3 Takeaways from Chiefs' Week 8 Win
The Kansas City Chiefs moved back to .500 with a critical win over the New York Giants on Monday night. While the Giants aren't a conference opponent or even a realistic Super Bowl threat, dropping this game would have been disastrous for Kansas City's postseason chances.
Even with the win, the 4-4 Chiefs find themselves tied for last place in the AFC West. A loss would have left them alone in the division basement.
While getting the win is big for Kansas City, it wasn't a pretty victory. The defense played one of its best games of the season, but Patrick Mahomes and the offense continue to look out of sync. They struggled to outpace the 2-6 Giants, which is not what one would expect from the defending AFC champions.
To put it bluntly, the Chiefs aren't looking or playing like a Super Bowl team right now. Here are three other takeaways from Monday night's 20-17 win over New York.
The Chiefs Have a Turnover Problem
OK, so this isn't exactly a revelation. The Chiefs have had turnover issues all season. However, it was at the forefront of a sloppy game before a national audience against a foe Kansas City should have easily handled.
Mahomes threw his 10th interception of the season, while tight end Travis Kelce lost a fumble in New York territory.
Kansas City's offensive issues go beyond the turnovers. The team regularly tries to force the big play, it won't commit to the run, and the result is an offense that just doesn't scare opponents like Chiefs offenses of years past. On Monday, the Chiefs averaged just 4.8 yards per play, while New York averaged 5.4.
The fact remains, however, that it's hard to win consistently in the NFL when you're constantly turning the ball over—and Kansas City is doing just that. It has 19 turnovers on the season, while Mahomes has thrown an interception in seven straight games.
It May Be Time to Pull Daniel Sorensen from the Lineup Entirely
Safety Daniel Sorensen started the first five games of the season but was eventually replaced by Juan Thornhill—though defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo insisted at the time that Kansas City's defensive struggles weren't all on Sorensen.
"To focus on one person, I don't think is fair," Spagnuolo said, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
Unfortunately, Sorensen continues to be a weak link in the secondary, even in a diminished role. He played 45 percent of the defensive snaps on Monday and was still repeatedly targeted by Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
On one play, he interfered with Giants receiver John Ross and still gave up a 50-yard completion.
Blaming one player for a team's bad defense is indeed unfair. However, it's also true that Sorensen has repeatedly given up huge plays with little resistance. On the year, he has successfully defended one pass while surrendering 18 receptions, 295 yards and an opposing passer rating of 149.1.
It won't be a shock to see Kansas City target safety help ahead of Tuesday afternoon's trade deadline.
Kansas City May Have Something in Derrick Gore
It wasn't all bad for the Chiefs on Monday night, they did get the win after all. One surprising bright spot was the emergence of running back Derrick Gore.
Gore, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2019, saw his first NFL action with the Chiefs in Week 6. He saw his first carry against the Giants and finished with 11 of them for 48 yards and a touchdown.
The Chiefs activated Gore from the practice squad after placing Clyde Edwards-Helaire on injured reserve with an MCL sprain. Kansas City has largely relied on Darrel Williams at running back since then, but Gore showed on Monday that he deserves more opportunities as a ball-carrier.
Gore showed good vision and power at the point of attack and was one of the few real bright spots offensively. While it was a small sample size Gore ran more efficiently than Williams, who has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry on the season.
Kansas City doesn't run often—it ranks 21st in rushing attempts—but Gore deserves a significant workload for as long as Edwards-Helaire remains sidelined.
*Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.