There was a moment near halftime when Tyrann Mathieu lost it on the sideline.
Here’s the set-up: It’s Week 6 for the Kansas City Chiefs and they’re facing the Washington Football Team on the road. They’re up only four points and back on defense against Washington in a game that’s far too close thanks to the Chiefs’ ongoing turnover problem (as in committing too many and not generating enough takeaways of their own). The Chiefs have a real chance to stop WFT before the half and get the ball back with time to spare on a third-and-long. Then the following takes place:
Somehow a third-and-16 is converted by Taylor Heineke to running back J.D. McKissic and the drive continues after reaching a new set of downs. Former Chiefs tight end Ricky Seals-Jones could cap that very drive with the game’s only touchdown on Washington’s side.
Tyrann Mathieu explained his emotional outburst on the sideline to reporters.
It was after that play that Mathieu slammed his helmet in frustration and was seen yelling at those around him. Following the game, he was asked about the emotional display and stated that it was just about being angry at any third-and-long conversion with the knowledge that the Chiefs defense can be better than that as a unit.
“It was third-and-long. It doesn’t matter which play the coach calls. As players we have to execute,” said Mathieu to reporters after the game. “You have to have formation recognition. You just have to have a sense of urgency. I feel like that was a play that the whole defense took off, if that makes sense. Coach is gonna call the game and as players, we have to make it right.
“Obviously there are high expectations. I feel like we can be a championship defense. We’ve been to the championship the last two years. After a while, you have to play a certain way. Obviously anytime it’s third and long, you gotta get off the football field.”
On the day, the Chiefs defense did make several big plays and even forced a turnover of Antonio Gibson on a fumble. Unfortunately the Chiefs gifted WFT the ball right back on another turnover of their own.
That said, the Chiefs defense did come up big and kept the Football Team out of the red zone completely except for Seals-Jones lone long touchdown reception. The 13 points scored by Washington was also their lowest output of the season so far, down a single point from a 14-point showing against the Chargers in Week 1.
According to Mathieu, it all comes down to player execution. The Chiefs know they have a formula that can get them to the championship, and these players have largely been tested within this very system. For one reason or another, however, execution has been lacking—that is, until now.
“I think mostly it’s execution. I think it really falls on the players,” said Mathieu. “We’re pretty much running the same things we ran the last couple years. It’s all about execution. I think defensively you have to stay hungry.
“You can’t expect anybody to give you anything or put you in a great situation, and I thought we took the field today with that attitude. We weren’t necessarily worried about what the offense did or what the media was saying. We really just took the field like all 11, 12, 13 of us who played were gonna stick together no matter what.”
The Chiefs have another chance to maintain this attitude and level of execution with a visit to Nashville next week in a game against the Tennessee Titans.