The Kansas City Chiefs pulled off another nail-biter against a very game underdog in the Houston Texans by a score of 30-24. The Chiefs came into this game as 14.5 favorites but found themselves losing in the fourth quarter due to turnovers, penalties, and a lack of execution on both sides of the ball. Fortunately, the Chiefs were able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to a timely turnover of their own and a walk-off touchdown on the ensuing play by Jerrick McKinnon. Here is what to take away from yet another roller-coaster performance.
Chiefs Continue Troubling Pattern Of Slow Starts
For the fourth time in the past five games, the Chiefs failed to score a touchdown in the first quarter. The first drive started well enough, but Patrick Mahomes missed a wide-open Marquez Valdez-Scantling for what would have been an easy touchdown on a third and five from midfield. The second drive was a three-and-out thanks in large part to Isiah Pacheco missing a pass-blocking assignment which led to Mahomes taking a sack on the drive’s first play. If the Chiefs were looking to set a tone early, they failed miserably.
Kansas City getting off to slow starts is a pattern that is starting to make Chiefs Kingdom a bit antsy with the playoffs just around the corner. It seems like whoever the Chiefs play is coming out with more enthusiasm, while it takes Kansas City a couple of drives to get warmed up. They have been mostly successful in winning games during the regular season by taking that approach, but they will not be able to get away with that so easily in the playoffs. There are still three games left, so hopefully, they will get that starting issue fixed before then.
Chiefs May Have A Problem With Harrison Butker
Harrison Butker has been so good during his career in Kansas City, but it is clear that something is not right with him. Butker missed an extra point, and the game-winning 51-yard field goal with the clock nearly expired. Coming into this season, Butker had converted over 90% of his field goals. After today’s game, he only connects at a 78.9% clip during his 2022 campaign.
Butker suffered an ankle injury in Week One in Arizona on the same turf which also claimed rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie’s hamstring and, now, quarterback Kyler Murray’s ACL. Butker would miss over a month trying to get back on the field, and it may be that his ankle is not fully healed yet. During the week he came off the injured reserve list, Butker mentioned that he was not 100% but was good enough to get the job done. Hopefully, Butker can get healed up before the playoffs because there is a good chance he will be called on to make that kick.
Chiefs Never Want To See Carl Cheffers Ever Again
One of the most significant issues the Chiefs had against the Texans was penalties. Kansas City was penalized by Referee Carl Cheffers 11 times for 117 yards. During the Texans’ third-quarter touchdown drive, Cheffers called six penalties on the Chiefs, and three of those directly led to third down conversions. Carl Cheffers was also the referee during this year’s Monday Night Football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, where he made himself the most hated man in Kansas City. There is also history between Cheffers and Kansas City, even before the Mahomes Era.
This is Travis Kelce back in January of 2017 after an 18-16 AFC Divisional Round Loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, explaining his frustration after a classic Carl Cheffers phantom holding call took a potential game-winning touchdown off the board. The beef that the whole of Kansas City has with Cheffers has been simmering for quite some time to the point where just hearing his name invokes rage, Joe Buck-style. If the NFL Officiating Schedule Gods could look kindly upon us Chiefs fans and send Cheffers elsewhere during the playoffs, we would be all most appreciative.