Chiefs vs. Saints: 10 Observations

Here are a few things that stood out about Sunday’s game

The Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) have won back-to-back games for the first time all season, as they defeated the New Orleans Saints (2-4) by a score of 27-21 Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

The win not only broke the tie in the all-time series, in which the Chiefs are now 6-5 against the Saints, but it was also a historic game for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

Here are 10 observations from Sunday's win:

1. Chiefs Kingdom continues to show what makes them special

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The Chiefs haven't lost at Arrowhead Stadium in 379 days and counting—spanning nine games—and Chiefs Kingdom once again showed why many consider them the best fans in the NFL on Sunday.

With three false starts and two delay of game penalties, the Saints offense was called for five penalties in total that could be at least partially attributed to crowd noise.

It was Chiefs Kingdom playing their role in another win at Arrowhead, and Reid even said after the game that it was a huge part of Sunday's victory.

"I think they were a big factor there, right out of the shoot," Reid said of the crowd after the game. "I give them high fives, man."

2. Alex Smith is on fire right now

Over the past two weeks, quarterback Alex Smith has completed 36 of 46 (78 percent) for 438 yards and two touchdowns.

For those counting, that means Smith is averaging 9.5 yards per passing attempt over the last two games, which is third-best in the NFL over that span. 

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Smith finished Sunday's game 17 of 24 for 214 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, and moved into fourth place on the franchise's all-time touchdowns list with his two today—giving him 68 total and passing former Chiefs quarterback Steve DeBerg (1988-91, 67).

Much has been made about the opposing quarterbacks and their high-powered offenses over the past two weeks in Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, but Smith has gone toe to toe with those two and led his team to victories over both of those quarterbacks.

Smith has a quarterback rating of 120.8 over the past two weeks.

Smith had six completions against the Saints that went for 13 yards or more, including two beautiful throws down the field to Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley.

3. Daniel Sorensen with a huge day for the defense

There may not be a defensive player who had a bigger day for the Chiefs on Sunday than safety Daniel Sorensen, whose 48-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the first quarter was easily one of the biggest plays in the game.

Defensive lineman Jaye Howard fought his way to a free lane at Brees while safety Eric Berry deflected the pass into the air and Sorensen snatched it and was off the other way.

It was Kansas City's sixth interception return for a touchdown since the start of last season, which is the most for any team in the NFL.

A bit later in the game, Sorensen came on a blitz and was able to bring down Brees for the sack, which was the only one of the game for the Chiefs and just the ninth time Brees has been brought down this season.

Sorensen's touchdown gave the Chiefs a lead at 14-7 and one that they'd never relinquish.

4. Ron Parker's forced fumble was another one of the key plays

The other game-changing play from the Chiefs defense came late in the game with the Chiefs holding a 24-14 lead with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the game.

The Saints had driven all the way down to the Chiefs 13-yard line and were looking at bringing the score to within a field goal with plenty of time left on the clock.

Then Ron Parker happened.

Parker came up and punched the ball—literally punched the ball—from Saints running back Mark Ingram, who was trying to gain a few extra yards in the red zone.

It was the Chiefs fifth red zone takeaway this season, which leads the NFL.

Once the ball was on the ground, cornerback Marcus Peters picked it up and ran it 21 yards the other way for the second Saints turnover of the day.

After the play was over, Peters ran over and gave Parker the ball.

These two turnovers were the difference in the game and are the main reason the Chiefs were able to pick up their fourth win of the season.

5. Chris Conley with a phenomenal catch in a crucial situation

Whenever the Chiefs need a clutch catch from a receiver, it just seems as if Chris Conley always makes the play if it's thrown his direction.

Conley finished the game with two catches for 29 yards, but the play he made in the fourth quarter when his team needed him will be forever embedded into his highlight reel.  

The Chiefs were facing third-and-17 midway through the fourth quarter and holding a 24-14 lead, and rather than play it safe and run a screen or a draw, Reid trusted Smith to make a big-time throw and Conley made everyone take note with a big-time catch.

The Saints challenged the play, but the referees agreed that Conley had made a phenomenal contested catch with two feet in bounds right in front of the Chiefs bench.

The fact that the Saints had to use one of their timeouts with the failed challenge proved to be crucial late in the game as time expired as they tried to drive and score to win the game.  

6. Ware continues to rack up yards

Coming into Sunday's game, running back Spencer Ware ranked sixth in the NFL in total scrimmage yards with 646.

Ware finished Sunday's game against the Saints with 19 touches for 131 yards and a touchdown. He continues to show why he's one of the NFL's elite dual-threat running backs.

Kansas City's longest play of the day came on a short pass in the left flat to Ware, and thanks to some great blocking and a few broken tackles, Ware raced 46 yards down the field to tie the game and get the Chiefs on the board at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.

Ware finished with 17 carries for 77 yards and had two receptions for 54 yards and the touchdown.

7. Saints showed why they rank No. 2 in the league in scoring

There was a lot of talk about Brees and the Saints offense coming into the game, and they showed why that was the case with the way they threw the ball around for a good portion of Sunday's game.

Brees finished the game 37 of 48 for 367 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. It was the first time in the last 17 regular-season games that the Chiefs defense allowed a 300-yard passer.

But the Chiefs defense also held the Saints to just 21 total points, which is actually the second-lowest output they've had in their six games so far this season.

The key in the game was that the Chiefs defense forced two turnovers, and since 2013, the Chiefs are 23-4 in games they win the turnover battle.

8. Tyreek Hill is really, really fast

It was the kind of play we've seen from Hill going back to rookie minicamp last April, OTAs in June and then training camp in July, and the rest of Chiefs Kingdom just got to see it at Arrowhead Stadium when it mattered the most.

Rookie speedster and fifth-round pick Tyreek Hill burned the Saints for a 38-yard touchdown that can be considered the perfect example of Hill's speed translating to a big play for the offense.

The Chiefs lined up three receivers to the left with Hill on the far side running a go-route—the go-to route for a guy who can fly.

Smith threw it up and just let Hill go and run underneath it deep down the field, and that's exactly what Hill did as he seemed to turn it into another gear as the ball was in the air.

Hill tracked the ball well and even with some contact from the Saints defender, managed to haul it in for the third touchdown of his season.

Hill also took a couple of handoffs on jet sweeps that gained 23 yards for the offense, just giving Reid another fun option to game plan around each week.

9. The Chiefs offense answered the call, again

Despite having 19 fewer plays, the Chiefs offense as a whole stood tall with one of the NFL's most prolific offenses on Sunday—averaging 6.3 yards per play compared to the 6.5 of the Saints.

Those numbers were actually even heading into the last Chiefs offensive drive, which was more about taking time off the clock by running the ball than it was trying to move the ball down the field necessarily.

In the first half specifically, the Chiefs were averaging 7.8 yards per play.

Photos from the Chiefs Week 7 matchup against the Saints

10. Eric Berry's key tackle late in third quarter forces punt

It may be one of those plays that's only noticeable if you happen to go back and watch the game again, but one of the plays that should be noted in helping the Chiefs pull off this victory was a key tackle by Eric Berry late in the third quarter.

With the Saints at midfield and facing a third-and-7, Brees hit Willie Snead with a short pass to the left and Berry came flying down from his safety position and did what he does best—he delivered a forceful hit and stop the ball carrier in his tracks.

If not for that tackle, which forced Snead to go straight down and had him come up a yard short of the first down and forced the Saints to punt, who knows what could have happened? Those are often plays that are forgotten in games like we saw on Sunday.

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