Chiefs face energized Broncos team with Drew Lock at helm
The Kansas City Chiefs continue their schedule against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. What should fans expect heading into the contest?
They finally did it. The Kansas City Chiefs went into Foxborough and defeated the New England Patriots. It wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve seen as fans, especially from the offense in the second half, but they got the job done. A win is a win, as they say.
As Chiefs fans, we shouldn’t undersell this accomplishment. Including the playoffs, the Patriots had won 21 straight games at home. That was tied for their longest streak at home in franchise history and tied for the third longest streak at home in NFL history. What that means is this Patriots team was historically great at home, for various reasons, and the Chiefs beat them while not having their best day on offense.
That will likely be the story that most fans walk away with. The offense, for the third game in a row, looked nothing like the offense to start the season and even further from the offense of 2018. For whatever reason, whether Reid is saving plays for the playoffs or this is just a slump, this offense has struggled. That said, that’s not the story fans should focus on from this game. The real story is the defense.
This defense came to play on Sunday. On the season, the Patriots have converted on over 37 percent of third downs. In fact, a Baltimore Ravens team that is often lauded for their defense surrendered conversions on 38 percent of third downs. The Chiefs defense on Sunday gave up only two third down conversions on 12 attempts, or a rate of just under 17 percent. Compare that to last year, where the Chiefs gave up 20 of 32 third down conversions in their two meetings, and that is quite an improvement.
That’s not all. The Chiefs defense held Tom Brady to the second lowest passing yards of the season, trailing only the Buffalo Bills defense, and his third lowest completion rate of the season. They held the Patriots offense to 16 points, which was tied with the Bills defense for the second lowest point total allowed on the season trailing only the Dallas Cowboys defense.
There’s more that could be said, but the main takeaway is this. This was an important game for this team to win. It’s becoming more and more likely that the Chiefs will have to go on the road in the playoffs, at least once, to make it to the Super Bowl. Winning in what is the toughest environment for road teams shows this team has the grit to win on the road in January.
With that said, there’s no rest for the weary. The Chiefs continue their schedule at home against a surging Broncos team. What are the main storylines heading into this contest?
Through two games, Drew Lock looks the part
Drew Lock is a hometown kid. Born in Missouri, he played for Lee’s Summit High School and took his talents to the University of Missouri in Columbia for four seasons before coming to the NFL. In those four seasons he had fairly prolific numbers, especially for an SEC quarterback, completing 56 percent of his passes for 12,193 yards, 99 touchdowns, and only 39 interceptions.
His junior season was by far his best in which he completed 57 percent of his passes for nearly 4,000 yards and 44 touchdowns to only 13 interceptions. Following his senior season, he declared for the draft and was assumed to be a first round talent. Surprisingly, he fell to the second round and was the fourth quarterback taken overall in the draft.
After sitting the first 11 games behind Joe Flacco and then Brandon Allen, Lock has started the last two games for the Broncos and shown great promise. Against the Los Angeles Chargers, who still have a solid defense, he completed 64 percent of his passes for 184 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. That isn’t prolific production, but it was enough to lead the Broncos to a big divisional win.
In his last game against the Houston Texans, a playoff team that has the potential to make a deep playoff run, he was even better. He completed 81 percent of his passes for 309 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. In both games he showed good mobility adding three rushes for 15 yards.
Before being drafted, Lock was quoted saying he was disappointed that the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes. As a hometown kid he dreamed of a career filled with donning the red and gold and playing in front of the Arrowhead crowd. While he might not have gotten his exact wish, his performances in the last two games show he has the potential to be a longtime starter for one of the Chiefs biggest rivals. Chiefs fans should get used to the idea of seeing him twice a year.