Chiefs vs. Redskins: 10 Observations

Here’s what stood out Monday night

The Kansas City Chiefs maintained their status as the league's only undefeated team with their thrilling 29-20 victory over the Washington Redskins Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here are 10 observations from the game:

1. The Chiefs continue to be a second-half team

The Chiefs scored on all four of their possessions in the second half and overcame a 10-7 halftime deficit to pick up their fourth victory of the season.

Through the first four games, the Chiefs have now outscored their opponents 57-13 in the fourth quarter.

Overall, this can be seen as the kind of win that develops character considering the Chiefs were challenged in many ways on Monday night, but they still came out victorious.

2. The two-minute drill late to win it was a thing of beauty

100217-observations-image.jpg

With the game tied 20-20 with just 47 seconds left in regulation, the Chiefs had the ball at their own 25-yard line and a chance to win the game. They just needed to get into field goal range.

Quarterback Alex Smith, who was under pressure all night from the Redskins' front seven, completed three straight passes for a total of 51 yards.

It gave Chiefs' rookie kicker Harrison Butker, who was just signed off the Panthers' practice squad earlier this week, an opportunity to win the game with a 43-yard field goal.

Smith, who was hit eight times and sacked four times, went 15 of 18 for 156 yards in the second half, which included a key 37-yard hookup with Albert Wilson.

3. Albert Wilson's two clutch plays rank among most important in game

After the game, Chiefs coach Andy Reid called Wilson the "unsung" hero of the game.

Wilson made two plays that are largely responsible for the Chiefs winning Monday night.

The first play came midway through the fourth quarter as the Chiefs were facing a third-and-5 deep in Redskins' territory with the game tied, 17-17.

As tight end Travis Kelce was cutting across the middle at the top of his route, the linebacker shoved him and caused Kelce to lose balance as the ball was headed his direction. The ball bounced off Kelce and flew straight up into the air as a free ball for any one of a handful of Redskins' defenders in the area to intercept.

That when Wilson—one of the smallest guys on the field—seemingly came out of nowhere to jump up and snag the ball and keep it from being intercepted.

It was the most important reception that resulted in no gain in Wilson's four-year career.

Then, late in the game on the Chiefs' final offensive drive, Wilson perfectly executed the Chiefs' scramble drill and got vertical as Smith left the pocket.

Smith saw Wilson get deep and placed the ball over his shoulder along the right sideline and Wilson made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch and was able to secure it while taking a huge hit from the safety coming across the field.

The result was a 37-yard gain and the Chiefs were then in field goal range.

Basically, it was a night to remember for Wilson. He made the big play that put them in field goal range to win it, and he also made the heady play that allowed them to still be in it late in the game.

4. New Chiefs' kicker Harrison Butker hits game-winner in NFL debut

**

**Much like rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who fumbled on the first snap of his career against the New England Patriots only to fight back and currently sit as the NFL's leading rusher, Harrison Butker's first field goal opportunity didn't go the way he wanted.

Butker missed the first field goal attempt of his career—a 46-yarder late in the first half that would have tied the game, but he remained confident, as did Hunt after that fumble.

Reid said after the game that Butker went to him after the miss and said, "Don't worry, I'm good."

Butker nailed his next two field goal attempts, which included a 43-yarder with eight seconds left in the game that gave the Chiefs the win.

It was quite the NFL debut for Butker, who also went 6 of 6 on touchbacks on his kickoffs.

5. Kareem Hunt puts up another solid performance

100217-observations-image2.jpg

Hunt finished the game with 21 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown, and had four receptions for 20 yards as well.

Coming into the game, Hunt, who already led the NFL in rushing yards and scrimmage yards, needed 106 yards from scrimmage to move into the Top 10 in NFL history in most yards from scrimmage from a player in the first four games of a season.

With his 649 yards from scrimmage in the first four games, Hunt is tied for ninth in NFL history with former Cincinnati Bengal Essex Johnson, who accomplished that feat in 1973.

Of the 121 total yards from Hunt on the night, 50 of them came in the fourth quarter.

