The Chiefs defense was lights out in the second half in their win over the Jets.
Let’s be honest. It was difficult to take the Chiefs’ Week 8 game seriously. Entering the game, the 0-7 New York Jets were without both starting wide receivers and had nothing—literally nothing—on which to hang their hat. The Kansas City Chiefs offense made a statement on the game’s first possession, marching to paydirt in just four minutes. So, when replacement kicker Sergio Castillo kicked a 48-yard field goal to narrow the gap to 14-9 with 3:00 remaining in the first half, it was probably a pleasant surprise for the visiting Jets to find themselves still in the game at all.
The Kansas City defense, which has developed an unmistakeable grit in the last two seasons under Steve Spagnuolo, had to be feeling salty when they entered the locker room at halftime, even when a late second quarter touchdown by tight end Travis Kelce extended the Chiefs lead.
We’ve already seen this season just how proud this defense is. After the team’s Week 1 rout of the Houston Texans, star safety Tyrann Mathieu was “pissed off” about allowing 13 points in the 4th quarter. The Chiefs won that game comfortably, but it was clear that the bar has raised in the unit’s second season under Spagnuolo.
Hanging on to win isn’t good enough for this defense anymore.
With the Jets set to receive the second-half kickoff, the Chiefs came out firing on all cylinders. In the first series of the third quarter, the Chiefs forced Sam Darnold and the Jets to a three-and-out. And then another. And then another. It wasn’t until the Jets’ fourth possession of the half that they even achieved a first down, and on the subsequent play, they turned the ball over when playmaking safety Dan Sorensen punched the ball out of the hands of tight end Chris Herndon.
In the fourth quarter, the Jets were not able to adjust anything, with two more three-and-outs and then three plays on the game’s final series. The Jets managed just 60 yards in the second half, thanks to excellent early-down defense by the Chiefs that put the Jets into several third-and-long situations. Darnold was utterly handcuffed, completing 6 of 12 attempts for just 23 yards in the game’s final 30 minutes. Most importantly, the Chiefs allowed zero points.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his robust quiver of weapons receive a lot of the national accolades, but make no mistake, this isn’t 2018, where the Chiefs need to rely on the offense to outscore everyone each week. This noble defensive unit showed everyone on Sunday what they’re capable of.