Give the defense its due in the Chiefs’ 31-13 victory at Washington.
That much-maligned side of the ball had its best game. The Chiefs held an opponent to fewer than 29 points for the first time this season, and while Kansas City was stopping itself with turnovers in the first half, Steve Spagnuolo’s group kept things close.
That Washington got only seven points from the takeaways was a tribute to the Chiefs’ defense.
Next: The Chiefs, who improved to 3-3, return to AFC competition and visit Tennessee for a noon kickoff Sunday. The game will be broadcast on CBS (Ch. 5)
KC STAR OF THE GAME
Plenty of candidates, but let’s salute the defense with a game ball to cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. He came up with a tackle for loss and a recovered fumble on a day the defense turned in its best game this season.
Passing offense: C
Good start and finish with trouble in between. Early on, tight end Jody Fortson made a great grab off a defender’s helmet. Mecole Hardman came up with 49-yard grab and Jerick McKinnon’s great second effort gave the Chiefs a first down.
But the Chiefs were denied a score when Tyreek Hill couldn’t grab a catchable pass that turned into yet another deflected interception. And Fortson left the game with an injury.
There is no explanation for Mahomes’ second interception. An impressive drive just before halftime reached the 20. Plenty of time remained to get at least a field goal before halftime. But Mahomes fumbled the snap, recovered the ball, then floated a toss into the air to avoid a sack.
Instead, the ball was intercepted — the Chiefs’ third turnover of the half.
Hill didn’t play in the final series of the second quarter or first of the third. But he returned and caught a 2-yard touchdown pass. Travis Kelce had a good game with 93 yards on seven receptions and appeared to play hurt on several plays. He seemed to hurt his hand and ankle on different plays, but he was on the receiving end of a forward pitch from Mahomes, who threw for a season-best 397 yards.
Mahomes added a 24-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson to complete the scoring
Rushing offense: A
The numbers weren’t huge: 106 yards on the ground. But the ground game was there when the Chiefs needed it, and they were playing with a new starting running back in Darrel Williams and new right guard in Mike Remmers.
A big moment on the Chiefs’ opening drive: Williams’ cutback run collected 5 yards on a fourth-and-1 from midfield. The play ended with Williams’ 2-yard scoring run. Another cutback run got Williams into the end zone from the 3.
He ran well throughout the day, finishing with 62 rushing yards, and was especially effective collecting yards after receptions. Mahomes also was effective on keepers that resulted in first downs.
Passing defense: B
Good start for the Chiefs as Rashad Fenton and L’Jarius Sneed made nice plays in the end zone, and the Chiefs were getting pressure on Taylor Heinicke.
But Ben Niemann read a screen and couldn’t stop it as Washington converted a third-and-16, and two plays later he was out of position on Ricky Seals-Jones’ 39-yard touchdown reception. Tyrann Mathieu was seen screaming at the sideline after the play.
Nick Bolton dropped Antonio Gibson for a 5-yard loss on a reception to open a third quarter three-and-out drive. The Chiefs nearly got their first sack early in the fourth quarter, but Heinicke rolled over Frank Clark and kept alive a play that resulted in an incomplete pass.
How about Turk Wharton’s career-first interception, with the defensive end taking the ball off an offensive lineman’s helmet?
Rushing defense: A
An early highlight: Mike Danna jarred the ball loose from Antonio Gibson and Sneed recovered it. The Chiefs had their first takeaway since Week 2. But they gave it right back on Hardman’s fumble. Anthony Hitchens left the game in the second quarter with an arm injury. Washington finished with 89 rushing yards.
Special teams: B
A good start, with Hardman’s 29-yard punt return that led to Harrison Butker’s 52-yard field goal. Byron Pringle shouldn’t have brought a kickoff out from deep in the end zone late in the second quarter and Hardman shouldn’t have called for a fair catch on an early fourth-quarter punt, but he added a 30-yard punt return.
Tommy Townsend shanked a punt (18 yards), but the Chiefs’ defense held, and WFT missed a field goal to keep the game 13-10 early in the third quarter.