Chiefs, Bucs prepare for quarterback battle
Creating a system that NFL players want to be part of is an attribute worth noting about the Kansas City Chiefs.Claiming a Super Bowl championship last season helped create such an atmosphere.Locking in a generational quarterback to a 10-year deal worth a cool half-billion dollars required a substantial investment. Retaining other standout contributors also generates the kind of harmony that reflects positively on the organizational skills of general manager Brett Veach."We've built chemistry with bringing the same guys back, year-in and year-out, so we know where each other is on that football field," Patrick Mahomes said while looking ahead to a Sunday matchup pitting the Chiefs (9-1) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4) at Tampa, Fla.Complications, however, have surfaced in the Kansas City laboratory.Not within the offense, mind you. Mahomes is clicking along at the pace of an MVP candidate, while Travis Kelce ranks third among NFL receivers with 896 yards and could threaten the NFL's season yardage record by a tight end.Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill generated 100 yards receiving in each of the last two games when the Chiefs needed every inch. Their defense allowed 31 points on average in those wins, requiring Mahomes and Co. to outproduce Carolina and Las Vegas.While it has struggled in several areas defensively, Kansas City is particularly susceptible in the red zone, allowing touchdowns on 75.9 percent of those penetrations, the worst rate in the league."Mentally we're kind of upset because of these last two games we've had," said Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, "but I wouldn't say we're down."Good thing, considering the Chiefs will be facing a legendary quarterback capable of big heroics.For the Bucs, though, the focus seems to be more bent on finding ways for Tom Brady to reload.
Mahomes' magic: Late TD pass lifts Chiefs over Raiders
Patrick Mahomes passed for 348 yards and two touchdowns, including a 22-yarder to tight end Travis Kelce with 28 seconds left, as the visiting Kansas City Chiefs rallied for a 35-31 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night.It was the sixth time in his career that Mahomes, who completed 34 of 45 passes, led the Chiefs from behind in the fourth quarter or overtime for a victory.He had plenty of help as Kansas City (9-1) won its fifth straight game. Kelce caught eight passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill had a game-high 11 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 69 yards and two touchdown.Derek Carr completed 23 of 31 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, which came on a deep pass after the Chiefs' late touchdown. Josh Jacobs rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown for Las Vegas (6-4), which had a three-game winning streak snapped.The Raiders had taken a 31-28 lead with 1:43 to go on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Jason Witten, but Mahomes then drove the Chiefs 75 yards in seven plays -- all passes -- capped by his scrambling 22-yard TD pass to a wide-open Kelce in the middle of the end zone.Las Vegas scored on each of its first three possessions while building a 17-14 halftime lead.
Raiders reeling with COVID again while prepping for Chiefs
Something about Sunday Night Football seems to bring out the worst for the Las Vegas Raiders when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.The Raiders had their Oct. 25 prime time game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers shifted to the afternoon when offensive tackle Trent Brown came down with the virus and the entire starting offensive line was forced into quarantine until the morning of the game because of their high-risk contact with Brown.Tampa Bay cruised to a 45-20 victory.Now Las Vegas (6-3), winners of three in a row, finds itself in the midst of another COVID-19 outbreak heading into Sunday night's AFC West showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (8-1).Following a positive test by starting defensive end Clelin Ferrell on Tuesday, seven more Raiders defensive players were put on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday - safety Johnathan Abram, defensive tackles Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins and Kendal Vickers, defensive back Isaiah Johnson, defensive end Arden Key and practice squad defensive end David Irving.They join safety Lamarcus Joyner, previously identified as a close contact of Ferrell, Brown and linebacker Cory Littleton, who was placed on the list last week.Ferrell is likely out for Sunday night's game as is Brown, who isn't expected back until next week. But the other players will be eligible to play Sunday, as long as they continue to test negative.One big problem for Jon Gruden and company: Those players will be limited to virtual practices and meetings until then and won't be allowed on the practice field together. Not exactly the best way to get your defense prepared for reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes and company.Gruden bristled Wednesday during a conference call after the NFL Network reported that nearly his entire starting defense would be placed on the list."I don't know about the whole defense," Gruden said. "I'm not going to get into what list anybody is on. We practiced today, and we'll be ready for the game Sunday."Kansas City, despite coming off its bye, has its own COVID-19 issues with both starting offensive tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, as well as backup Martinas Rankin going on the COVID list earlier this week after being in close contact with someone who tested positive. All could play Sunday, barring a positive test result.
