Mike Pennel, Taco Charlton earn solid grades in Chiefs vs. Patriots

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 05: Taco Charlton #94 of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks Brian Hoyer #2 of the New England Patriots during the third quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on October 05, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 05: Taco Charlton #94 of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks Brian Hoyer #2 of the New England Patriots during the third quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on October 05, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The Chiefs took down the Patriots in Week 4 and it’s time to hand out our grades and game MVP.

Somehow an early showdown between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs turned out to be extremely boring. While it still had some jump-out-of-your-seat moments, the game showed me that Kansas City has taken that step that very few teams have in the past—the one where you can play into the other team’s strategy, poorly and messy, and still somehow grind out a victory in the end.

This is what the Patriots did for about a decade and the Chiefs are now playing on that level, where no matter how they play, they should be confident to come out with a victory.

Now let’s get into some game grades! (As a side note, I try to switch up players who get game grades each week so it isn’t the same few guys.)

Mike Pennel – A-

Big dude made some big stops. Pennel ended up with 10 tackles in this game and really made his presence felt. He was pretty dang consistent in this game even if he didn’t really make any splashy plays.

Pennel allows other guys, like Frank Clark and Taco Charlton, to make the eye-popping stops while he keeps his gap and takes on multiple guys at times. With Chris Jones out in this one, Pennel jumped at the opportunity and really played well.

His style is very different than Jones but it worked well against the run schemes of the Patriots. The QB pressures aren’t there but the run-stopping ability is.

Taco Charlton – B+ 

Staying on the defensive line, Taco Charlton made a huge play in limited action in this game. Per PFF, Taco only played 17 snaps yet ended with a grade of 89.6. He was beating his man rather consistently and made an extremely good play on the strip sack that caused the fumble.

While the pocket presence of Brian Hoyer in this game was non-existent, the speed, athleticism and strength that made Charlton a former first rounder was on display. While 17 snaps is a small sample size, you have to like what he has shown this season.

Charlton’s body of work may not be as consistent as one would like from a first rounder but he has already returned dividends on what the Chiefs invested in him.

Tommy Townsend – B

Quick punter shout out here. Dude averaged 60.8 yards per punt in this one. With four punts, his average was still over 60 yards—that is an absolute boot. The ball was noticeably jumping off his foot and it felt like it would never fall. The camera kept going back, back, back [insert Chris Berman voice].

In all seriousness, two punts went for touchbacks which is where he will need to improve a bit but having a leg that can change the field no matter where he punts from is huge. I know as Chiefs fans we never expect to punt much, but this just makes the rare occasion more tolerable.

Patrick Mahomes – D+

Looked almost lackadaisical at times. Still, Mahomes did what he needed to do to come away with a win. In what was one of his worst starts as a professional, he came extremely close to throwing multiple picks in this game.

While the Patriots tend to do extremely well scheming against him, he was struggling more than expected. Not that it was all bad, he was still able to make a couple of extremely good throws in this game, including a 45 yarder to Travis Kelce. The 2 touchdowns “passes” were those forward tosses on an end-around which help the stats out here.

Even in what is one of his worst starts, Mahomes comes away with the win and makes plays when it matters most which is a sign of an elite QB. If this is the quarterback at his worst, it is still enough to win the game.

Chiefs Secondary – MVP

This unit was beyond outstanding. From Rashad Fenton to Honey Badger, from Juan Thornhill to (I can’t believe I’m saying this in 2020) Dan Sorensen, this group played amazing. I get it, it was the Pats without Cam Newton, but you can only play who is on the field and the Chiefs secondary played lockdown defense.

Mathieu took a pick to the house after Julian Edelman dropped it, which showed off his concentration, while Thornhill and Fenton both had interceptions of their own. Dirty Dan was laying the wood in this one and had two tackles for loss as well.

If I have to pick a player and cannot go with the group as a whole, I am going with Fenton as MVP. Fenton really stood out to me in this one and has surpassed all of my expectations. I was worried on how he would perform on the outside, but he has squelched all of those worries even if he hasn’t gone up against top talent.

This entire secondary has exceeded expectations and the confidence is soaring with this group. Bashaud Breeland should be back next week and Charvarius Ward’s hand is continuing to heal. It almost seems that no matter who is playing in this unit though, they seem to step up and make plays.

Next. Chiefs Rookie Review: Week 4. dark