3 Takeaways from Chiefs' Week 6 Win
If the Kansas City Chiefs had lost Sunday afternoon, it would have been their fourth defeat in six games to open the 2021 season. That may have been a start too slow to overcome, which is why it was a crucial matchup for them at Washington.
After some early struggles, the Chiefs got going and rolled to a 31-13 win over Washington at FedEx Field. Kansas City outscored Washington 21-0 in the second half, overcoming a three-point halftime deficit to improve to 3-3.
The Chiefs are now only one game back of both the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders in the AFC West and are even with the Denver Broncos. It should be a competitive division, and Kansas City is firmly in the mix.
Here are three takeaways from the Chiefs' Week 6 win.
Mahomes Overcomes More Uncharacteristic Mistakes
Patrick Mahomes hasn't quite looked like himself early in the season. He threw a pair of first-half interceptions Sunday, marking the seventh and eighth times he's been picked off over the past five games. The Chiefs quarterback threw only 11 interceptions in 29 games over the 2019 and 2020 seasons combined.
However, Mahomes' Kansas City teammates encouraged him to maintain his risk-taking style of play, even when the Chiefs trailed 13-10 after two quarters.
"I kept throwing across my body and doing a lot of different type of stuff because I know those guys believe in me, and I'm going to keep being that and keep fighting to the end," Mahomes said, per Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press.
It worked out well. Mahomes put the Chiefs ahead with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill with a little more than four minutes to go in the third quarter. He also sealed the victory with a 24-yard touchdown strike to Demarcus Robinson with 3:14 remaining in the fourth.
Kansas City's offensive success depends heavily on Mahomes, which is why it ended up with 499 total yards, 397 of which came via the QB's 32 passing completions. Even during his up-and-down start, he's thrown multiple touchdown passes every game and has kept the Chiefs offense moving. He just needs to make fewer mistakes moving forward.
Chiefs Lean on Williams in Edwards-Helaire's Absence
Despite not having starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (knee) in their backfield, the Chiefs relied on the running game more than they had been. Fill-in starter Darrel Williams had 21 carries Sunday, while Edwards-Helaire didn't have more than 17 attempts in any of Kansas City's first five games.
While Williams averaged only three yards per carry, he finished with 89 total yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns, marking his first multi-TD game since Week 4 of the 2019 season. He scored from 2 yards out in the first quarter and from 3 yards out in the fourth, playing a key role in the Chiefs' red-zone offense.
"I'm proud of him," Kansas City head coach Andy Reid said, per Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star. "He's been like the utility guy that comes in and always had some good games for us over the years, but it was nice for him to have that spot and go get it like he did."
With Edwards-Helaire on injured reserve, Williams will get at least two more opportunities to be the Chiefs' No. 1 running back. He showed that he can be leaned on in these types of games, so perhaps Kansas City will continue to give him plenty of touches in the near future.
If that's the case, it adds another dimension to the Chiefs offense and should help the unit excel.
Defense Shows Great Improvement After Tough Start
Through the first five weeks of the season, the Chiefs hadn't held an opponent under 29 points. They struggled defensively, especially at stopping the pass, which was a big reason for the team's three defeats.
Kansas City showed defensive improvement against Washington, especially in the second half. The Chiefs didn't allow any points over the final 31:18. They held Washington to 276 total yards, including only 182 through the air. Kansas City also forced a pair of turnovers, helping to offset the three committed by its offense.
"The guys put their mind to it and beared down. Kind of: 'Enough's enough,'" Reid said, per Howard Fendrich of the Associated Press. "There's a point where you have to do that."
The Chiefs defense is going to be tested in the coming weeks, with challenging matchups against the Tennessee Titans (Week 7), Green Bay Packers (Week 9) and Dallas Cowboys (Week 11) on the horizon. If Kansas City can't start building momentum, more high-scoring shootouts could be on the way.
However, there's also a chance that Sunday's showing was the start of more positives to come, which could help the Chiefs ascend the AFC West standings.