The Arrowhead Autopsy: Top 10 takeaways from Seahawks vs KC Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 24: Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 24: Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images) /

The Arrowhead Autopsy reflects upon the top 10 takeaways from the Kansas City Chiefs’ decisive victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

1. One week after being wiped out by an illness, Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones responded by wiping out the Seahawks’ offensive line. Big No. 95 was a one-man demolition derby, recording the league’s highest pass rush win rate in Week 16 – an obscene 39.3%. Stone Cold Jones posted one sack, three quarterback hits, and four hurries. Geno Smith will likely have nightmares about this man. Jones also had two run stops, an improved aspect of his game. Patrick Mahomes’ shadow might prevent him from winning Defensive Player of the Year, but he deserves the award as much as anybody does.

2. Having Swiss army knife L’Jarius Sneed shadow amateur bodybuilder DK Metcalf in a game the Chiefs were almost certainly going to win was smart. Steve Spagnuolo took this option for a test drive, which went pretty well. Now the Chiefs know Sneed can travel with Ja’Marr Chase or AJ Brown in the playoffs if necessary. Given how both alpha receivers have scorched the Chiefs’ secondary in the past, switching strategies could be pivotal.

3. Justin Watson ran the second most routes among the KC wideouts, 22. He produced zero catches on four targets. It gets worse; He had two drive-killing drops. This after the week where he dropped an absolute dime from Mahomes, which would’ve resulted in an explosive play. Granted, that would’ve been a reasonably tough catch, but he got his hands on the ball. On a brutal day for the Chiefs’ receivers – five receptions for a measly 40 yards – Watson looked like the worst of the five WRs who earned snaps. Andy Reid and Co. should give Skyy Moore an extended pre-playoff audition since Watson suddenly has the yips. Moore showed more wiggle than a coked-out worm on his lone reception.

4. My favorite stretch of the game was midway through the fourth quarter when Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce twice in a row for completions of 20 and 52 yards. The Chiefs’ offense had sputtered some up until that juncture, suffering more three-and-outs than any other game all season. Two of the league’s top closers put their feet down and said ENOUGH! Then Mahomes capped off the drive with a highlight-reel-worthy Superman dive that barely nicked the pylon and put the Chiefs up 24-3. It was an impressive display of will from the MVP frontrunner and the GOAT tight end. They realize playoff time is just around the corner.

5. The Red and Gold displayed impressive offensive lines play on Christmas Eve. They treated the Seattle defensive line like they were all on the naughty list. Nothing but coal in their stockings. The O line allowed only three total pressures. Joe Thuney and Orlando Brown Jr. formed a human wall on the left side, allowing zero pressures for the day. That was the left tackle Chiefs Kingdom expected to get this season. Hopefully, Brown can extend a stretch of stellar play into the postseason. Andrew Wylie did allow a sack, but outside of that, the blocking performance was without any blemishes.

6. The starting linebacker-safety foursome had previously struggled to shut down the middle of the field, but that group shined on Saturday. Nick Bolton and Justin Reid were solid in coverage, Willie Gay was outstanding, and Juan Thornhill (who also finally created another turnover with a timely interception) probably had his best game of the season. When this group performs like a team strength instead of a weak link, the Chiefs are virtually unbeatable. Perhaps this was all matchup-dependent, but it’s not like Geno Smith is a complete bum. Homeboy made the Pro Bowl and is eighth among QBs in EPA/play on the season.

7. Look, opposing teams, you do you. If it were me, I probably wouldn’t travel to the unfriendly confines of Arrowhead, the planet’s loudest stadium, and give the league’s top team extra motivation. Whether it’s the Raiders stomping on the logo or the Seahawks polar bear club showing off by removing their shirts in arctic temps, getting on the Chiefs’ nerves is a bad move. You also can’t pull stunts like those and then proceed to get blown out. It’s embarrassing.

8. Not only are the kids alright, but they can also tackle their freakin’ asses off. The Chiefs’ rookie defensive backs are all surefire tacklers. To quote Leonardo DiCaprio from Django Unchained, this group “had my curiosity, but now they have my attention.” From a tackling standpoint, Bryan Cook was probably the most impressive of the rooks, but Jaylen Watson and Trent McDuffie also had some eye-popping open-field tackles. Corners who can tackle have been a hallmark of this defense, and it appears that will continue to be the case. Joshua Williams has also been a stud in this department.

9 The Chiefs’ defense probably had its most dominant outing of the season against the Seahawks. Certainly their most complete game. In Week 16, the KC defense was the sixth-best defense by DVOA and the eighth-best defense by EPA per play. The defense had been an oozing staph infection recently, leaky and disgusting, but nobody struggled on Christmas Eve. Maybe it was the holiday or the frigid weather, but every member of the D rarely brings it. More of that, please. Keep finishing strong.

10. In the pre-Mahomes era dating back to 1960, the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs had five 12-plus win seasons. TOTAL. Mahomes has won 12 or more games in all five seasons as a starter. It took him half a decade to match 60 years of success. I got down on my knees and prayed for a homegrown franchise quarterback for damn near 40 years. Sure most fellow Chiefs fans felt the same way. The universe responded by sending us the Michael effing Jordan of football. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself and ask, is this real, or am I living in a simulation? Because it’s almost too good to be true. Almost.

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