Chiefs DE Okafor designated for return from IR
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Alex Okafor has been designated for return from injured reserve, a day after returning to practice.The Chiefs have 21 days to activate Okafor to the 53-man roster.Okafor, 29, could play this week when the Chiefs (8-1) visit the Las Vegas Raiders (6-3) on Sunday night. The Chiefs' defensive line took a hit after Taco Charlton was lost for the season with a broken ankle.Okafor has battled hamstring issues twice this season and landed on IR after the Chiefs' Week 6 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Report: Chiefs to sign CB Baker to practice squad
The Kansas City Chiefs reportedly plan to sign former New York Giants cornerback Deandre Baker to their practice squad.NFL Network broke the news Tuesday night, one day after Florida prosecutors dropped robbery charges against the 2019 first-round draft pick.Baker, 23, started 15 of his 16 games as a rookie last season with New York, tallying 61 tackles, two tackles for loss and eight passes defensed.The Giants cut him in September following his offseason arrest for allegedly participating in an armed robbery at a house party in Miramar, Fla.On Monday, an attorney representing three of the four alleged victims in the case was arrested on extortion charges in Broward County, Fla. Investigators say William Dean wanted Baker to pay his clients $266,000 each and, in exchange, they would stop cooperating with police or change their initial sworn statements, according to the New York Daily News.
Chiefs extend deals of coach Reid, GM Veach
The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Monday that coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach have signed contract extensions with the club.Terms were not revealed, although The Athletic indicated Reid and Veach each received five-year extensions. Reid's current contract has two years remaining.Reid and Veach are being rewarded after building the team that won the Super Bowl last season with a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.Reid, 62, is in his eighth season with the Chiefs. He has an 85-36 regular-season mark and has led Kansas City to the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons."Over the last eight seasons here in Kansas City we've had the opportunity to witness one of the greatest head coaches of all-time lead our franchise to its first Super Bowl title in 50 years," Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt said in a news release. "He's a hall of fame head coach, but more importantly, an outstanding person who has really changed our team culture. I'd like to congratulate Andy and his family on this well-deserved extension. It is our hope that he can finish his legendary career right here in Kansas City."Veach is in his eighth season in the organization and fourth as general manager. At age 42, he became the second-youngest NFL general manager to win a Super Bowl."Brett has had a remarkable run as our general manager over the past four years, and he certainly deserves this recognition," Hunt said. "His creativity, along with personal connection to our players and staff, has helped build a championship roster. He has had an impressive start to his career as a GM, and I know he'll continue his aggressive approach that has consistently improved the talent of the Chiefs."Kansas City sports the second-best record (8-1) in the NFL this season. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-0) have a better mark.Reid ranks sixth on the all-time list in regular-season coaching victories. He stands at 215-129-1 in 22 seasons, the first 14 with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2012.
Chiefs DE Charlton (broken leg) heading to IR
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Taco Charlton is headed to injured reserve after sustaining a fractured lower leg in Sunday's 33-31 win against Carolina, according to head coach Andy Reid.Charlton appeared to injure his ankle early in the first quarter on the Panthers' opening drive. He is likely done for the season.The former first-round draft pick began the day with seven tackles, four quarterback hits, two sacks and a forced fumble in six games.
