Chiefs still stuck in a funk, but at least they rallied to barely beat the Giants
Travis Kelce finally got the ball on Monday night, and he had a bad fumble as he was being brought down.
A little while later, L'Jarius Sneed might have had a pick-six on a reckless throw by New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, but Sneed fell down and Kadarius Toney ended up with an 11-yard gain. The Giants scored a touchdown later in the drive.
These were weird mistakes from a struggling team. We're just not used to seeing the Kansas City Chiefs struggle like this. Kansas City was expected to blow out the Giants, but the Chiefs aren't blowing out anyone lately.
The Chiefs won 20-17 and that's the most important thing, but we have to recalibrate our expectations for them. The Chiefs had to battle and scratch and barely pulled out a win over the Giants, who are not good. Even the game-winning drive wasn't pretty, with a defensive penalty negating what would have been a back-breaking interception by Patrick Mahomes.
Maybe after the 4-4 Chiefs had troubles putting away a bad Giants team for a few hours on Monday night, people will realize they're not the same dominant team they've been with Mahomes at quarterback.
Chiefs started with a turnover
The Chiefs started the game like they were ready to put on a show in prime time. They had a 13-play drive down to the Giants' 5-yard line. But then Mahomes tried to make something out of nothing, and his jump pass to Josh Gordon was wide of the mark, batted in the air and intercepted. The Chiefs never made mistakes early in Mahomes' career, and now they can't stop making them.
The Chiefs' offense had nothing to rely on. Kelce was a non-factor. Mahomes couldn't complete anything downfield. The only thing keeping the chains moving was Tyreek Hill on short routes and Derrick Gore, who most people had never heard of before Monday night, running the ball.
Nothing else worked. The Giants played very well, keeping safeties deep and doing well enough underneath so Mahomes didn't pick them apart. But this is the Chiefs. They're supposed to beat any defense, right?
Not this season. Not yet anyway.
Chiefs catch a late break
The Chiefs' defense played pretty well, and that's the reason they were in the game. There were a couple of busts that led to big plays, but not too many. It was an improvement. Cynically, you can say the Giants had the game for the taking, and their offense wasn't good enough to do anything with it.
Either way, the Chiefs were fortunately in the game at the end. Kansas City's defense bounced back from a third-down holding call to force a punt late in the fourth quarter. That gave the ball back to the offense with 4:41 left in a 17-17 game. An offsides penalty on the Giants wiped out what would have been a massive interception by Mahomes on a terrible decision. The penalty bailed him out. A phantom face mask penalty on the Giants right after that gifted the Chiefs 15 more yards.
The Chiefs had a few nice plays after that. A shove pass to Mecole Hardman was good for 24 yards down to the Giants' 9-yard line. But the drive stalled, because nothing comes easy for this season's Chiefs. Harrison Butker kicked a field goal with 1:07 left to give the Chiefs the lead. The Giants went quietly after that, with Jones taking two bad sacks on the final possession to end the game.
Last week there was controversy when Chiefs defenders Anthony Hitchens and Tyrann Mathieu were mad and lashed out on social media about fans' complaints over the slow start to the season. Maybe the players were right to be frustrated. But it's not like the fans don't have anything to be concerned about, and they'll have more to worry about after Monday night.