That was a big win, folks. There were a few reasons to believe that the Chiefs could overcome the visiting Vikings, but more signs pointed to a hot Vikings team stealing a win in Arrowhead. Picking up a win against another division leader is big at any time, but without your starting quarterback it becomes a major deal. That win buys the Chiefs time to handle their injury situations in whatever way they would like between now and the bye week, and with the Patriots taking their first loss of the season, puts the Chiefs squarely back into the conversation for the number one seed in the AFC.
While waiting and watching for Patrick Mahomes updates this week will be every Chiefs fan’s guilty pleasure this week, let’s take a look back at a few of the bright spots from Sunday’s win that could be signs of better things to come. First and foremost, not a single player left the game on the injury list. It does not solve the problem of the team’s overall health, but it seems like this is the first time in a long time that the team did not find itself down another player or two after the game. That in itself is a big sigh of relief.
If there as an on-field breakthrough, it was definitely on the defensive side of the ball, as the Chiefs stymied both the league’s most dominate running back and a passing game that had been red hot, of late. The return of Reggie Ragland to the starting lineup has served as an immediate shot in the arm of the run defense, which has finally shown signs in the last couple weeks of starting to turn the corner. Rookie safety Juan Thornhill is developing nicely as the team’s deep safety and the coaching staff seem to trust him with playing centerfield, which has allowed Tyran Mathieu to fly around the field and impact the game in any number of ways, which has helped both the passing and rushing defense. After getting eaten alive by Packers’ running backs last week, the Chiefs adjusted corner Charvarius Ward to cover the Vikings’ runners out of the backfield, which paid dividends.
The offense showed some life in areas that will only stand to benefit Mahomes upon his return. The running game was somewhat pedestrian most of the day, but after watching LeSean McCoy palm the ball away his body one too many times, Andy Reid moved toward Damien Williams, who eventually broke a 91-yard touchdown run. The coaching staff and fans from all over have been enamored with McCoy’s explosive bursts, but Williams was a major part of the team’s offense last season, and it was good to see him engaged in the game again.
The line played a little better, which I’m not going to get too far into, because returning injured starters is the real key, but they were able to give Matt Moore enough time to maneuver, which brings me to my next point. Tyreek Hill is returning to form. And not just, getting healthy enough to catch a few passes form—the form that he has been flashing for two seasons now—dominant, All-Pro level receiver who changes games. When Hill was fully healthy and playing this way last season, the two were absolutely dominant. With Sammy Watkins healthy again (for now) and Mecole Hardman stepping up his role in the offense, if the line can hold up, Mahomes will return to an offense that is ready to return to the juggernaut form of 2018—and wasn’t that a lot of fun?