At the beginning of this Monday night football matchup, things seemed… pale.
The Las Vegas Raiders took a 17-0 lead against the Kansas City Chiefs, getting almost every break possible. But a few dynamic duos saw the Chiefs move to 4-1.
It’s doubtful many of us envisioned a 30-29 win at Kansas City that was sealed by Las Vegas receivers meeting in the final game of the game – but we should know by now that divisional games are… well … unpredictable.
Here are some of the chefs (and one non-chef) who made a difference Monday night.
Remarks: The application of the labels “winners” and “losers” is not intended to be a judgment on the skill or character of any of these players. It’s just a simple way to rate their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce: When you have two players who are the best in the league in their respective positions, who are future Hall of Famers, and who have an odd connection both on and off the court, it seems fitting to bring them together here. . On Monday night, Mahomes passed Troy Aikman in career touchdowns by throwing them all at Kelce, who is perpetually open. The two carried their team to victory with a historic performance. No matter how many things happened against this team, Mahomes was relentless. He kept shooting and he kept running. Enjoy these two every moment we see them together in Kansas City.
Darius Harris and Nick Bolton: Another duo that paved the way to victory were these two linebackers. Harris led the team with ten total tackles and a sack, while Bolton recorded nine tackles and the quarterback hit that helped ensure Carr was not going to complete his final pass of the night. . Getting Willie Gay Jr. back on this team is going to be huge, but it’s clear that Kansas City finally has a third linebacker they can rely on.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman: Two receivers who have struggled to get started this season — each known for a limited skill set and inconsistent production — both struggled against the Raiders. Valdes-Scantling led the team with 90 yards on six catches, while Hardman had the Chiefs’ longest offensive play (36 yards) and finished the day with four catches for 73 yards. Hardman struggled with the heel injury that slowed him down, making explosive plays. Valdes-Scantling made some tough holds when Kansas City really needed to move the chains. If they can build on that performance – becoming the explosive deep threats they have been in the past – this wide reception room could really start to reach its potential.
Jerick McKinnon: Just when we thought we knew what that backfield would look like this season, the duo became a trio. McKinnon led the Chiefs with 53 hard-earned rushing yards, including 30 on a game-changing play. With the Raiders up 17-0 in the second quarter — and nothing going Kansas City’s way — McKinnon pulled off a huge run that seemed to spark the offense. He even converted a couple of yard runs, proving we were wrong for not wanting to see him on short range plays. It could just be a different back providing a spark each week. In this game – when Clyde Edwards-Helaire had an up and down night and Isiah Pacheco only had one carry – it was McKinnon. That could change again next week – but without No. 1 on the field, the Chiefs might not have won on Monday night.
Rashad Fenton: It’s a big ask to leave someone one-on-one with Davante Adams. But for some reason Kansas City coaches thought Fenton was the guy they wanted there. It didn’t take long for Adams to make them pay, setting Fenton on fire early in the game with a 58-yard touchdown reception. Then it was Fenton (again defending Adams) who drew a pass interference penalty that triggered the drive that gave the Raiders a 14-0 lead. Rookie Jaylen Watson was also called up for PI on the same record, but she still felt like he was more capable of sticking with Adams than Fenton. Interestingly, the Chiefs relied on Joshua Williams to pressure Adams on the final defensive snap of the game, which led to a collision and a huge incompleteness. Whichever rookie gets the call, it’s like it’s their time.
Orlando Brown, Jr. and Andrew Wylie: Other than Adams, the toughest matchups on the court were Kansas City’s offensive tackles against Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby. It’s safe to say that it didn’t go well on both ends of the line. Crosby in particular feasted on Wylie, racking up two sacks, three tackles for loss and multiple pressures. This is becoming a worrying pattern.
Juju Smith-Schuster: The veteran had one of the best catches of the game early in the second half, along with another catch-and-run that set up one of Kelce’s touchdowns. But otherwise, Smith-Schuster struggled to connect with Mahomes. The team’s most reliable receiver ended up scoring only three of his eight targets. On Monday night, it emerged that the quarterback and receiver weren’t enough on the same page.
Carl Chefffers: As a general rule, we don’t like to blame the referees when matches don’t go as planned. But the setter’s rude call against Chris Jones was then weird and then blatant that he lands a non-leader on this list. Jones clearly tried to brace himself by going to the ground to keep all of his weight from landing on Derek Carr. It was a bag of textbooks that had nothing to do with a penalty – just like the one that arrived with Tom Brady on Sunday. But even more devastating was that Jones had managed to take the ball away from Carr before he even put the quarterback down. So the wrong call cost Jones a bag and one turnover – while the team lost three points as the inexplicably extended practice ended with a field goal in Las Vegas.