Mahomes (4 TDs) rallies Chiefs past Panthers
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 372 yards and four touchdowns Sunday as he rallied the Kansas City Chiefs past the plucky Carolina Panthers 33-31 at Kansas City, Mo.Tight end Travis Kelce came up huge for Kansas City (8-1), snagging 10 receptions for 159 yards as the Chiefs claimed their fourth straight win and remained entrenched in the AFC West lead.Sparked by the return All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, who missed the previous six games with an ankle injury, Carolina (3-6) produced touchdowns on its first two possessions and grabbed a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.The Chiefs didn't claim an advantage until the 4:42 mark of the third quarter as a 44-yard strike to Kelce keyed a 59-yard march after Carolina kicker Joey Slye missed a 51-yard field goal. Clyde Edwards-Helaire caught a four-yard TD pass from Mahomes for the 20-17 lead.Mahomes, who finished 30 of 45, connected with Tyreek Hill for fourth-quarter touchdowns of 28 and 2 yards. The second came with 7:40 left after an onside kick Carolina recovered failed to go the requisite 10 yards. Hill had nine catches for 113 yards.An airborne rush by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to convert on fourth-and-14 prolonged a drive Bridgewater capped with a 4-yard touchdown run to pull the Panthers within 26-24 with 10:22 remaining.He completed seven straight passes to lead Carolina to another TD on a 1-yard McCaffrey burst with 1:53 left to get within two, 33-31.After a quick stop, Carolina took over at its 9 with 1:26 left. The Panthers got to their 49 but a 67-yard field goal by Slye missed badly as time expired.
Chiefs WR Watkins (hamstring) out vs. Panthers
Kansas City wide receiver Sammy Watkins continues to be bothered by a hamstring injury and will miss his fourth straight game on Sunday, the Chiefs said.Watkins, 27, hasn't played since the team's Week 5 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. He returned to practice on Wednesday but had been listed as questionable.In five games this season, Watkins has 21 catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns. He has eight receiving scores in two-plus seasons with the Chiefs and 33 career receiving touchdowns in 81 games with the Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills.
Chiefs DT Jones removed from COVID-19 list
Kansas City Chiefs star defensive tackle Chris Jones was removed from the reserve-COVID-19 list on Friday and is expected to play in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.Jones was placed on the list after Thursday's practice due to close contact with a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. NFL Network reported Thursday that head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder was the person who tested positive.Chiefs coach Andy Reid declined to provide details on Friday but said Jones was cleared in accordance with the NFL's COVID-19 protocols.The Chiefs closed down their facility Thursday afternoon before reopening it on Friday.
Chiefs close facility after staffer tests positive for COVID-19
The Kansas City Chiefs closed their facility on Thursday afternoon after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced.The Chiefs were notified of the positive test on Thursday morning. The team said the staff member is in self-quarantine and that contract tracing is underway.Kansas City held practice on Thursday morning prior to closing the facility. The plan was to hold meetings virtually.It was unclear if the facility would reopen on Friday.
Panthers hope McCaffrey can be difference-maker at K.C.
