While the Kansas City Chiefs made it to the playoffs with the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, the regular season's conclusion means it's time for the Chiefs end of year grades.
Kansas City finished the season 14-2, winning the AFC West for the sixth-straight season. In addition to the divisional title, the Chiefs claimed four wins over playoff teams in 2020-21.
Arrowhead Report's Mark Van Sickle joined me on today's episode of Roughing the Kicker to give out our final grades and hand out our postseason awards.
Here's how I graded the team on their final report card. In parenthesis is the midterm grade I gave the position group ahead of Week 8.
Offensive Line: D+ (C)
The Chiefs have had nothing but trouble at the interior offensive line position this season. Patrick Mahomes has shown he doesn't fully trust his guards as we see him drifting out of the pocket more than usual. Kansas City brought in Stefen Wisniewski but he has played only when there were injuries and in Week 17. Injuries have really hindered this group, whom I had high hopes for.
Defensive Line: B- (B-)
While some players start the second half of the season strong, others don't. The latter was true for Frank Clark. He has an up and down season but has played well as of late. The emergence of undrafted rookie Tershawn Wharton has helped save the grade from falling. Despite the dip in play in Weeks 10-14, the defensive line has gotten back to the level it was at just eight short weeks ago.
Passing Game: A (B)
Patrick Mahomes is having an MVP caliber season throwing the ball and Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are both having great years catching the ball. With those factors, it's hard to grade them anything below an A. It's the best part of this Chiefs team and it shows week in and week out.
Run Game: C (C+)
The addition of Le'Veon Bell bumped up my midterm grade for the unit but after eight more weeks of play, I don't know if they've played at the same level they did earlier in the season. While it's hard to get a ton of carries with a passing attack as good as the Chiefs, Kansas City hasn't had a strong running performance in the second half of the season.
Linebackers: C (D+)
This grade was immediately raised the moment Willie Gay Jr. began to play a bit more. Albeit due to injury, Gay made an impact on the field and flew around like no other backer on the roster could. Sadly, Gay suffered a high ankle sprain and is reportedly out two to four weeks. Both Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson have been playing at a solidly average level and even Ben Niemann was showing glimpses of good play against the Atlanta Falcons before he left with an injury. This unit needs to get healthy and can be strong once they are.
Secondary: A (A-)
This secondary has been the best surprise of the year. Seeing L'Jarius Sneed play well, get injured then return and continue his good play has been very encouraging. Of course, the solid play from the usual suspects has been a nice complement to Rashad Fenton and Sneed's emergence. In the safety department, Tyrann Mathieu continues to be a ball hawk with 6 interceptions. While Juan Thornhill's playing time has decreased in the second half of the season, Daniel Sorensen has played well. Overall, the secondary has exceeded outside expectations and could be a large reason this team goes deep in the playoffs.
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