The Kansas City Chiefs look like Super Bowl contenders in win over Broncos

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 15: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs rolls out against the Denver Broncos during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 15: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs rolls out against the Denver Broncos during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /
ArmchairAddict1 /

The Kansas City Chiefs finally looked like a Super Bowl contender on both sides of the football in their 23-3 win over the Denver Broncos.

The Kansas City Chiefs dominated the Denver Broncos for the second time this season on Sunday, beating them 23-3 in a blizzard at Arrowhead Stadium. The win extended their dominance over the AFC West, improving their division record to 5-0 and completing their fourth straight season sweep over the Broncos.

While K.C.’s divisional dominance has been clear for a few weeks now, their standing as a true Super Bowl contender has been a little questionable as the Chiefs have often failed to put together impressive outings on both offense and defense. That wasn’t the case on Sunday and it should have the rest of the AFC playoff teams nervous about having to face the Chiefs in January.

Just last week I wrote that the AFC West is not enough for this team. I have believed since seeing this team in training camp that they are talented enough to win the Super Bowl. Period. That is why I have been critical of them at many different points this season. When they squandered winnable games against the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans I wrote that they weren’t playing like a Super Bowl worthy team. When they imploded against the Tennessee Titans I wrote that the Chiefs were their own worst enemy. I even wrote after their recent win over the Oakland Raiders that the defense was having to carry the team because the offense seemed out of sync.

In most of the other seasons that I have had the privilege to write about the Chiefs for Arrowhead Addict, I would have been content with ugly wins where the offense wasn’t great. I would have shrugged off losses where the Chiefs were clearly the more talented team as long as they were still in line to win the division and make the playoffs. This year is different. This year I expect a Super Bowl caliber team. Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe my bar is set too high, but I still believe this is one of the most talented teams in all the NFL. I still believe they can win the Super Bowl this season.

The game against the Broncos was the first time since probably Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens where I saw a team that really looked like a Super Bowl contender. In every game since there have been issues. The defense was awful against the run for a while. There were countless injuries on offense, including star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Then even after Mahomes returned, the offense seemed off. During their three consecutive wins over the Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and New England Patriots, the offense just didn’t seem like the high powered attack we came to expect last season and during the start of this season.

The Chiefs have one of the best quarterbacks in all the NFL in Patrick Mahomes. They have the best big play receiver in the NFL in Tyreek Hill. They have the best tight end in the NFL in Travis Kelce. They have one of the best offensive minds in football in Andy Reid. A team boasting all those things shouldn’t average 59.4% completions, 213.3 yards passing, and one passing touchdown per game like the Chiefs were averaging in their previous three games. The defense was finally playing better, but where was the big time offense and their big time weapons?

On Sunday against the Broncos that big time offense and their big time weapons reappeared. Despite blizzard like conditions for the entire game, Patrick Mahomes was 27 for 34 for 340 yards and two touchdowns. Tyreek Hill caught five passes for 67 yards and two scores and Travis Kelce had 11 receptions for 142 yards. It was exactly how the Chiefs offense is suppose to operate. Mahomes extended plays and consistently found the open man, completing passes to eight different players, but Hill and Kelce were clearly the foundation of the passing attack. That’s how it should be.

Now, you could certainly argue that the run game is still an issue. The Chiefs rushed for just 92 yards on 25 carries on the day. They also weren’t very effective in the red zone, having to settle for field goals a few too many times. However, given the conditions, I don’t think you can be upset with the offense putting up over 400 yards of total offense and Mahomes completing almost 80% of his passes for 10 yards per attempt. The offense put up more than enough points given the performance of the defense.

While the offense looked like it was getting back to it’s old ways, the defense looks to be redefining itself under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Over the last four games, the Chiefs have allowed just 11.3 points, 324.8 yards, 90.3 yards rushing, and  just 30% of third downs to be converted against them. Last season the Chiefs defense allowed 26.3 points per game, 405.5 yards, 132.1 yards rushing, and 42% third downs.

If (and it’s a big if) the Chiefs defense can continue to play at this level, they make Kansas City a much tougher opponent come playoff time. On Sunday they stopped the run well—allowing just 52 yards on the ground. They also covered the pass well, getting their hands on multiple throws with 6 pass break ups and 1 interception. They also applied pressure on the quarterback, sacking Drew Lock twice and getting 9 more hits. A defense that does all three of those things is a good defense. Period. Now, the Chiefs still have to prove they can do this consistently, but the recent performance has been outstanding.

I also want to take just a brief moment to shout out Tyrann Mathieu. While the entire defense deserves credit for the turnaround, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that Mathieu is the clear leader and spark for that defense. He’s all over the field. He covers well. He gets his hands on passes. He tackles well, and he even has shown he can get after the quarterback on blitzes. Beyond that, his energy is infectious. For the last several years the defense just looked defeated at times. The Honey Badger never looks defeated. He has been worth every penny that they paid him this offseason.

If the Kansas City Chiefs can field a team that consists of an elite quarterback throwing to an elite wide receiver and tight end with a revamped defense that plays solid across the board then they can compete for a Super Bowl. That was the goal at the beginning of the season and it remains the goal now. On Sunday against the Broncos we saw that Super Bowl caliber team. Now let’s just hope that we continue to see that same team for the rest of the season.

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