Apparently, a long touchdown pass deserves a special celebration in Kansas City these days.Oh, quarterback Patrick Mahomes will tell you he was just having a little fun when he gave speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill a piggyback ride from paydirt. But those two had not connected on many deep balls before doing so twice last week as the Chiefs (7-1) ignited their passing attack in a rout of the visiting New York Jets.Kansas City will look for an encore Sunday in a home matchup against the Carolina Panthers (3-5)."What's so special about our locker room," Mahomes said, "is that no one's trying to ask for the ball, no one's saying, 'I need to get these catches or these run attempts.' Everybody wants to win and they understand that they're going to get a shot and when they do, they're going to capitalize on that opportunity."Granted, Mahomes happened to pick on the lowly Jets last week when spotting Hill for touchdown strikes of 36 and 41 yards. Mahomes fired for five TD passes in Kansas City's 35-9 victory. The former MVP is currently the only NFL quarterback to rank among the top three in passing yards, passing touchdowns and passer rating.The point Mahomes makes about selectivity when it comes to touches is supported by his ability to see the field and distribute passes to several targets. Hill is among three Chiefs who average more than 15 yards per catch.Tight end Travis Kelce has 48 receptions to lead a team that also made news for adding Le'Veon Bell to a rushing attack that features promising rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire."Honestly, Le'Veon came in and he just brought in a different pep," Edwards-Helaire said. "It's always just extra competition in the room. Once you get that extra person in the room, it kind of up-tempos the competition."Sometimes it seems as if the Chiefs need that competition among themselves considering they average 410.5 total yards (fourth in the NFL) and have a league-best plus-101 point differential. Execution has been solid, too. Kansas City's turnover margin (plus-9) ranks first in the NFL.The Panthers have lost three straight but could expect a boost Sunday from the return of All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, who missed the past six games due to a high ankle sprain.
Chiefs' Super Bowl odds shorten; Steelers vault to No. 2
The Baltimore Ravens' second loss of the season had a significant impact on Super Bowl odds across sportsbooks.The Kansas City Chiefs' odds shortened a bit at most sportsbooks, with the defending champions being offered at +350 by BetMGM and PointsBet, down from +400 from last week.The Pittsburgh Steelers are now the second betting favorite at +600 at BetMGM and +550 at PointsBet. The Steelers remain the lone undefeated team in the NFL after coming from behind to beat the Ravens on Sunday.The Chiefs are being offered at +160 to win the AFC Championship by BetMGM, followed by the Steelers (+300) and Ravens (+500).Baltimore's Super Bowl odds have lengthened to +1000 by BetMGM and +900 by PointsBet. Virtual co-favorites with the Chiefs by many sportsbooks early this season, the Ravens are now also behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650) and the Seattle Seahawks (+800) at both books.Tampa Bay is the +260 favorite to win the NFC Championship by BetMGM, followed by the Seahawks (+340), New Orleans Saints (+600) and Green Bay Packers (+600).The New York Jets remain the league's lone winless team at 0-7, with PointsBet setting their over (-130)/under (+110) win total at 1.5. BetMGM is offering the Jets at +250 to go 0-16, while the book is offering the Steelers at +1100 to finish the regular season undefeated and +2000 to go 19-0 with a Super Bowl title.Super Bowl LV odds (PointsBet)Kansas City Chiefs: +350Pittsburgh Steelers: +550Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +650Seattle Seahawks: +800Baltimore Ravens: +900Green Bay Packers: +1400New Orleans Saints: +1400Buffalo Bills: +2200Arizona Cardinals: +2500Indianapolis Colts: +2500Tennessee Titans: +2500Los Angeles Rams: +3300Philadelphia Eagles: +4000San Francisco 49ers: +4000Las Vegas Raiders: +5000Chicago Bears: +6000Cleveland Browns: +6000Miami Dolphins: +6600Detroit Lions: +10000
Mahomes, Chiefs blast Jets, 35-9
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 416 yards, going 31 of 42 with five touchdowns Sunday, as the Kansas City Chiefs blasted the New York Jets, 35-9, at Kansas City, Mo.The outcome enabled Chiefs coach Andy Reid to notch his 229th career victory, tying legendary Green Bay coach Curly Lambeau for fifth on the all-time NFL list.After failing to score in the red zone midway through the third quarter, Mahomes atoned for that breakdown by completing passes on all six plays of an 83-yard scoring march. He connected on a 26-yard touchdown to Demarcus Robinson for a 28-9 lead.Tight end Travis Kelce caught eight passes for 109 yards, while Tyreek Hill snagged touchdown strikes of 36 and 41 yards, the second sealing the win early in the fourth quarter.Playing his second game since he was released by the Jets and acquired by the Chiefs, two-time All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell had six touches for 38 yards. Still, Kansas City managed 496 yards, 25 first downs and a 7.4-yard average per snap.The Jets (0-8) saw their string of quarters without a touchdown extended to six while remaining the only winless NFL team. They generated just 221 total yards.New York trailed by 12 at halftime and then went three-and-out on its first three series of the second half before losing a fumble late in the third quarter. Quarterback Sam Darnold finished 18 of 30 passing for 133 yards.Mahomes completed his first seven attempts and fired three first-half touchdowns to help Kansas City establish a 21-9 halftime lead.
