Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cover 7 | Monday

A daily NFL destination that provides in-depth analysis of football’s biggest stories. Each Monday, Mike Sando breaks down the six most impactful takeaways from the week.

Patrick Mahomes screamed. He threw down his helmet in anger. The Kansas City Chiefs’ MVP quarterback lost his composure on the sideline at Arrowhead Stadium to a degree unseen previously. He was apoplectic.

Never before could Mahomes recall losing a game on an officiating call like the one referee Carl Cheffers’ crew made to negate a go-ahead Chiefs touchdown. Mahomes had shrugged off a blatantly bad missed pass-interference call in Green Bay just one week ago, but offensive offside to wipe out a Travis Kelce improvised lateral TD in the final 90 seconds of a 20-17 home defeat to Buffalo? This was too much.

If any team was supposed to run hot and melt down in a narrow defeat with playoff seeding implications Sunday, the Sean McDermott-coached Bills were that team. Their week had bottomed out with “Saturday Night Live” parodying McDermott for citing the teamwork of 9/11 terrorists during a 2019 team meeting — one of several damaging revelations from the Go Long expose casting McDermott as an out-of-touch, unaccountable micromanager.

Since when do the Chiefs lose the way the Bills are supposed to fall short? Since now, is when. Because the margin for error has evaporated for Kansas City, complicating its push for another Super Bowl.

The Pick Six column sizes up where the Chiefs stand, why their margin for error is gone and what it could mean for the future, with a Dan Marino career parallel to keep in mind, even if it’s premature now. As for the penalty Mahomes and the Chiefs were so upset about, we’ll get to the bottom of that one as well, with insights aplenty from NFL contacts.

The full menu for Week 14:

  • Mahomes, Chiefs and Dan Marino
  • Offensive offside? Here’s the deal
  • Zach Wilson, Justin Fields audition
  • MVP update: Case for Tyreek Hill
  • On Packers’ 16-0 December record
  • Two-minute drills: Sam Howell’s future
  1. Here is where the Chiefs stand, why Dan Marino is relevant, thoughts on Travis Kelce and the new reality at wide receiver.
  2. Where the Chiefs stand: The chart below shows AFC teams’ week-to-week probability changes as they chase the top seed in the conference, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.
  3. Marino warning: Mahomes has played 11 postseason games at home, three at neutral sites (Super Bowls) and zero on the road.
  4. The Kelce question: From 2010 into 2015, Tom Brady’s touchdown rate was about twice as high when tight end Rob Gronkowski was on the field, compared to when Gronk was not playing.
  5. The receivers aren’t good enough: With the game on the line Sunday, the Chiefs pulled off an all-time great play. Mahomes threw downfield to Kelce for a 25-yard gain.

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