The Chiefs kicked off their 2022 season with a downright dominant showing against one of last year’s NFC Playoff teams. Here’s a recap of the game’s action before we look to week two.
The Kansas City Chiefs opened the season on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals surely wish they’d started against anyone else. Kansas City defeated Arizona by a final score of 44-21, but the game was not that close. This was total domination from the opening kickoff to the final whistle in all three game phases.
I’ll add another phase as Chiefs Kingdom showed up in grand fashion in Arizona. The chop could be heard very clearly through the TV on multiple occasions. Here’s a recap of the week one matchup:
Patrick Mahomes And The Chiefs Are Out For Blood In 2022
Patrick Mahomes clearly took notes this offseason of all the people doubting him. He dropped to eight in the NFL top 100, and talking heads like Bart Scott predicted the Chiefs to miss the playoffs. People all over the media questioned how he would perform without the greatest receiver in Chiefs history — Tyreek Hill — on the team.
Mahomes answered all those doubters with a 30 for 39 performance that included 360 passing yards and five touchdown passes. Combine that with zero interceptions and those stats added up to a quarterback rating of 144.3. He completed passes to nine different receivers and touchdowns to four different guys. He proved without a doubt that he is still the best quarterback in the NFL.
However, Mahomes didn’t do it alone today. The rest of the team played great as well. The upgraded receiving room hauled in 14 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown. JuJu Smith-Schuster led the way with six catches for 79 yards. The tight ends did what you expected as Travis Kelce caught eight balls for 121 yards and a touchdown. Jordy Fortson did what he does; catch touchdown passes. He caught one ball for one touchdown.
It’s not all about the pass catchers though as the big men up front and the running backs ate a lot in this game as well. The Chiefs showed off some of their multi-dimensional backfield, rushing the ball 27 times for 128 yards. Rookie Isiah Pacheco led the way late with 12 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire started hot with seven carries and 42 yards. CEH also added three catches for 32 yards and two touchdowns.
Not To Be Outdone, The Chiefs Defense Made Their Own Mark
The defense played just as strong as the offense, holding newly paid Kyler Murray to just seven points before the game was put out of reach. Sure, they ended up giving up 21 points total, but those fourth-quarter points when the team was playing vanilla do not count to me. Murray was sacked two times, once each by Carlos Dunlap and L’Jarius Sneed.
The sacks alone don’t say how much pressure Murray was under all afternoon as Chris Jones, Frank Clark, and George Karlaftis lived in the backfield. That pass rush worked well with the Chiefs’ young new-look secondary as the Cardinals wideouts could not shake free. Juan Thornhill made plays all over the field and Trent McDuffie completely shut down his man before his injury. Steve Spagnuolo called it a perfect game and the players at every level executed it perfectly. That was a top-ten defensive performance.
Special teams are normally the red-headed stepchild of the team, but in this game, they were one of the major stories. Kicker Harrison Butker sprained his ankle on his second kickoff of the game when he slipped on the turf. The Chiefs went to their backup kicker, safety Justin Reid.
Reid started hot, drilling his first extra point attempt, but shanked his second attempt way wide right. Butker came back from the locker room just before the half and drilled a 54-yard field goal taking just one step. He was also able to kick extra points the rest of the game, ending the game limping badly but still going a perfect four for four on extra points and that one field goal. Reid got plenty of action though as he kicked off for the rest of the game. He had four touchbacks out of six kickoffs and made the tackles on both the Cardinal returns.
Injuries Started To Pile Up For The Chiefs In Week One
On the field, the Chiefs played a nearly perfect game, but not everything went perfect Sunday as the medical tent on the sideline was far too busy. Patrick Mahomes injured his non-throwing hand early in the game and played with it heavily taped the rest of the way. He wouldn’t use it to brace his falls and he handed the ball off with his right hand most of the game. No matter the injury, it won’t keep him out of games, but nobody in Kansas City wants to see Mahomes with any issues.
Right guard Trey Smith joined Butker with an injured ankle, but he did not return to the game. Trent McDuffie had to be carted off the field in the third quarter with what the team called a hamstring injury. Wide-receiver Justin Watson was the final name on the injury list going out with a chest injury in the fourth quarter. With the Chiefs having a quick turnaround playing on Thursday, it will be interesting to see how the injury report looks Monday after all the tests are completed.
The injuries are bad and we need to hope for the tests to show nothing major. But those injuries should not take away from the fact that the Chiefs played a nearly perfect game on the road against a playoff team from last year. The offense was in sync and the defense was fast and hard-hitting. The Chiefs still look like the class of the AFC West and will get to prove that Thursday when the Los Angeles Chargers come to Kansas City for the Chiefs’ home opener.