Chiefs' latest weapon rings a Bell for visiting Jets
Few juicy storylines generally arise before a meeting between two teams going in completely opposite directions.However, the Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) happened to pick up a player of note, two-time All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell, after his release earlier this season from the New York Jets (0-7).So, there is that particular nugget in what would be considered a likely mismatch Sunday in Kansas City, Mo.How the Chiefs deploy Bell is a work in progress since touches will also go to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, an impressive rookie drafted in the first round."They've both got the dual-threat thunder and lightning package," said Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. "It's just the ultimate weather storm out there."Bell carried six times for 39 yards last week in a 43-16 romp over Denver, while Edwards-Helaire logged eight attempts. Touches were limited for the Chiefs because snap counts got skewed by two touchdown returns, which diminished their offensive reliance."The offense fits (Bell). I mean, he can see his talents and what he does best show up in this offense. He could see it before he got here and then he had a chance to show it (at Denver)," said Andy Reid, who is seeking his 229th NFL coaching victory, which would move the Kansas City coach into a fifth-place tie with Curly Lambeau.Most assume Reid can make that next move up the win chart by leading his team past the woeful Jets, though he has issued the requisite warning to his team about how "this league has been all about parity."The message, as usual, has been absorbed by Patrick Mahomes, despite the quarterback's seemingly superhuman powers."People understand that in this league you can't overlook anybody," said Mahomes, who has thrown just one interception in 242 attempts this season. "If you watch the tape and don't look at the record, you understand that this is a good football team."Numbers suggest otherwise.
Chiefs roll to convincing win over Broncos
Patrick Mahomes was 15-for-23 passing for 200 yards and a score, Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for a touchdown, and the visiting Kansas City Chiefs trounced the Denver Broncos 43-16 on Sunday.Byron Pringle returned a kick for a touchdown, Daniel Sorensen returned an interception for another score, Tyreek Hill had six catches for 55 yards and a TD and backup quarterback Chad Henne ran for another for Kansas City, which has won 10 straight against Denver.Running back Le'Veon Bell, signed 10 days earlier, made his Chiefs' debut with 39 yards rushing on six carries.Drew Lock threw for 254 yards on 24-of-40 passing and two interceptions and also ran for a touchdown, and Melvin Gordon III rushed for 68 yards and another score but fumbled twice for the Broncos (2-4).Denver running back Phillip Lindsay rushed for 79 yards on nine carries before leaving late in the first half with a concussion suffered when he was tackled by Sorensen.Edwards-Helaire, who rushed for 46 yards, got the Chiefs (6-1) rolling with a tackle-breaking, 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to put Kansas City ahead 7-0. The Broncos got even after recovering a fumble at the Chiefs' 37-yard line, with Lock running it in from the 2 four plays later.
