Iit is time to hand out player grades and this week’s MVP from the Chiefs-Broncos.
A win is a win. Not pretty or very fun but sitting at 11-1, you are going to have some of these games. The Patriots lived off of ugly wins for a decade and these are the types of victories that separate great teams from the good teams.
Finding ways to win when everything is off speaks volumes about the talent and leadership on this team. The Chiefs still came away with a 22-16 victory over the Broncos and clinched a spot in the playoffs with 4 games still remaining.
Let’s hand out some player grades and name this week’s MVP!
Travis Kelce: A
Travis Kelce stands alone. Not only is he the best tight end in the NFL, but he just completed his 5th straight season with over 1,000 yards—with 4 more games left. For all of the haters who complain about his run blocking, he was superb in this game (as well as all season). With 8 catches for 136 yards, 1 touchdown, and one mammoth stiff-arm, Kelce was all-around great in this game.
He should almost start getting mentioned in MVP voting, that is how good he is been. At a minimum, offensive player of the year looks like a safe bet. He has 1,114 yards this season and 8 touchdowns and is trailing DK Metcalf for the NFL lead by 5 yards. As a tight end. It is truly ridiculous the numbers he is putting up and he is looking to shatter all types of records.
Daniel Sorensen: B+
Yes, I see you guys telling me to give Sorensen a grade in the comments, so I’ll give the people what they want. Is there a more divisive player in Chiefs Kingdom than Sorensen? Some fans think he’s an absolute stud who should be recognized like he’s a top-end safety while others think he’s about the worst player on the field and find it insane that he plays nearly 100% of the snaps.
Here’s what I think: Sorensen is a solid third safety who has made some big plays in his career while also getting burnt in man coverage or when he is the single-high safety. He is valuable not only in availability but at getting pressure on the QB when sent on a blitz. I just never want to see him in man coverage on a tight end or as the single-high safety in general. He gets burnt too often and lacks the top end speed required in that position.
So all of that being said, this was one of Sorensen’s better games. He has had a few brutal games this season with some great plays sprinkled in, but against the Broncos, he was jumping routes. The one that Frank Clark tipped could have been a pick-6 for Sorensen as he jumped it beautifully.
Sorensen also had two hits on Drew Lock that forced some errant throws. Add the stop on 3rd-and-2 on Nick Vannett where he rocked him as well as his ability to keep Melvin Gordon out of the end zone by an inch and this was fairly complete game for him.
Sorensen got beat by Noah Fant a couple times, which goes back to him in single coverage against a TE which I dislike, but overall, you’ll take this for the third most talented safety on the roster. And the folks who are upset I chose this game to grade, don’t worry. When his next bad one comes up I’ll grade it too.
Defensive Line: C-
Yikes, no sacks again. I know sacks aren’t everything and there occasionally was some pressure, but Lock was only hit 4 times and 2 were by Sorenson. Alex Okafor was solid in the run game and I saw him make a huge play. Chris Jones was getting doubled a lot by still found a way to blow a few plays up, including the final possession where he was able to push multiple guys back and bat the ball down.
Frank Clark was still MIA for most of the game except for a batted ball and a bad penalty. Tanoh Kpassagnon and Derrick Nnadi were solid at times, but at the end of the day, so much money is tied up in the line and they need to start producing. Having a couple of nice plays against the Broncos isn’t going to cut it when you need to get pressures against an elite team.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Clark and Jones aren’t getting paid a total of over $40 million a year to put up numbers against the Jets and Broncos but against the good teams. I trust they can turn it around—this is more about Clark as Jones has been solid—but sooner or later, we need to see some consistency.
Harrison Butker: A+
Nails. A terrible delay of game penalty was blown by the refs late and Butker calmly drills the 48-yarder to make it a non-issue and give the Chiefs a 6-point lead. Butker was pretty much the offense in this one as the Chiefs continued to stall in the red zone. By making all five of his field goals attempts, as well as his only extra point, Butker looks to be back in the zone.
Butker’s extra point woes seems to be figured out and he seems so confident stepping up to kick field goals that it makes me extremely confident going forward. It is very lucky having a kicker you can trust, and he seems to get better when there is pressure. Having made 22-24 field goals this year with multiple well over 50 yards, that is a good weapon to have.
Tyrann Mathieu: MVP
I went back and forth between Mathieu and Butker, but the Honey Badger sealed it with that final interception. With two picks on the day and some massive stops, he was the MVP. The play that stood out to me was on 3rd-and-13 before halftime, when Mathieu was supposed to be blocked one-on-one with an offensive lineman on a screen to Noah Fant. Instead he squeezes around the lineman and makes an open-field tackle that led to 4th down and, ultimately, a missed long field goal. Fant had so much room and easily would have made the 1st down if not for the play by Mathieu.
Mathieu’s two picks were solid as Lock was trying to go deep both times and both were mistakes. He added 7 tackles and a tackle for a loss so this was one of his more well-rounded efforts. He got beat only once I can really think of and that happens in the NFL. This was a huge bounce back game after stringing together some iffy ones.
Mathieu is the heart and soul of this defense, and when he plays like this, the Chiefs defense is scary even if they aren’t getting pressure.