Monday’s NFL: Chiefs are on cruise control in AFC
Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs had just scored their second touchdown in less than 10 seconds of game time, an interception that Ron Parker returned untouched for a score, and taken a 38-7 lead over the Cincinnati Bengals with nearly an entire quarter to go.
Talk about being able to put a game on cruise control.
The Chiefs didn’t exactly sub out their entire first string down the stretch, leaving quarterback Patrick Mahomes and most of the regulars in the game. But they were able to rest easy over the final 10 minutes as they improved to an AFC-best 6-1 and kept their stranglehold on their own division.
“Week-in, week-out, we’ve just been preaching playing consistent, playing a full 60 minutes,” Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller said. “We’ve been putting good film out there.”
Now it’s up to the rest of the league to break it down.
The only team that’s managed to hang with the Chiefs this season was New England, and even Tom Brady and Co. had their hands full at home. If not for a crucial drive that set up Stephen Gostkowski’s winning field goal, the Chiefs might have been able to win that one, too.
Making the first stretch of the season even more impressive? The Chiefs have weathered probably the toughest stretch of games they’ll have all season and come out shining like a diamond.
They beat the Chargers on the road to open the season, and Los Angeles has only lost once since that defeat.
Pittsburgh has two losses and one of those was to the Chiefs. The Jaguars and Broncos would be at .500 if not for their losses to Kansas City, and the Bengals rolled into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night with plenty of optimism and headed home after a 45-10 blitzing.
Take out games against the Chiefs, their first seven opponents are a combined 23-17-1.
The next nine games include a pair of games against Oakland, which is 1-5, and a home game against Arizona, which is 1-6. Throw in games against struggling Denver at Arrowhead Stadium and trips to Seattle and Cleveland and the Chiefs fully intend to keep hold of the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
(At) Atlanta 23, N.Y. Giants 20: Matt Ryan threw for 379 yards, completing his final 18 passes to lead theFalcons to their second straight victory over the struggling Giants.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Ryan said. “That’s the mindset we have every week.”
Ryan threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Hall, Tevin Coleman broke loose on a 30-yard scoring run and the Falcons added another chapter to New York’s miserable season, sending the Giants (1-6) to their fourth straight loss.
Ryan was the league’s MVP in 2016 when he led Atlanta to the Super Bowl. While these Falcons (3-4) haven’t played to that level, their quarterback is putting up numbers that measure up to what he did two years ago: a 71.1 percent completion rate, 2,335 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
It was also a big night for Giorgio Tavecchio, who was signed during the week to fill in for injured Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant. The native of Milan, Italy, made all three of his field goal attempts, including a 56-yarder that was the longest of his career and helped seal the victory.
Facing one of the NFL’s worst defenses, New York botched its best scoring chance by going for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1 early in the third quarter. To the surprise of no one who has seen the Giants stumble through the season, Eli Manning’s pass for tight end Scott Simonson fell harmlessly to the turf.
Manning was sacked four times but still managed to complete 27 of 38 passes for 399 yards. Beckham hauled in eight passes for 143 yards, pushing him past 5,000 yards in his career, and Sterling Shepard finished with 167 yards on five receptions.
The Cowboys traded a first-round pick for Raiders receiver Amari Cooper.
... Dolphins coach Adam Gase says wide receiver Albert Wilson’s hip injury is likely season-ending, although a visit to a specialist is planned before a determination is made.
... Bills coach Sean McDermott said rookie quarterback Josh Allen will miss his second game due to a sprained elbow and newcomer Derek Anderson will start against the Patriots next Monday.
... Embattled first-year coach Steve Wilks emphatically said the Cardinals are not going to trade star cornerback Patrick Peterson.