Chiefs hope to make it 10 straight over rival Broncos
Peyton Manning owned the Kansas City Chiefs in his four years with the Denver Broncos. The quarterback beat the AFC West Division rivals in their first seven meetings, and it wasn't until Manning was hurt did Kansas City finally beat the Broncos with Manning on the team.How the tables have turned.Since Manning left, and Patrick Mahomes has become the Kansas City quarterback, the Broncos haven't gotten a win in the rivalry. The Chiefs have won nine straight against Denver, the last four with Mahomes under center.There is some fuel for the resurgent Broncos heading into Sunday's matchup in Denver.Kansas City (5-1), after a brief stumble against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5, is rolling again in its first season in 50 years as defending Super Bowl champs.The already formidable Chiefs have added more firepower with the signing of running back Le'Veon Bell on Oct. 15, two days after he was cut by the New York Jets.Bell, who spent one-plus season with New York, is happy to be playing for a contender again and is willing to take on a supporting role after being the featured back in Pittsburgh for five seasons and in 17 games with New York."When I decided to come here, I already knew the weapons, and there's only one football to kind of go around," Bell said Wednesday before his first practice with his new team. "I think there's going to be a lot of opportunity to kind of show what I can do in space, running routes. I think this offense is a good fit for my skill set."Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is coming off his second 100-yard rushing game and ranks second in the NFL with 505 yards in six games. He hasn't been featured much in the passing game, a role in which Bell excels.Coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday he would see how Bell did in practice during the week before deciding if he will play against Denver.Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) missed Monday's win at Buffalo and didn't practice Wednesday. Neither did defensive ends Taco Charlton (knee) and Alex Okafor (hamstring) and offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz (back).
Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs run past Bills
Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for 161 yards on 26 carries Monday as the Kansas City Chiefs toppled the Buffalo Bills 26-17 at soggy Orchard Park, N.Y.The 100-yard game was the second for the first-round pick from LSU and came after the Chiefs (5-1) signed Le'Veon Bell following his release from the New York Jets. Bell, a two-time All-Pro running back, did not play while following COVID-19 protocol after reporting to the Chiefs last week.The contested was played in a steady rain, prompting Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes to pick his spots in the passing game. He finished 21 of 26 for 225 yards with two touchdowns, both to tight end Travis Kelce, as the Chiefs converted 9 of 14 third downs.Down 10-7, the Chiefs scored 16 unanswered points before quarterback Josh Allen finally triggered the Buffalo passing game. Allen went 5-for-5 on a drive he capped by hitting Cole Beasley for an 8-yard score to slice the gap to 23-17 with 6:34 left.Kansas City, however, used four-plus minutes to put Harrison Butker in position for a game-clinching 30-yard field goal with 1:56 left. The Chiefs logged 30 second-half rushes and 46 carries overall, the most for a team coached by Andy Reid.Allen, who came in averaging 317.8 yards passing, finished 14 of 27 for 122 yards and two touchdowns, but he had his last attempt intercepted by Daniel Sorensen. The Bills (4-2) added just 84 yards rushing while losing their second straight.
Report: Injury guarantee helped spur Jets' release of Bell
A hefty injury guarantee for 2021 helped to spur the New York Jets to release running back Le'Veon Bell, ESPN reported Sunday.Bell's contract carried an $8 million guarantee for 2021, adding to the buyer's remorse the team had over signing him to a four-year, $52.5 million deal as a free agent in March 2019.Rather than take the risk, the Jets decided to release him. The Kansas City Chiefs signed Bell to a one-year deal on Thursday.Bell, 28, was a two-time All-Pro while spending 2013-17 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, for whom he had three 1,200-plus-yard rushing seasons. He sat out the 2018 season in a salary dispute.
Chiefs rule out WR Watkins vs. Bills; put G Osemele on IR
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins and left guard Kelechi Osemele have been ruled out for Monday's game against the host Buffalo Bills.Watkins, 27, is nursing a hamstring injury while Osemele tore tendons in both knees during Sunday's 40-32 loss against the Las Vegas Raiders. Osemele was placed on injured reserve, the team announced Saturday.In five games this season, Watkins has 21 catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns. He has eight receiving scores in two-plus seasons with the Chiefs and 33 career receiving touchdowns in 81 games with the Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and Bills.Osemele, 31, started all five games this season and has made 101 career starts in nine seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, the then-Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and Kansas City.Mike Remmers, a veteran who made 14 starts for the New York Giants last season, replaced Osemele in last week's game versus the Raiders.