get into field goal range. A botched snap led to Mahomes scrambling around and being taken down by Washington defensive end Chase Young. Mahomes had the option to take a sack and call a timeout. The team would have still been in field goal range if he had chosen that option. Unfortunately, Mahomes decided to loft a pass nearly straight in the air that barely reached the line of scrimmage and straight into a Washington defender's arms for the third turnover of the half. The Chiefs were down 13-10 at halftime with plenty of points left on the table.
The second half was a night and day difference. The offense continued to hum, as it generally had the first half, but didn’t turn the ball over. The points started to rack up. The defense pitched a second-half shutout. By the end of the game, it was an 18-point decisive victory for Kansas City.
The Chiefs need to keep that second-half mojo and continue rolling that momentum into the upcoming game against the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans are coming off a huge Monday Night Football victory over the Buffalo Bills — a team many thought was the best team in the AFC and a team that gave the Chiefs a beatdown just a few weeks ago. So, how can the Chiefs stay on the right path?
It starts with limiting those pesky turnovers. If the Chiefs don’t turn the ball over, they will possibly score 40-plus points and win the game. If they do turn the ball over, it’s simply giving the Titans a chance to take the game away from them. Sure, it seems obvious, but it’s the truth. The Chiefs have been bad at turning the ball over to start the season and if they want to win against one of the AFC's better squads, it needs to stop.
The Chiefs' defense hasn’t been able to have big takeaways as it has in previous seasons. Forcing Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill to throw an interception or two would be a huge way to turn the tides in a game that is supposed to be a close one between the two teams. On that note, the Chiefs’ defense needs to continue to show positive progress.
Last week was a great start, but the Washington Football Team's offensive attack isn’t known for being a dynamic one. This week will be a much stronger test for the Chiefs, as they have to face running back Derrick Henry and likely the wide receiver duo of Julio Jones and AJ Brown. If the defense shows up in a big way and holds the Titans under their season average of 28 points per game, then that will set the Chiefs up for success.
The Chiefs have what it takes to continue on a positive path. A win over the Titans in Nashville on Sunday would put the Chiefs right back up there in the national conversation as a contender in the AFC. Some of their shine wore off at the beginning of the season, but no matter what, the Chiefs' players will continue to play with chips on their shoulders moving forward. When they do that, it could be scary for the rest of the league.