Chiefs @ Saints
Both quarterbacks were under 50% passing in the first half. The Saints’ defense held the Chiefs’ high-powered offense to just two touchdowns on seven first-half drives. The Chiefs’ DeMarcus Robinson fumbled on a punt return while trying to make a big play and the ball went through the back of the end zone for a safety. A Saints’ player jumped on the ball and almost had a touchdown but he hit it out of the end zone. The offenses were able to get rolling in the second half, as they combined to score five touchdowns and a field goal. The Saints lost star defensive lineman Cameron Jordan early in the fourth quarter after punching a Chiefs’ offensive lineman. The Chiefs scored on an option play right at Jordan’s position on the very next play. Patrick Mahomes kept the ball and then pitched it to running back Le’Veon Bell, who took it in for a 12-yard score. The Saints got it within three points with just over two minutes left but could not stop Mahomes and the Chiefs offense, and the Chiefs won 32-29. Kansas City will host the Falcons next week and the Saints will host Minnesota.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes: 26/47, 254 yards, 3 TDs, 4 sacks, 1 fumble lost | 7 carries, 37 yards
This wasn’t Mahomes’s most prolific day in the box score but he did enough to get the win on Sunday. He was under a ton of pressure throughout the game and took a couple of big hits. Mahomes had two short passing touchdowns in the first half inside the five-yard line. His third touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman was a beauty; he escaped pressure, drifted left and then floated a well-timed ball to Hardman in the corner of the end zone where only he could catch it.
Patrick Mahomes throwing into the tightest window you will ever see to get the touchdown to Mecole Hardman. pic.twitter.com/D6KKIDl7hw
— Bench Bros Sports (@benchbrossports) December 20, 2020
Once again, his underrated rushing ability showed. Mahomes picked up multiple first downs on scrambles to keep drives alive. However, he also took a big hit in the fourth and lost a fumble that the Saints later converted into a score to draw within seven, but continued nonetheless. He is a no brainer QB1 whenever he is playing.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 14 carries, 79 yards | 3 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards
Le’Veon Bell: 15 carries, 62 yards, 1 TD | 1 target, 1 reception, 14 yards
Mahomes had the longest rush of the night for the Chiefs at 24 yards but their other two backs were consistently picking up solid yards on the ground. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was tough to bring down and fought for tough yards all night. He was injured midway through the fourth and did not return. It looked like he couldn’t put weight on one of his legs. Le’Veon Bell had a role as usual and scored a touchdown on an option play early in the fourth.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) December 21, 2020
Bell was also shaken up on the Chiefs’ final drive. Keep an eye on this injury situation this week; whoever starts would be a decent RB2.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill: 10 targets, 6 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TDs | 1 carry, 1 yard
Travis Kelce: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 68 yards, 1 TD
Sammy Watkins: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 60 yards
DeMarcus Robinson: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 27 yards
Mecole Hardman: 9 targets, 3 receptions, 22 yards, 1 TD | 1 carry -5 yards
The Saints were playing with two safeties deep most of the game to try to limit the big plays and it worked. The Chiefs’ longest passing play was just 23 yards and those were on catch and runs. Travis Kelce continues his quest to become the first tight end to lead the league in receiving yards, trailing DeAndre Hopkins by a few yards. Kelce only had a long catch of 13 and, much like the rest of the offense, couldn’t get anything going up the field. He scored on a nifty shovel pass from a yard out. He is the TE1 every week he is playing. Tyreek Hill scored a five-yard touchdown in the first quarter on a well designed motion play (see below).
Number 17 for Tyreek Hill this year.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) December 20, 2020
Hill could not spring any big plays with the Saints committed to keeping things in front of them. He is an obvious WR1 every week. It was more of the same from the other receivers. They are hard to trust on a weekly basis because none of them are consistent in their volume and production. Hardman was the one to score, as mentioned above, but he was very inefficient with the rest of his looks.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees: 15/34, 234 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 1 sack
Taysom Hill: 2 carries, 3 yards, 1 TD | 2 targets, 0 receptions
Drew Brees definitely looked rusty after missing the last four games with rib injuries. He started the game 0/6 and didn’t complete a pass until the Saints’ fifth drive. It was the first time in his career he started a game 0/5 passing. His interception was an ugly throw on an out route; the throw didn’t have much on it and was easily intercepted. He got into the groove a bit after that and hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 51-yard bomb down the sideline to set up a Taysom Hill short rushing touchdown. Brees showed great patience on his first touchdown that opened the second half. With no one open for a few seconds, running back Latavius Murray leaked out after blocking and caught a pass and took it 24 yards for a touchdown. Check it out below.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) December 20, 2020
Saints failed on a two point conversion after the score. The Saints receivers were getting little to no separation for most of the game. Brees hit Alvin Kamara on a sweet pop pass in the fourth and later hit Lil’Jordan Humphrey on a well thrown ball and Humphrey made a great adjustment to snatch it out of the air. Brees has a great matchup with the Vikings next week but this receiving corps is not in great shape without stud Michael Thomas.
Alvin Kamara: 11 carries, 54 yards | 6 targets, 3 receptions, 40 yards, 1 TD
Latavius Murray: 4 carries, 3 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 26 yards, 1 TD
On the Saints’ only good first-half possession, it ended with Taysom Hill vulturing a rushing touchdown from Kamara and Murray. He had two carries inside the two and scored on the second one. Kamara looked good on his carries and it was a bit surprising they didn’t load him up with more work. He was consistently getting four or more yards on his carries and is always a great player in the receiving game. His touchdown was on a short pop pass on the drive following the Mahomes fumble. Latavius Murray was not involved very much in this game but did score the touchdown as mentioned earlier. Kamara is a no-doubt RB1 with Brees back, while Murray cannot be trusted to start in fantasy right now.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Emmanuel Sanders: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 76 yards
Tre’Quan Smith: 2 targets, 1 reception, 25 yards
Jared Cook: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards
Lil’Jordan Humphrey: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards, 1 TD
The Saints were entering Sunday’s game without a few of their starting receivers (Michael Thomas and Deonte Harris), so they had to call up three more from the practice squad, including Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Then, Tre’Quan Smith went down with an injury on the first drive of the second half after his first reception. That left Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook as players who usually contribute in the receiving game. Overall, this group struggled to get separation for most of the night. The Chiefs played a lot of press-man coverage and the Saints receivers did not win their battles, which made it difficult to complete passes for big yardage gains. Sanders had the one deep reception as mentioned above and then his other three receptions were on the Saints’ final drive. Cook had a forgettable game but was able to reel in an important 21-yard completion on fourth down on the final drive.
— No Huddle (@nflnohuddle) December 21, 2020
Sanders would be a WR2/3 if these injuries stand the way they are and Cook would be a TE1, as they are the clear top receiving options behind Alvin Kamara.
— Kevin Taylor (@ktbeast918 on Twitter)