Arrowhead Autopsy: Top 10 Takeaways from Chiefs at Texans

Dec 18, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive tackle Maliek Collins (96) tackles Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive tackle Maliek Collins (96) tackles Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Arrowhead Autopsy reflects upon the top 10 takeaways from the Kansas City Chiefs’ win over the Houston Texans.

10. Patrick Mahomes now owns the NFL record for the highest completion percentage in a game with 40 or more passing attempts. He went 36 of 41, good for 88%. He also connected on an insane 20 consecutive completions to close out the game. That streak was a new career high. Homeboy was walking on water out there. Which makes Andy Reid’s decision to play it conservative at the end of regulation a head-scratcher. Your half-a-billion-dollar quarterback is on an all-time heater, but you want to throw a screen on 3rd and long so you can bet on the suddenly shaky leg of Harrison Butker. Make it make sense.

9. Mahomes has 4,809 combined passing and rushing yards this season. He only needs 754 more yards to break Drew Brees’s all-time record of 5,562, which Brees set back in 2011. That’s roughly 250 yards per game. Totally doable for a QB who puts up 300-yard passing games as routinely as you and I do laundry. If he breaks this record, it will be damn near impossible to deny him the MVP award. Especially given how Jalen Hurts’s shoulder injury changes the complexion of that race. Mahomes is now the heavy betting favorite after the odds had been neck and neck for a minute.

8. By winning the AFC West divisional title for the seventh straight year, the Chiefs have tied the Rams for the second-longest divisional streak in league history. Tom Brady’s Patriots won 11 straight, which at the time seemed like an unbreakable record. That was pre-Mahomes, though. With Denver anchored to the carcass of Russell Wilson, the Chargers destined to disappoint and the Raiders’ overall ineptitude, 11 titles in a row isn’t unthinkable for the Chiefs.

7. Chris Jones entered Week 15 with more pass-rush wins than any other defensive player in the league. The dude has been on an absolute tear. On Sunday, however, he was sick and ineffective. We saw how bad the Chiefs’ pass rush is without him. Scarier than any horror movie you’ll see all year. It’s not all on defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo either. The defensive line just isn’t talented enough. This is an alarming situation given that the road to the Super Bowl could go through both Joe Burrow and Josh Allen, and perhaps even Justin Herbert.

6. The Chiefs’ defense faced off against the Texans’ JV offense last Sunday. Houston was without all three of the team’s top offensive skill players: Brandin Cooks, Dameon Pierce, and Nico Collins. Didn’t matter. Kansas City still struggled mightily. They were 26th in defensive DVOA in Week 15. Put forth a performance like that in the postseason, and they’ll be sipping cocktails in Tulum instead of playing in Glendale, Arizona. On the other hand, if the D can simply creep back to average, Mahomes can take care of the rest.

5. JuJu Smith-Schuster now has 71 catches and 850 receiving yards on the season despite being slowed down a bit by a concussion. With three games left, he should finish with over 80 catches and 1,000 yards. He’s also 20th among receivers in yards per route run – sandwiched in between DK Metcalf and DeVonta Smith – which showcases his efficiency. Even if he ends up hitting most of his salary bonuses, the relatively cheap one-year deal Brett Veach signed him to was some seriously savvy bargain shopping.

4. Speaking of JuJu, he threw a pivotal block on Jerick McKinnon’s game-winning run, sealing off Texans cornerback Desmond King. JuJu and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are two of the better blocking receivers in the league. Big, willing, and physical. They are partially responsible for the Chiefs’ skill players doing so much damage in the open field. Their blocking should play a factor in the playoffs given the Chiefs’ penchant for screens and reverses. We even saw a flea flicker last week, so who knows what Big Red has up his sleeve to get players in space.

3. In 32 coverage snaps, Trent McDuffie surrendered only one catch for 34 yards. In his eight starts, he’s only allowed 158 yards total. McDuffie Island is a travel destination opposing quarterbacks don’t want to visit. He’s a bright spot for a defense that desperately needs more of them. This kid has an All-Pro future to look forward to.

2. Frank Clark is a rollercoaster. You never know if he will make the play of the game or be a complete non-factor. Luckily, last Sunday was one of those rare occasions where he made the play of the game. Clark’s overtime strip of Davis Mills prevented the Chiefs from suffering an embarrassing loss to a glorified SEC team. Clark posted an eye-popping 91.7 PFF grade, which shows he can still provide some juice when he’s feeling healthy and his mind is right.

1. Rewatching the game, Juan Thornhill and Willie Gay Jr. were liabilities out there. Both possess all the athleticism in the world, but more often than not they seem like they’re driving around without any GPS. Thornhill’s days in Kansas City are likely numbered, and despite occasional flashes of brilliance, you have to wonder if Gay will ever put it all together. The Chiefs invested two consecutive second-round picks on linebackers, which isn’t considered a premium position, and at the moment it’s not paying dividends for the defense. Yes, Nick Bolton is a solid player most of the time, but perhaps one of those picks should’ve been spent on a pass rusher.

Next. Chiefs rookie report: Texans edition. dark