6. The Redskins' offense came to play

From the very beginning of this game, the Redskins were out there to show everyone that it was going to be a battle for the Chiefs to stay undefeated.

The Redskins went 70 yards on six plays on their opening drive and quarterback Kirk Cousins hit receiver Terrell Pryor Sr. for a 44-yard touchdown to give the Redskins a quick 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Cousins would finish the game 14 of 24 for 220 yards and a couple of touchdowns, but it was his running ability that really made things interesting late. He had seven rushes for 38 yards, many of which came late in the game as the Redskins got within striking distance of taking the lead and potentially winning the game.

A pass from Cousins to receiver Josh Docston fell incomplete after it looked like Docston had it in his hands in the end zone on third-and-2 with less than a minute left in the game.

7. Travis Kelce puts up a huge performance

**

**It seemed like anytime the Chiefs needed a really big play and things weren't going all that well, the ball went in Kelce's direction and good things followed.

Kelce finished the game with seven catches for 111 yards, including a key 17-yard touchdown in the second quarter on a play that could only be described as a grown-man catch.

There was contact. There was traffic, and there was Kelce making it happen.

It was Kelce's 10th career game with at least 100 yards receiving.

Also, and perhaps the biggest play of Kelce's day that might go unmentioned by others was the third-and-14 strike late in the first quarter.

With the Chiefs' offense struggling to get much going, Smith found Kelce for a 32-yard gain down the middle of the field, which not only flipped the field position, but it was the first sign of life from the Chiefs' offense.

Kelce would convert another key third-down later, hauling in a third-and-9 pass for 10 yards.

The Chiefs converted 8 of 13 third-down opportunities on the day.

8. Linebacker Frank Zombo led the Chiefs with five tackles

With linebacker Dee Ford missing the game because of a back issue, veteran Frank Zombo stepped into his place and held it down pretty well.

Zombo finished with a team-high five tackles, and had a couple of key pressures and a clutch stop on third-and-goal on a misdirection carry from Cousins.

Late in the first quarter on third-and-goal from the two-yard line, Zombo stayed home and made the tackle on Cousins and forced the Redskins to settle for a field goal on a play that would have likely resulted in a touchdown had Zombo not played it as well as he did.

Photos from the Chiefs Week 4 matchup against the Redskins

9. Reggie Ragland got the start at inside linebacker

It was the NFL debut for former Buffalo Bills second-round pick Reggie Ragland, who missed his entire rookie season last year with a torn ACL and was traded to the Chiefs before the final preseason game a couple of months ago. He finished with one tackle.

Last Saturday, Ragland said he was ready for the opportunity whenever it might come.

"It's been intense, but they're just trying to get me up to speed and it's been working," Ragland said. "There's just been a lot of intense meeting sessions with (assistant linebackers coach) Mark DeLeone—he's been helping me out a lot. (Rookie linebacker) Ukeme Eligwe and [Derrick Johnson] have been helping me out a lot, too.

"When my time is called, I'll be ready."

10. The Chiefs were banged up along the offensive line

It was a game in which Smith saw plenty of pressure.

The Redskins boast one of the NFL's best defensive fronts, which has been taken to a new level with the addition of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula this year.

Add in the fact that the Chiefs were already without starting center Mitch Morse, and left tackle Eric Fisher played in the game but didn't practice the last two days of the week because of a back issue.

100217-observations-image3.jpg

Then, finally, add in the first-half injury to starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who left with a knee injury (Reid said they'll be doing more tests tomorrow), and the line was getting pretty thin as only two starters—right tackle Mitch Schwartz and left guard Bryant Witzmann—were fully healthy for the game.

That said, the group still did enough to protect Smith when it matted and open holes for Hunt, who helped grind away another win for the Chiefs, who have a short week now as they get ready for the Houston Texans next Sunday night. 

Smith finished the game 27 of 37 for 293 yards and a touchdown, adding seven carries for 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground as well.

With his 1-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter—the 10th of his career, Smith moved into first place on the franchise's all-time list for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. He moved past a tie with Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion, Len Dawson. The Chiefs are now 8-2 when Smith rushes for a touchdown.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising