The Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 9 win over the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany was an instant classic that is sure to be revisited by fans as the defending Super Bowl champions look to bring home another title later in the season.
Though Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense struggled in the second half, their performance through the game’s first two quarters was admirable, and Kansas City’s defense played one of its best games of the season.
Several Chiefs stood out as top performers in the game, and as Kansas City enters its bye week ahead of its Super Bowl LVII rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11, the team seems primed for something special in the back half of its 2023 campaign.
There remains room for improvement on both sides of the ball, but after securing a gritty win against Miami, arguably the AFC’s best team, the sky is the limit for the Chiefs.
Check out which players earned stud status for Kansas City in Week 9:
DB Bryan Cook
Pacheco was held scoreless in this game but was a consistent threat for the Chiefs’ offense in the ground game. He led Kansas City in rushing with 66 yards on 16 carries and proved that he can be a capable contributor when Andy Reid calls his number more than a handful of times per game.
The touchdown that resulted from McDuffie’s forced fumble against Tyreek Hill in the second quarter may end up being the play of the year, and the second-year defensive back played an outstanding game all around. Without him, the Chiefs’ defense likely would have surrendered more points than Kansas City’s offense could match against Miami.
QB Patrick Mahomes
LB Willie Gay Jr.
Willie Gay was Pro Football Focus’ top-graded Chief in Week 9 and played with a ferocity that got fans’ blood flowing early on Sunday morning. He didn’t register a sack or force a turnover, but his fundamentally sound play helped keep Kansas City’s defense on top against Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins.
TE Noah Gray
Gray quietly led Kansas City in receiving, and while 34 yards may not seem like much in most games, his contributions were critical to Patrick Mahomes’ success. Expect Gray to continue getting looks when Travis Kelce is on the sideline after his rock-solid effort against Miami.
Watson registered a sack in this game and seemed to be all over the field when his number was called. Though he has been overshadowed by Trent McDuffie in Kansas City’s secondary, Watson proved he is still a valuable asset for the Chiefs in Week 9, and figures to play a key role for the team’s defense moving forward.
McKinnon’s touchdown reception against Miami was one of the plays that won Kansas City the game in Week 9. Without his presence in the passing game, Mahomes would struggle to find consistent outlets out of the backfield and may have been forced to make some less-than-ideal decisions in the pocket.
LB Leo Chenal
Chenal showed his pass-rushing prowess in this game, sacking Tua Tagovailoa and recording six combined tackles against the Dolphins. With Nick Bolton out, Kansas City needed its depth linebackers to step up, and Chenal proved that he was up to the task in Week 9.
WR Rashee Rice
Fans wanted Rice to get more involved in this game, but his touchdown catch in the first quarter necessitated his inclusion on this list. Despite only catching two passes, his early score helped give the Chiefs momentum against the Dolphins and was ultimately a deciding factor in the game’s final outcome.