Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season: What we learned from the Chiefs’ triumph over the Giants on Monday night
The Chiefs‘ offense is still a work in progress. Kansas City’s turnover problem again Monday night, with the first coming two plays after an overly intricate piece of trickery culminated in a throwaway by Patrick Mahomes. The quarterback’s first interception occurred as a result of a bullet shot into traffic that ricochet off Jerick McKinnon’s head and into the air for the taking. The second came when Travis Kelce grabbed a pass, pivoted to run, and had the ball swatted away from him. Following that, New York capitalized with a touchdown drive, entangling us in a slog of a Monday night game with no relief from the ground insight.
Andy Reid’s offense can’t seem to get away from the charming approach, and Mahomes looks unable of turning down long shots every third or fourth play. It’s as if the Chiefs are so entrenched in their once-profitable methods that they can’t figure out how to do less and accept that they won’t be ripping off enormous gains as often. There was one bright spot: Kansas City briefly committed to the run, tossing the ball to Derrick Gore six times and seeing him score his first career touchdown. Otherwise, it was more of the same fragmented, sometimes effective but seldom rhythmic attack that we’d seen from the Chiefs in recent weeks. They’re essentially a mediocre club right now, led by Mahomes, and they won’t get away with this sort of performance against the Packers next week
Fans of sloppy football were not disappointed Monday night. The Chiefs committed 12 penalties, totaling 103 penalty yards, and the Giants attempted to outdo them. Elijhaa Penny of the Giants converted what seemed to be a critical third down before drawing a wholly needless taunting penalty. By leaping offsides, Oshane Ximines negated an interception. Tae Crowder gained 15 yards for the Chiefs by grabbing a Chiefs blocker by the helmet and incurring an unnecessary roughness penalty. That’s only three of the Giants’ many unforced errors. Add in New York’s passive first-half finish in which it did not attempt to get into field goal range and Joe Judge’s decision to burn all three of his timeouts before the game’s final minutes, and you have an ugly game that one team won because the other simply isn’t very good at this sport we call football. They can’t all be diamonds, can they?
Daniel Sorensen’s No. 49 may just as well be a large, painted target. The safety was targeted as the closest defender three times on the night, allowing Daniel Jones 61 yards, a touchdown, and a perfect passer rating. John Ross made one of the three receptions permitted, fighting over Sorensen’s pass interference to make an improbable catch – so unlikely, Next Gen Stats rated the attempt a 28.7 percent completion chance. The reception increased the Giants’ projected points contributed for the game by 5.01 points and increased their victory probability by +2.6 percent. Another outstanding Sorensen target resulted in Evan Engram’s first touchdown reception of the season. Kansas City’s defense isn’t great, but Sorensen may be the weakest link. His presence invites opposition quarterbacks to throw in his way, something Jones took advantage of on Monday night.
The Giants showed some promise, but they’re still a long way from being a real danger. The Giants, as indicated by the aforementioned penalties, can’t seem to get out of their own way at this point in the season. Jones completed 22 of 32 throws for 222 yards and two touchdowns, looking quite strong overall (apart from an early interception and a completion that almost went for another). Devontae Booker performed well as a rusher and pass receiver.
However, when the Giants found themselves in a tight game late in the game, they demonstrated that they are not yet contenders. The Jones-Darius Slayton relationship is now as shattered as they come, which didn’t help in crucial situations. New York enabled Kansas City to gain 55 yards in less than four minutes, giving the Chiefs a free 10 yards in the process, before failing to muster much of anything with the game on the line. Jones’ two sacks highlighted precisely where the Giants are at this juncture, which isn’t a good one – particularly without Saquon Barkley.
The Chiefs won thanks to some much-needed defensive life. Jones has only pressed nine times all night thanks to some inventive play-calling and quick movement. Three of those pressures resulted in sacks, including two in the last three plays of the game for the Giants. Kansas City’s performance was far from brilliant, but it rose to the occasion when it was most needed. First, it was Chris Jones, who met a frenzied Jones and sacked him on second down. Then, on fourth down, Frank Clark put on his greatest show, turning around Jarran Reed and bursting past left guard Matt Skura to knock down Jones and seal the game. The Chiefs need more of this sort of pass rush if they are to continue to play well enough defensively to allow their offense to iron out its numerous flaws.
Patrick Mahomes completed only one of 11 throws beyond the tackle box, registering a 9.1 completion rate on such attempts, the lowest in a game in his career.
Patrick Mahomes has thrown an interception in seven consecutive games, according to NFL Research. It is his longest streak in high school, college, or the NFL.
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2021 NFL season, Week 8: What we learned from Chiefs’ win over Giants on Monday night
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