The theme of sloppy play during Thursday night games continued, and this time during a matchup that was actually fairly highly anticipated. If any team was at a disadvantage, it surely seemed to be Kansas City, who not only had to travel during a short week but had to prepare for one of the league’s newest offensive schemes, but the opposite occurred, as the Eagles committed three turnovers in the first quarter, finishing with a minus-five ratio. After being down 10-0 early on, the Eagles responded with an 88-yard touchdown drive that took just three plays and lasted 1:16. The drive included a 61-yard run from Michael Vick, although he was surprisingly caught from behind. And his ensuing 22-yard TD pass to Jason Avant in which Vick was hit hard was even more impressive. Philadelphia unconventionally went for two down 10-6, which was interesting. I like outside the box thinking, but it didn’t work, so expect some criticism, despite it ultimately not mattering.
Vick, who committed three turnovers (including a pick-six), completed 43.3 percent of his passes and took five sacks. It was unquestionably a shaky effort, but let’s be clear, this Chiefs defense appears to be legit. They have now allowed just 5.8 YPA and only two touchdown passes over three games, ceding a 63.1 QB Rating. They also lead the NFL with 14 sacks, and while they have played one more game than 30 other teams, the next closest has nine. Two of their three games have been on the road, and Brandon Flowers played hobbled Thursday night (I get the frustration by Eagles fans any time an opposing defender falls to the ground in what may be an attempt to slow the fast-paced offense, but Flowers entered hurt, so his delays may very well have been warranted). Justin Houston had about as good of a defensive game as one can have, as he recorded 3.5 sacks (he now has 6.5 on the season), forced a fumble, recovered two others and defended three passes. Back to Vick, his stats would have been better if not for a couple of brutal drops by Riley Cooper, and he still ran for 95 yards. He should remain a top-fantasy QB moving forward (all signs point to his late game injury being minor), and his upcoming schedule (@Den, @NYG, @TB, Dal, NYG, @Oak, @GB, Was) suggests a ton of shootouts are in store.
With 13:40 left in the second quarter, Chip Kelly decided to accept a holding penalty, making a would-be 4th-and-3 a 3rd-and-13. KC then gained six yards on the following play, and the ensuing 51-yard FG was missed. I’m more about process than outcome, so I still think this was probably the wrong call (but not overly bad), but it worked out in the end…Brad Nessler called Knile Davis “Bryce Brown” at one point, and while they have the same number, I don’t think I’ve ever heard an announcer think a player from the opposing team was the ballcarrier…Meanwhile, the referee crew was without reproach, if only because they announced a fourth quarter penalty as such: “False start, everybody but the center”...The Chiefs hadn’t scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter in their last 10 games, while the Eagles have now lost eight straight home games. Kansas City is just the fifth team in NFL history to start 3-0 after losing 14+ games…The Eagles have been getting destroyed in time of possession, but this shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise given their strategy on offense (but this does raise the question of how badly it will affect an already shaky defense).
Donnie Avery had five catches for 103 yards at halftime, and he ultimately secured all seven of his targets for 141 yards, most of which came on third down. Despite the big game, he can be ignored in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues. As for Dwayne Bowe, who recorded just one catch for four yards on three targets, it’s safe to panic. Alex Smith has his plusses (the Chiefs are the first team since 1998 to have zero turnovers over their first three games), but he refuses to go downfield, so while Bowe will obviously have better days, his upside is limited given his skill set in his current situation. Smith is a huge upgrade at QB for KC, but not for reasons that will benefit Bowe…After some preseason buzz and a 56-yard, one-TD performance Week 1, Brent Celek needs to be downgraded big time moving forward, as he now has four catches on nine targets over three games.
Jamaal Charles is on pace to finish with 96 catches for 805 receiving yards, and while that may be unsustainable, his current 4.3 YPC is just as equally due to regress (in a good way). Charles is also being used at the goal line for a Chiefs team that is sporting a strong defense and has a favorable looking schedule. Only health will prevent him from finishing as a top-five fantasy asset…Speaking of top fantasy players, as someone who owns LeSean McCoy in multiple leagues, a wide range of emotions were experienced Thursday night. When McCoy slammed his helmet down after the injury and reportedly cried while getting carted to the X-Ray machine (after he walked off the field under his power, admittedly), I was just hoping it wasn’t season-ending (which would’ve led to more tears). So to see him not only return in the second half but to also look good while running for a 41-yard touchdown – it was quite a pleasant surprise (and he now has 10 days to recover). But this scare highlights just how important owning Bryce Brown is. He’s one of the three most important “handcuffs” right now. McCoy is on pace to finish with 2,741 yards this season, which would shatter the NFL record (2,509).