Analysis

Chiefs Players Trending Up And Down After Week Three

That was one of the worst displays of Chiefs football in the Mahomes/Reid era. Several players left their A games on the plane.

That was one of the worst displays of Chiefs football in the Mahomes/Reid era. Several players left their A games on the plane.

What a horrendous performance that was. That was a game that should have been won with zero problems and instead the Chiefs rolled out with their worst performance in recent memory. I don’t know if they were overlooking Matt Ryan and the Colts or just thought that all they needed to do was roll their helmets onto the Lucas Oil Stadium turf and they would leave with the win, but this team did not come out to play on Sunday afternoon.

The defense did more than enough to win, but the offense and, by a greater measure, the special teams, simply did not show up. Matt Amendola performed terribly and Skyy Moore had a bad muffed punt return on a fair. However, a kicker picked up off the street and a rookie returner should have in no way been put in a position to be key reasons why Kansas City lost this game.

There were several other key players for the Chiefs that left their games in Kansas City and a precious few that brought their lunch pails to Indianapolis.

Chiefs Players Trending Up

Darius Harris

Darius Harris was thrust into the starting role after starting linebacker Willie Gay Jr. started his four-week suspension and did an admirable job. Harris led the team in total tackles with 13 and in solo tackles with seven. Those two honors are typically held by his third-year squad mate, Nick Bolton, but Harris took the reins for the defense. Harris was by no means perfect, as indicated by his confusion on where he was supposed to be on the Colts’ first touchdown pass, but he was solid throughout the game, including stuffing stud running back Jonathan Taylor on a huge fourth-down stop.

If Harris can keep playing like he did against the Colts, he might find himself in position for more playing time once Willie Gay Jr. returns to the fold.

Juju Smith-Schuster

Juju put together a full four quarters of play for the first time in a Chiefs uniform, putting together a line of five catches for 89 yards, most of which came on a big-time 53-yard gain in the fourth quarter on a huge third down and long.

That throw was certainly not on target, as were too many throws by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but Juju definitely made the most of it and that play was the biggest of Juju’s young Chiefs career. Juju led Kansas City in the receiving yards department, clearing Travis Kelce by 31 yards. This is the kind of game the Chiefs are expecting from their newly-acquired wide receiver and those performances are going to be coming with a higher degree of consistency if Kansas City is going to get the gears back to turning full speed on offense.

Chiefs Players Trending Down

Mecole Hardman

Speaking of getting the offensive gears going, could someone tell me if Mecole Hardman is going to be a part of the Chiefs game plan in some capacity, or are we going to admit that Hardman is a gadget player and no more?

Hardman had only one catch for two yards in the first quarter and was not targeted at all after that. It appears that Hardman is simply not able to get open even with his top-end speed and Mahomes is less-than-enthusiastic about forcing the ball his way. After this afternoon’s game, Hardman only has six catches for 65 yards on only 10 total targets. He also only has one rushing attempt on the year for minus-four yards so he is not producing in that area either.

For a player in his contract year, Hardman is just not bringing enough to the table to deserve a big payday, or even a spot on the Chiefs’ roster next year The Chiefs had to have been banking on Hardman being at least some part of the offense, but that is simply not happening and his absence is actively hurting this offense by removing one of their supposed weapons from the arsenal.

Chris Jones

Stone Cold Chris Jones is one of the unquestioned leaders of this Chiefs defense, but his lack of consistent performance is a source of much frustration for Chiefs Kingdom. It’s been a matter of much online discourse about how often Chris Jones may or may not be giving his best effort during any given game. It is a little more than embarrassing to have one of the team’s leaders to be carrying that label.

Jones certainly has the talent to take over games on a weekly basis as indicated by his two-sack performance in Los Angeles last week. That is why it makes it so incredibly disheartening to see him only have four tackles on the year and register hardly any impact outside of that Charger game. When you combine the lack of production with perhaps the biggest game-changing penalty with his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a third down stop late in the fourth quarter of this afternoon’s game, it makes Chiefs fans want to pull their hair out.

I don’t know exactly what was said there to Colts quarterback Matt Ryan, but it really doesn’t matter. Chris Jones has a reputation for running his mouth and apparently said something to him that led referee Shawn Smith to throw the flag on him which kept the Colts’ eventual game-winning drive alive. As one of Kansas City’s veteran leaders, those are the kinds of plays that absolutely should not happen.

There were several other Chiefs that failed to bring their best game to Indianapolis. The entire special teams, outside of punter Tommy Townsend, were a disaster. The leaders of this Chiefs team, including the coaching staff with head coach Andy Reid, are going to have to clean this mess up if the Chiefs are going to make it to the promised land.