The Kansas City Chiefs knew the Minnesota Vikings would likely prove to be a tougher opponent than what their 1-3 record, but no one could have predicted the sort of close calls that would await K.C. at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in Week 5.
By game's end, the Chiefs were still able to earn their fourth win in five games this season as they closed things out with a Mike Danna sack on Kirk Cousins that ruined any last-second hopes for Minnesota.
What We'll Likely Remember
In a career filled with more milestones than anyone else to ever play the position, Travis Kelce just put together perhaps the single most memorable performance in a game in his career. While other games have included greater statistical production, Kelce proved his toughness by returning from an ugly ankle injury suffered in the first half to help the Chiefs move the chains and score a touchdown in the third quarter—a drive that absolutely shocked everyone at U.S. Bank Stadium. Kelce went from long-term injury scare to go-to asset in a matter of minutes.
What We'll Want to Forget
The Chiefs had the chance to really put the Vikings in a hole, but the second quarter was just maddening on all sides for the Chiefs. The defense committed four penalties on a single drive that kept giving Kirk Cousins a new set of downs over and over on a three-point drive that should have easily been a three-and-out. It was a flag-a-thon that included two on L'Jarius Sneed and a converted fourth-down trick play for Minnesota.
Three Key Stats
1. Harrison Butker continues to put up a strong yet underrated season for the Chiefs so far, and his stellar history of accuracy and power has allowed him to cross the 800 points mark in his 95th game. He's yet to miss a single field goal or extra point so far in 2023.
2. Speaking of career numbers, Patrick Mahomes' four-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce in the third quarter was the 49th scoring connection between the pair. That's the most in franchise history and fourth in NFL history.
3. One week after going 0 for 4 in the red zone (in a close win against the Jets), then Chiefs came back and went 3 for 3—an impressive turnaround and the ultimate reason why they won the game.
Highlight of the Game
It's likely an overlooked play due to the its non-scoring nature, but there was a point in the second half in which it looked like the Chiefs offense was on the ropes. With the score tied at 13 apiece, Patrick Mahomes found himself sacked for a significant loss and then Kadarius Toney caught a pass for no gain. Facing a 3rd-and-18, Mahomes somehow found Justin Watson down the field for 33 yards and a major momentum shift. From there, the Chiefs would score a touchdown to take the lead and they would never let go.
The turf at U.S. Bank Stadium made things scary for both teams in Week 5. Travis Kelce went down with an ankle concern in the first half shortly before halftime. Even for the Vikings, Justin Jefferson left with a hamstring injury. Kadarius Toney had a quick injury scare but seemed okay in the end.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Vikings had a chance to tie but found their drive stalled near the red zone. When they couldn't convert a long third down, Cousins and company were down to a 4th-and-12 situation, but Chiefs pressure got the best of Cousins and forced him to make an errant throw. However, a ref initially flagged L'Jarius Sneed for DPI despite the ball being uncatchable. In the end, officials changed the call and the result was a turnover on downs to KC.
Final Score for Chiefs-Vikings
It was a tough back and forth game for both the Chiefs and Vikings but in the end, the Chiefs were able to hold off a last-second Hail Mary attempt from the Vikings to win 27-20.
What's Next for the Chiefs?
The Kansas City Chiefs have to love the ability to put the AFC West largely on lockdown by midseason with their next three games coming against Broncos (twice) and Chargers. If anything, they can end the Broncos season and force a fire sale by the trade deadline. It's a short week for all involved as the Chiefs host the Broncos on Thursday Night Football.