After the Chiefs big victory over the Buccaneers in Week 12, it’s time to hand out player grades as well as our MVP of the game.
What an explosive, dominating, yet still way-too-close-for-comfort type of game.
After the first quarter of the Chiefs win over the Buccaneers, the possibility of Tyreek Hill going for 400 yards and K.C. putting up 60 points was not out of the question. The fact the Chiefs only won by three, with a final score of 27-24, was somewhat disappointing. Patirck Mahomes was fantastic as were the receivers for most of the game, but the offensive line fell apart and the Chiefs struggled in the second half. There wasn’t a ton of pressure on Tom Brady either.
Still, at the end of the day, the Chiefs are 10-1. With all of that in mind, it’s time to hand out the Week 12 player grades and name this week’s MVP!
Anthony Hitchens: A-
This was a great game for Hitchens as he was making notable plays that really stood out. He ended up with 7 tackles, 1 for a loss, and 2 hits on Brady. His tackle for a loss was critical in this game and that held the Bucs to a field goal. He was consistently in good position, not only in the run game but in coverage as well. He has had a bounce back year this season, and he is looking more like the linebacker that Brett Veach envisioned when he signed him in free agency.
If Hitchens can keep this up, the Chiefs will be in a much more comfortable position to have at least one linebacker they can trust. He typically doesn’t make the flashy plays, but as the man who gets the rest of the defense in position, he is doing the dirty work and doing it well as of late.
Hitchens’ improvement has been noticeable, and it is time he starts getting more credit. I gave him, as well as the rest of the linebackers, a hard time when they were playing so poorly. It is only fair to note their good performances as well.
Bashaud Breeland: B+
That one year deal is looking better and better for K.C.—even with the season-opening four-game suspension. Breeland has looked solid for most of his time back with the Chiefs on the outside. He had a nice interception in this game as well as producing two great pass breakups. In his 33 coverage snaps he was targeted 5 times and allowed 0 catches, per PFF. I will say on one play it looked like a blown coverage on a Mike Evans touchdown, but it was tough to tell if Breeland was supposed to be on him or not.
Breeland has drawn multiple penalties and Chiefs fans, myself included, tend to hold that against him, but I’ve come to terms with it. It is insanely difficult to play corner in the NFL—in my opinion it is the toughest position to play—and the cards are stacked against them to the point that it seems like if you breathe on a receiver, a defender will see a flag. All corners end up getting penalties that hurt their team and that is the way the modern game is played.
At the end of the day, Breeland has made some big time plays in his Chiefs tenure and I expect more from him as the season goes on.
Frank Clark: D-
Things with Frank Clark are concerning. One tackle. Again. When you get more backbreaking penalties than positive stats, while getting paid what he is, it is concerning. I’m not saying we should freak out or that he can’t turn it around. We’ve seen in the past what Clark can do. I’m not saying that it is even a massive problem as the Chiefs are still 10-1 without him being a huge factor. What I am saying is Frank Clark’s lack of impact is something to keep an eye on. I am just not sure how much longer the Chiefs can afford to not get consistent pressure from him and not get handed an occasional loss.
I’m not sure what is more concerning: the lack of consistent pressure or the huge penalties that reek of frustration. Two roughing the passer penalties on one drive makes me think that frustration could be bubbling to the top. It looks like he isn’t getting double-teamed as much, and he still is struggling to put pressure on the QB. I haven’t given up hope and I do believe he will turn it around, but I am concerned.
What more can you say about Mahomes? With 462 yards and 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, he is absurd. The fact that he easily could have thrown over 500 yards if Mecole Hardman catches that ball makes it even crazier. Mahomes is on a different playing field that any other QB, and he is now clearly the frontrunner for MVP this season. He has turned it on the past couple weeks, dominating defenses with ease.
Mahomes put up these Madden numbers while consistently getting hit time and time again. The offensive line was getting destroyed against the Bucs, yet he was still able to find a way to get it done. He is a unicorn, the face of the NFL, and he plays for our Chiefs. It is still surreal to think that sometimes.
Oh, Mahomes is an elite scrambler, too. Looking at the Bucs secondary after the first quarter was hilarious and it was almost astonishing to see professional athletes look as beaten as they did. The game was closer than it should have been, and I still am waiting for Andy to go for it on those 4th and a foot. You have the greatest player in the NFL. Trust him in those situations.
Tyreek Hill: MVP
When grown men have the look of disbelief on their face, you are doing something right. Tyreek Hill was unguardable in this game. It wasn’t just that he burned defenders with his speed. He also went up and made some tough contested catches as well. He finished the night with 13 catches for 269 yards and 3 touchdown, and if you had him in fantasy football, you won the week.
Hill’s presence also makes it easier for Mahomes to go underneath to Travis Kelce, D-Rob, and Sammy Watkins. He opens up the offense by virtue of his speed and scaring the Bucs. Hardman was wide open a few times based on Hill being doubled. It was an extremely impressive performance from Hill, one that took him to over 1,000 yards receiving and 13 TDs on the season.
Hill has improved year after year and needs to be discussed more as a top 5 wide receiver around the league. The fact he isn’t recognized more blows my mind, and he is proving all of the “he is just a speed guy” pundits wrong.