Takeaways From the Chiefs Victory in Arizonaby Liz Pendergraft September 12, 2022 0 comments
The Kansas City Chiefs were on an away trip to visit the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 of the season. Questions about both teams were hanging in the air, but Kansas City answered them throughout the game. As a result, the Chiefs were able to come away with the victory, controlling the game throughout all four quarters. They never trailed at any point in the game, and the defense for the Chiefs was successful in keeping the Cardinals from getting much going for most of the game. Here are a few takeaways to think about before the next game.
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Ever since the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, many have been speculating how the loss of Hill would affect the offense. Combine that with the comments made by Hill regarding the Chiefs, and it is no wonder fans, and non-fans were expressing their concern. However, throughout the game, it was as if the Chiefs and Mahomes never missed a step. Rookie Isiah Pacheco had 12 carries for 62 yards, and Travis Kelce had eight receptions for 121 yards. Mahomes made use of his offensive weapons, and while there may be plays they are unable to run without Hill’s speed, the Chiefs are doing just fine.
Patrick Mahomes Is In Top Form
Mahomes finished with 30 completions on 39 attempts for 360 yards and five touchdowns. He avoided being sacked, and there were no interceptions, so his 144.2 passer rating looks pretty good. Mahomes hit nine different receivers and did well with distributing the ball. It will be interesting to see this strategy against teams better than the Cardinals, like the Los Angeles Chargers or other AFC West teams.
Chiefs’ Defense is Looking Good
For a young defense, they did a fantastic job at stopping the Cardinals and holding them to only 21 points. Much has been made of the redesign of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, and with the additions of players like George Karlaftis, Justin Reid, and Carlos Dunlap, it is a look teams will need to get used to. The Chiefs’ defense had two sacks on Kyler Murray, and while the Cardinals were without DeAndre Hopkins, it still could have gone wrong for the Chiefs. Of course, there will be hiccups along the way, growing pains they will experience due to age and embracing Spagnuolo’s plans. However, right now, they are looking like a well-oiled machine.
Injuries and a Short Week
Coming into the game, the Chiefs were relatively uninjured. However, that did not last long. Harrison Butker hurt his ankle when he slipped on a kickoff, and Trent McDuffie injured his hamstring. Also, Mahomes’ left wrist was taped up after he fell on it in the first quarter. At least three other players sought medical attention throughout the game. The concern about the injuries is that the Chiefs have a Thursday game against the Chargers. Therefore, there is a shorter amount of time to evaluate the injury and work on a plan for any needed rehab.
AFC West Improved, But Not the Chiefs?
All anyone heard during the offseason was how stacked the AFC West is, except for the Chiefs. Everyone improved their teams, except for the Chiefs. As a result, the Chiefs will have more competition and will not win the division this season. While we may not know what will happen since we are still in Week 1, there is no doubt the Chiefs are looking just as good as they have any other season since Mahomes became the quarterback. However, you cannot discount the fact that the other teams in the AFC West did draft, trade, and make other moves to improve their teams. Combine that with the loss of several key players on both sides of the ball for Kansas City, and it is easy to see why some might subscribe to that way of thinking.
The game against the Cardinals is the first step in showing the NFL that the Chiefs are still the team to beat. Their first test will come on Thursday when they face the Chargers. That game will give everyone a better idea of where the Chiefs are compared to the other AFC West teams.
While the win against Arizona was impressive, there is still a long way to go in the season. Anything can happen, good or bad, and we will find out how well the Chiefs will navigate whatever storm or rainbow comes their way.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images