There was a point in the early slate of games where the Chiefs trailed by 10 points. In Miami. Where they won the Super Bowl. Suffice to say, the Chiefs, just like they did in the Super Bowl, came back to win, writes Matthew Carolan.
Later on, the Saints found themselves down by 17 at half-time, but they were unable to do what Kansas City did.
New Orleans fall short in Philadelphia
Perhaps the Saints will look back in a few weeks’ time and say they were happy to have got a loss out of the way when they did, because it is damn hard to go unbeaten all the way to the Super Bowl.
Another way of looking at this is that New Orleans peaked too soon. This is not new. For several years now, the Saints have looked like the best team in the league - or one of the best - during the regular season, only to come up short when it really matters in the postseason.
In previous weeks, the Saints’ defense has looked like an integral factor in their success. In Week 14, they were anything but good. Jalen Hurts ran through their defense with ease and although he only clocked up 167 passing yards, he did see success against the Saints in that aspect of his game, too.
With Green Bay winning in Detroit, the number one seed in the NFC is looking more likely to be the Packers. New Orleans hosts Kansas City in Week 15. Things might get worse before they get better for the Saints.
Mahomes throws three picks
Going into Week 14, Patrick Mahomes had two interceptions. By the time the first quarter had ended in Miami, he had matched that total to bring his season tally to four. And as the segment heading would suggest, he threw a third interception too. Mahomes also got sacked for a loss of 30 yards. Indeed, it did not look like it was going to be a romantic return to the scene of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win for Mahomes early on.
Then again, did anyone really feel like the Chiefs were going to lose? The Chiefs being down by 10 points is a bit like playing football as a kid and giving the lesser team a two-goal headstart. Everyone knows the good team will win, but it makes it seem fair this way.
At the end of the day, Mahomes finished the game with 393 passing yards, two touchdowns and a win, so the early game hiccups will not matter as much when looking back. But for Mahomes to throw that many picks in one game is truly a rub-your-eyes-in-disbelief kind of moment.
Will it impact his MVP chances? Somewhat, but he will probably still win it. The fact is that Mahomes can throw three picks and still have a better game than most quarterbacks. He is good enough to get away with it.
Chase Young continues to impress
It has been an interesting year for Washington. They changed their team name. They hired a new head coach who got diagnosed with cancer. They dropped their quarterback and reintroduced Alex Smith to the NFL world when it looked like he may never play again. But above all else, their first-round draft pick, Chase Young, has stood out as the most impressive talking point for their franchise.
Young is having a nice season statistically. He has 5.5 sacks, 35 tackles (both combined and solo) and three forced fumbles. But away from the stat sheet, he has proven to be a dynamic and clever presence on defense who can confuse quarterbacks by dropping into coverage, only to spring back in and create pressure on a regular basis. Pittsburgh quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, looked hesitant about Young at all times in Week 13, while San Francisco suffered from Young’s abilities in a number of ways in Week 14 too.
Chase Young is almost a shoo-in for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and it looks like he will contend for Defensive Player of the Year for many seasons to come. Giants fans will surely rue beating Washington late in 2019 to give Washington the higher draft pick.
The Falcons and Chargers out-bottle one another
With the game tied 17-17, Matt Ryan threw a pick and the Chargers took over on offense. There were just over three minutes left. At this point, you might be thinking ‘classic Falcons’, right? Because they bottle games all the time, and you would be right. But then, the Chargers are no ordinary opposition.
When it seemed like all they had to do was gain some yardage, run down the clock and kick a field goal for the win, Justin Herbert instead threw a pick of his own, and Atlanta took over on downs with under a minute left. Game over, Falcons win. Right?
Wrong. Because Matt Ryan threw another pick and the Chargers took over on offense again. Three drives, three interceptions. All in the space of a few minutes. Incredible.
As it turns out, Atlanta were the bigger bottlers, because Herbert did enough to lead his team down the field and stop the clock with two seconds remaining. Just enough time to kick the winning field goal. Chargers win.
Written by Matthew Carolan.
Read Matthew's last 'Shocked, Not Shocked' right here.