Chiefs @ Dolphins
This game was truly a tale of two half(s). The Chiefs for roughly the first quarter looked like they’d spend the game mired in Brian Flores’ defensive gameplan, but some creative playcalling, Travis Kelce surehandedness, and Tyreek Hill game-breaking speed opened up the Chiefs’ to a 33-27 win against Miami on the road. The win leaves Kansas City in the driver seat for all of the AFC, but it also puts Miami on the map as a legitimate worry for all comers going forward, as their defense turned in a great effort before the Andy Reid coaching revisions of the second half. Let’s dive in and check out the game.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes: 24/34, 393 yards, 2 TD’s, 3 INT’s, 3 sacks | 5 rushes, 9 yards
Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback going. Dynasty, or not. Not much would change our minds on this one, but it sure did help to show how dynamic and creative a passer Mahomes can be. A shaky first three drives started this game, where two interceptions sandwiched a fumble on a broken snap and a play for a thirty-yard loss. The first pick of the game for Mahomes came on a tip at the line in quarterback pressure, foiling their first drive into Dolphins’ territory. A little later in the game (the final pick) by Xavien Howard was hardly on Mahomes, as the ball was snagged out of the air on a passing play with Air Jordan surgical precision, and didn’t look like it should even have been within a foot of any defender’s hands. Check it below. Insanity.
Brian Flores clearly came into this game with the expectation of swarming Mahomes and covering Tyreek Hill, but that coverage and anticipated gameplan could only hold for so long. Mahomes was his usual self and made a couple of impressive “off back foot” flick passes, but also relied on some weapon-based playcalling that has yet to let him down, and also has vaulted him to a level no other quarterback is really that close to. Knowing that he’d have very little time in the pocket to either make space and rush or extend out plays, he focused early and often on Travis Kelce, and also benefited from Hill’s unfair ability to turn the corner and outrush absolutely anybody across the line. Mahomes doesn’t lose any value even after arguably his worst outing this season, but Miami may have shown us just how defenses can attempt to handcuff Mahomes’ going forward.
His ninth INT of the season might be his best one yet 😱 #FinsUp
— NFL (@NFL) December 13, 2020
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 16 carries, 32 yards | 6 targets, 5 receptions, 59 yards
Le’Veon Bell: 2 carries, 21 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards
Anthony Sherman: 1 target, 0 receptions
Le’Veon Bell may just be biding his time in Kansas City for the year until a new contract finds him in the offseason, but he’s performed admirably, and while in short opportunity on the ground has shown he’s still got some swagger on the field. Two rushes averaging for 10.5 yards, and taking half of the targets that Clyde Edwards-Helaire was given, it’s very clear the Chiefs are more than ready to make this a backfield where Helaire takes the bulk of the rushes and Bell eats up all the leftovers. Edwards-Helaire averaged a minute two yards per carry, but succeeded in the passing game more often than not, and was only one target behind Hill in the passing game. Ultimately, the rushing YPC for Helaire can be greatly disappointing, but for a defense like Miami going full throttle, this seemed to be much more a sign of the Chiefs offensive line having a tough time protecting anything behind it, than it was a mark on Edwards-Helaire’s game. The real issue lies in the fact that during the offseason, not enough was made of the fact the Chiefs’ have TOO many weapons. On any given play, they have roughly five options they can look to, and arguably have the league’s best wide receiver and tight end. The running game will often times take a back seat to the passing, and especially so if the game paces require air attack, or Helaire struggles early to get involved or eat up chunks of yardage. He’s a low-end RB2 that can make you entirely uneasy.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Travis Kelce: 10 targets,8 receptions, 136 yards, 1 TD
Tyreek Hill: 7 targets, 3 receptions, 79 yards, 1 TD | 1 rush, 32 yards, 1 TD
Sammy Watkins: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 52 yards
Mecole Hardman: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 40 yards
Demarcus Robinson: 1 target, 1 reception, 13 yards
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill saved Mahomes from a pretty pedestrian outing in this one. Some impressive passing was made more so from the immense pass-catching skills of Kelce and Tyreek. Late in the second half, Kelce made a pass going across the middle that was right in his glove padding but was made to look so easy that it took the play ending to realize most receivers wouldn’t have even had the ability to get to the ball and contain it upon hitting the ground. He capped off the end of the first half with a late touchdown to take the lead going into the second half. Attempting to roll out of pocket and head to the sideline, the beastly body of Kelce dwarfed the others and made it an easy zip pass between two defenders. You can check that play below!
