One For the Ages: A Film Breakdown of Rams vs. Chiefs

Pranav Ramasubramanian | November 26th, 2018

The Kansas City Chiefs at 9-1 and first place in the AFC against a 9-1 Los Angeles Rams team that was second in the NFC was a sure shot to be a great game. This game pitted two great offenses, two great offensive-minded head coaches and two great quarterbacks against one another with a location change to Los Angeles due to bad field conditions in Mexico. The game ended up being one of the highest scoring games in the history of the NFL and the greatest Monday Night Football game exceeding all expectations.

Rams jump out to an early lead

The Rams started with the ball first and were of the mindset to start the game off with a big bang and a nice pass from Jared Goff to a streaking Cooks on a slant was the big play on the drive capped by a Goff pass to Robert Woods over the top for a touchdown for the early lead. Greg Zuerlein missed the extra point so the Rams only went up 6-0. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs couldn’t establish a rhythm in their first drive going three and out punting the ball back to the Rams. Goff didn’t miss a beat easily finding his targets roaming around the field and was able to hit them with no real pass rush issues finding Tyler Higbee, Josh Reynolds, and Robert Woods for good gains and finished it off with a touchdown pass to Reynolds in the back of the end zone.

The Chiefs now found themselves suddenly down 13-0 and with their backs against the wall on the road. The Chiefs had committed six penalties up to this point costing them points while looking very undisciplined and sloppy early.

Chiefs wake up

Patrick Mahomes has this great quality where he just seems calm and patient no matter what around him goes wrong, which is impressive for a rookie. Tyreek Hill was dominant on the drive getting the Chiefs back in it as he used his agility to get open on a first down catch. He then used his speed to outrun Sam Shields for a 25-yard touchdown the following play trimming the lead to six.

The Rams used a defensive pass interference by Steven Nelson to get down the field and should’ve had a touchdown, but couldn’t convert in the red zone so settled for a field goal. The Rams got a defensive pass interference to extend the drive on third and goal, but after Andy Reid challenged it the ball was revealed to have been tipped so the call got reversed in Kansas City’s favor ending the Rams chances at a touchdown. Tyreek Hill dominated on the next offensive drive with two clutch catches again to put Kansas City in prime position for a touchdown, but the Chiefs also settled for a red zone field goal to cut the game to six. The defenses finally decided it was time to get in on the fun.

Defensive swings for both teams in the 1st Half

On a 3rd and 13, Goff couldn’t find an open receiver so he scrambled and Allen Bailey knocked the ball out of Goff’s hands before he could wrap it up. Dee Ford saw this and had the awareness to quickly knock the moving ball out of Goff’s hands and Allen Bailey recovered for the Chiefs setting them up for instant points. Mahomes threw a quick screen to Kareem Hunt, who ran past the whole defense for 21 yards and got the Chiefs a touchdown and a 17-16 lead giving them their first lead of the game. The Rams stalled on their next offensive drive giving the ball right back to Mahomes. On 2nd and 8, Mahomes tried to elude the pressure, but despite good blocking Aaron Donald still got around and got just enough of a push to use his hands to cleanly strip the ball out of Mahomes hands and the ball rolled right to Samson Ebukam, who picked it up and scored to give the Rams the lead.

The Chiefs needed to run a two-minute drill just to get some points and not let the momentum slip too much. It’s not an easy task given the situation.

Back and forth

Mahomes just started dealing and found his favorite target Travis Kelce twice as Kelce caught an 8-yard pass in the middle of the field. Lining him up as a receiver helped him get the right mismatch running down the seam and he caught a 37-yard pass floated to him setting up the Chiefs in the red zone. On a critical 3rd and 4, Mahomes couldn’t find anyone open so he stepped into the pocket and was prepared to run for the 1st down, but he saw Chris Conley open in the middle of the field and threw to him as he extended his hands for the touchdown. The PAT was missed so the score was tied 23-23 going into the half as the Rams decided to kneel it out. The Chiefs got the ball to start the second half and all momentum seemed to have swung in their favor. But Aaron Donald stepped up once again as he got around the offensive tackle and fastly closed in on Mahomes, who tried to quickly get the ball out before the hit leaving the ball in a vulnerable position. Donald took advantage and knocked the ball out of his hands. The ball bounced to Cameron Erving, but he failed to pick it up and kicked it down the field where it was bounced around until John Franklin-Myers finally fell on it.

It looked as if the Rams were gonna go three and out, but Sean McVay being the aggressive coach he is went for it on 4th and 1 with success as Goff found Higbee on a crossing route. Goff hit Higbee again for a quick screen pass to set the Rams up in the red zone where Goff ran in for the touchdown to regain the lead. A great kickoff return set the Chiefs up in good field position and Mahomes found Kelce wide open for 33 yards because of Nickell Robey-Coleman falling down setting up the Chiefs in the red zone. Kelce scored a touchdown two plays later on a crossing route to even the game at 30. It was only a matter of time before somebody tried to break the game open.

Rams regain a double-digit lead

Todd Gurley, one of the top offensive pieces for the Rams, seemed to get going on their next drive as he took a quick screen for 20 yards and then was left wide open for another 13 really starting to hit his stride. Even though Gurley helped the Rams get into the red zone, the Rams couldn’t seem to put a finishing touch on the drive and just hit a field goal for the lead. The Rams went away from the quick screens that had worked all drive, which was puzzling. Mahomes got the ball back and it looked like the Chiefs were going to take the lead. Just one play later, Mahomes made the mental error of looking right at Demetrius Harris when he threw the ball towards him, which Samson Ebukam read and jumped up to bat down the ball, which fell in his lap and he intercepted and ran it back 25 yards for the touchdown running over Mahomes in the process.

