Chiefs – Rams (26 – 10): Kansas City provides the essentials without forcing

Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) – Los Angeles Rams (3-8) : 26-10

Chiefs and Rams were this close to meeting at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood during the last Super Bowl. A final won by the Californian franchise, thus consecrating the offensive avant-garde of its coach, Sean McVay. Before this ultimate victory, it was the last opposition between the Rams and the Chiefs, in 2018, which could legitimately serve as consecration. Both for McVay and his men, and for Andy Reid and his men, losers that night, but co-participants in a football orgy never seen before, only roughly imitated since.

If the two teams have added a Super Bowl to their list for the past four years, the context was very different this Sunday. The protagonists too, especially on the side of Los Angeles, which arrived at Arrowhead with the worst record of a defending champion after 10 meetings (3-7) in the history of the league. The consequence of a workforce decimated by injuries, starting with Matthew Stafford, hit in the neck, whose end of the season is very seriously compromised.

Travis Kelce record

Like the year without the Angelinos, Sean McVay almost joined his starting quarterback in concussion protocol, after being accidentally hit in the jaw by rookie tight end Roger Carter Jr. who entered the field.

This weak record is also the result of a defensive squad stammering their football, despite the incredible consistency of the greatest defender of his generation, Aaron Donald, and the presence of another superstar in his own right in the backfield, Jalen Ramsey. The Rams defense was, before moving to Missouri, the one that played the least in individual marking in the entire NFL (8.4% of snaps). Against a Chiefs attack with an almost historic efficiencyRaheem Morris initially changed his habits by swapping his defense in the fetish zone for man-to-man marking.

In this little game, the Chiefs, seasoned in this coverage since the departure of Tyreek Hill in the offseason, drew the first. Facing Jalen Ramsey (6 tackles, 1 pass defended), Travis Kelce (4 receptions, 57 yards, 1 TD) emerged victorious from the duel of future Hall of Famers, receiving a pass from Patrick Mahomes (37 /42, 320 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) at the entrance to the Rams red zone, and finishing the job 20 yards away. His 11th touchdown of the seasonequaled a career high, with six matches still to play.

Slow start for Perkins

Opposite, Bryce Perkins (13/23, 100 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTS) was tenured for the first time in the big league, taking over from Matthew Stafford. If his legs (9 races, 44 yards) have somewhat allowed him to move the chains and the Rams to score on field goal, this first proved much more complicated in the air. Two small passes completed in the first half (2/6, 16 yards) in a necessarily restricted playbook. So much so that Los Angeles relied on trick play and a pass from his punter Riley Dixon, from the second quarter, to gain ground. A success, certainly, already sounding like an admission of weakness.

Upon returning from the locker room, the scenario of the first half hour of play repeated itself: an inevitably limited Rams attack against a Chiefs defense not having to force its talent; a Chiefs attack reciting its ranges against a dominated Rams defense without necessarily demeriting. A logic respected therefore, on a small pace light years from the fireworks of 2018. Just enough for Isiah Pacheco (22 races, 69 yards, 1 TD) to register his first touchdown since Week 1 (20 -3).

Just enough also for Bryce Perkins to take a little more ease and finally conclude a series worthy of the name. Fourteen plays, including six assists, 75 yards and the first touchdown of his career, for Van Jefferson at the reception (20-10). Nothing exceptional, but enough to gain confidence.

Freewheeling Chiefs

Then almost nothing… A mistake as disconcerting as it is unexpected for a quarterback of the pedigree of Patrick Mahomes on 3rd & goal. An error as disconcerting as expected for a neophyte like Bryce Perkins. Then a new interception, where he plays bad luck. Learning the hard way. For the Chiefs, two small fields to seal victory and voila.

The Rams have never seemed able to win in Kansas City, however avoiding correctional. A lesser evil given the circumstances, respective state of form and forces present at kick-off. For the Chiefs, the essential is assured in the race for the bye in the 1st round of play in the AFC. Without being transcendent, Mahomes and his band continue their merry way, before a challenge of another caliber next week, in Cincinnati.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.