The ability to catch almost anything that went his way led to Mahomes relying on him for almost the whole game. Hill wasn’t far behind in Mahomes’ list of “thank you Christmas cards”. Hill ended up double-dipping, and zipping out on a 32-yard rushing touchdown around the edge that almost no one else could have made happen, and also capped off a drive with Mahomes finding him down the middle of the field on an incredible pass leading over multiple defenders. The rushing touchdown was a thing of beauty, on an almost end-around where Hill had no business scoring on, just outpacing the whole defense around the corner. That’ll be below the Kelce TD. Check em out!
— QB List (@TheQBlist) December 13, 2020
— QB List (@TheQBlist) December 13, 2020
Tua Tagovailoa: 28/48, 316 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 INT, 4 sacks | 6 carries, 24 yards, 1 TD
Tua Tagovailoa may be onto something here. Just a few weeks back, when Flores finally intimated that he would be giving Tua the ball to run with (literally and metaphorically), most were worried how much it would impact the passing game in comparison to “Air Hair” Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s nice to say that wasn’t something that we had to worry about. Tua spent the first half of this game outplaying Mahomes, and at times had a small comparison to him in his way of attack. He controlled the pocket most of the game, and actually looked to be a pretty competent quarterback (exciting for Flores and the future of Miami to be sure). Early on in the game, he had completed seven passes to six different receivers, focusing on a speedy passing game, giving his receivers the chance to make moves after the catch. Later in the game, a well-thrown pass to Jakeem Grant ended up hitting Grant right in the hands and popped out to a defender. Tua finished the game with his first showing of over 300 yards in the NFL and watching this game, I’d be surprised if Tua doesn’t have sneaky top 15 upsides for the rest of the season, as he’s finally building some rapport. He actually looked to be in a spot to beat Mahomes and have a true coming-out party in this one.
DeAndre Washington: 13 carries, 35 yards | 4 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards
Patrick Laird: 4 carries, 19 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards
Lynn Bowden: 1 carry, 2 yards | 9 targets, 7 receptions, 72 yards
Do the Dolphins even have any running backs remaining? Salvon Ahmed, an undrafted darling is now in between injuries and likely out for another few weeks. Myles Gaskin, the first of the ‘Fins backs to showcase himself this season as the new pass-catching dynamo they never knew they had, has been muddied by both injuries and COVID concerns. And Matt Breida (who they say still exists in Miami, but I haven’t seen him) all ended up having this game off. So, the backfield was DeAndre Washington’s to lose. And he…didn’t do much to gain any portion of it when any of these running backs are returning. Washington has always been an intriguing PPR back, but he actually didn’t end up doing much of that in this game, instead of rushing 13 times for an uninspiring 35 yards. The true shock and true value play in this game if you wanted a running back with upside was Lynn Bowden Jr., who only rushed once for two yards, but tied for the most targets on the whole Dolphins squad, becoming Tua’s key to his consistent and fast-paced pass and go play-calling, and succeeded at it to the tune of 14 PPR points. Bowden is actually an intriguing player, while Washington seemingly may no longer be, as Bowden was a third-round pick that the Dolphins actually traded for (clearly they liked something about him. Maybe we just saw it). You can cut bait on Washington, and I hope you didn’t use him, and if you have a dynasty league, or need a sneaky low-end flex play, pick up Bowden and see how injuries play out for the next couple of weeks in Miami.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Mack Hollins: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 66 yards
Mike Gesecki: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 65 yards, 2 TD’s
Jakeem Grant: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards
Adam Shaheen: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards
Durham Smythe: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards
Malcolm Perry: 2 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards
Devante Parker: 2 targets, 0 receptions
Antonio Callaway: 2 targets, 0 receptions
Tua, as mentioned earlier, had a showcase at quarterback this week, and I was all in for it. He opted for some lesser-known names in his targets, splitting 14 of his 48 passes between Jakeem Grant and Mack Hollins. Hollins can be pretty consistent when given chances and soaked up 9 targets, but the true celebration was seeing Mike Gesecki become the first step in the mega evolution to a Travis Kelce. He only ended up with six targets, but caught 5 of those and deposited two of those five receptions for touchdowns, one of which was in the midst of three defenders and looked surely uncatchable, falling into the end zone. The man is large, sure-handed, and can run routes with the best of all the league’s wide receivers. Unfortunately, he left late in the game with what was rumored to be a shoulder-dislocation. Keep an eye on this one heavily, because at the end of the year, he’d have appeal but he also has the looks to be a top 3 potential dynasty tight end. Check out his immense tight end revival below. This may be my catch of the year.
WOW MIKE GESICKI 🤯
— PFF (@PFF) December 13, 2020
-Matthew Bevins (Reddit:TheLongSpring/Twitter:MattQbList)