The Rams went back up by double digits and the Chiefs had to find yet another way to get back in the game.

Big plays get Chiefs the lead back

The Chiefs suffered a three and out right when they needed a score and punted the ball back to the Rams. The Rams looked like they were gonna close the door with the power running game with Gurley, but an Andrew Whitworth holding penalty killed their drive. Tyreek Hill fielded the punt deep costing the Chiefs field position as they had to start at their own nine-yard line. Hill made up for that mistake when he shook his first defender and then ran right past Sam Shields to get open for Mahomes, who fired a dart right to him leading him to the end zone for a 73-yard touchdown cutting the lead to three.

Goff tried to get the Rams moving down the field, but the Chiefs defense forced him into a 3rd and 11 where Justin Houston snuck up on Goff shedding Whitworth’s blocking and ripped the ball out of Goff’s hands with Allen Bailey being the right person at the right time as the ball went right to him. He snagged it and ran it in for the touchdown to put the Chiefs up, 44-40.

The Chiefs had made two big plays to stun the Rams and take the lead back looking primed to win the game.

Photo Finish

Goff needed to redeem himself after a big mistake and he just seemed to be able to put it behind him on the next drive. Goff hit three major passes to get the lead back and it started with a play-action fake that opened up Josh Reynolds as he caught the ball in stride with some yards after the catch totaling to a 27-yard play. On the second play, Goff ran back and surveyed the field before throwing a ball that was too low for Robert Woods, but Woods came back and caught it just before it hit the ground to put the Rams in the red zone. The final play came on 3rd and goal and Goff was looking for an open receiver, but everyone was covered so he instead found tight end Gerald Everett with a small gap and hit him with the bullet pass for the touchdown as Everett used his big body as leverage.

The Chiefs went three and out again on yet another big drive, but forced the Rams into a three and out to get the ball back with a chance to take the lead back. The Chiefs looked like they were gonna hand the game to the Rams as they only went eight yards on three plays leading to a 4th and 2, but Andy Reid had enough confidence in Mahomes and Mahomes didn’t let Reid down as he stepped out of the pressure and threw a pass to a wide-open Kelce in the middle of the field for the 1st down. The rest of the drive was smooth for the Chiefs and Mahomes found Chris Conley on a crossing route for a 10-yard touchdown for the lead with 2:47 to go.

Too much time on the clock for the Rams offense

Orlando Scandrick had a chance to win it for the Chiefs as he had jumped the route and knocked the ball intended for Reynolds around in his hands, but he never secured it as Reynolds knocked the ball out of Scandrick’s hands onto the turf forcing a third down. Goff was on target on his next pass hitting Cooks, who jumped up for the grab on a quick out route that went for 22 yards on a crucial 3rd and 9. Higbee put the Rams in Chiefs territory with a catch towards the sideline on another out route. Goff pulled a Picasso on his next throw as he hit Gerald Everett on an out route for 40 yards reading that the safety wouldn’t drop deep on the throw so he would get one on one coverage down the field and Everett caught it in stride and somehow kept his balance to score the go-ahead touchdown putting the Rams up 54-51 with 1:49 to go.

Mahomes would have a chance to run a two-minute drill and the way the offense was rolling it looked he would get it done. Mahomes found Tyreek Hill, who made a spectacular catch maintaining his balance as the Rams corner mistimed his jump.

Disaster then struck for the Chiefs as Mahomes rolled out, but Ebukam was hot on his trail and got to Mahomes so Mahomes tried the throw the ball downfield to Conley, but it was also tipped by Ebukam affecting the delivery of the pass and was picked off by none other than ex-Chief Marcus Peters. The Chiefs still had three timeouts left so all hope wasn’t lost just yet. It was perplexing to see the Rams throw on 2nd down, but after it was incomplete it saved the Chiefs a timeout and the Chiefs also stopped a Brandin Cooks screen pass play that they couldn’t stop all day giving the Chiefs the ball back, but Tyreek Hill made the same mistake he did earlier and fielded the punt costing the Chiefs field position with just 50 seconds to go. Mahomes was forced to push the ball down the field and he chucked a throw down the field right to Rams corner Lamarcus Joyner. The Chiefs were out of timeouts and time so the interception sealed the win for the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams needed this for their city after all that happened in Los Angeles in the last couple of weeks to boost their spirits.

Both quarterbacks had big days with over 400 yards as Goff had 413 for four touchdowns and Mahomes had 478 for six touchdowns with three interceptions.

Even with all the offense, the defense is what swung the game for the Rams as Samson Ebukam had a fumble recovery touchdown, pick six, and forced Mahomes into a late interception by tipping the ball with Donald also forcing two big fumbles on Mahomes recovered by the Rams. Mahomes five total turnovers basically gave the Rams 21 points even though the Chiefs nearly countered with two fumble recoveries by Allen Bailey ultimately panning out for 14 points. Todd Gurley didn’t have the usual impact, but McVay didn’t game plan for him to take over and instead let Goff do more in the passing lanes because he saw more weaknesses in the Chiefs secondary than in their pass rush. This game marked the first time in NFL history each team had scored 50 plus points with the total being 105 overall with 14 touchdowns and 1,001 yards being compiled. Both teams played great games, but the Rams had just enough to win and get to 10-1 due to two clutch touchdown catches by Gerald Everett while the Chiefs fall to 9-2, but are still the best team in the AFC while the Rams are chasing the Saints for the 1 seed after losing to them head to head.

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