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This game started off on the wrong foot with a pre-game calf injury sidelining starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. before kickoff. Within minutes the Kansas City Chiefs lost their backup left tackle, Lucas Niang, to a knee injury. In spite of this situation, the offense put together one of their best performances to date. The defense’s inability to contain Ja’Marr Chase and the Bengals’ offense was a big part of their demise.

Final score: Bengals 34, Chiefs 31

AP Photo/David Dermer

Things went well for Kansas City in the first half, but they quickly started unraveling as the game went on. Once the drops and penalties started to come for the Chiefs it felt like a dam broke, and they were suddenly fighting themselves and a potent Bengals offense. Still, this one came down to the final minutes of the game, minutes where the defense might have been best served letting Cincinnati score and giving Patrick Mahomes a chance to march down the field and match.

Weekly awards

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

  • Chiefs Wire Game Ball: QB Patrick Mahomes

  • Harrison Butker Rookie of the Game: C Creed Humphrey

  • Casey Wiegmann Veteran of the Game: LT (LG) Joe Thuney

  • Jamaal Charles Offensive Player of the Game: RB Darrel Williams

  • Bobby Bell Defensive Player of the Game: DL Chris Jones

  • Morten Andersen Special Teams Player of the Game: K Harrison Butker

  • Otis Taylor Play of the Game: WR Mecole Hardman’s 53-yard reception.

  • Wesley Roesch Stat of the Game: 10 penalties for 83 yards on the Chiefs.

Quick-hitting observations and analysis

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  • A nightmare situation early on the offensive line seemed to work out just fine for Kansas City. With Orlando Brown Jr. and Lucas Niang sidelined by injury, the Chiefs didn’t miss a beat. Hats off to Joe Thuney, who came in at left tackle and just dominated the Bengals in the run game and the passing game. His performance there might warrant another look should Brown and Niang be forced to miss more time.

  • Nick Allegretti, who hasn’t played significant snaps in a game for Kansas City since Super Bowl LV, didn’t miss a beat coming in to play for Thuney at left guard. He was really at his best when asked to play the run game, moving defenders with relative ease.

  • Patrick Mahomes went “Super Saiyan” during the first half of this game today. Two touchdowns and over 200 passing yards in the first half, with more points left on the field due to drops and penalties? Yeah, he was operating at a high level in this one.

  • I like that the offense continued to share the ball, with a lot of different receivers getting touches during the game. For the second consecutive week, nine receivers caught passes from Mahomes.

  • The defense really struggled today, especially when it came to containing the talented receiving corps for the Bengals. I felt like Rashad Fenton, who’d been out on the Reserve/COVID-19 list was a little rusty in his return and it showed.

  • No one had a chance covering Ja’Marr Chase in this game. He was outstanding and Steve Spagnuolo did his defense a disservice by not devoting more attention to Chase in the second half.

  • One thing the defense did a good job of was getting pressure, it just didn’t help them unless they managed to get home against Joe Burrow. The Bengals’ QB was surgical when pressured, basically completing every pass or escaping on his legs.

  • Darrel Williams had one of the best performances of his Chiefs career on Sunday. He was seeing the field very well in the run game, with 107 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns and he caught every pass thrown his way. He’s starting to make a case to remain the lead back heading into the playoffs.

  • Complaining about the officiating is a loser’s anthem, but the officiating in this game was atrocious. Multiple missed false start penalties in key situations paired with a backup officiating crew is a questionable look for the NFL.

Up next:

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The regular-season finale takes place on the road for Kansas City. They’ll travel to Empower Field at Mile High Stadium for a game against the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs no longer control their own destiny in the AFC, they’ll need the Titans to lose to the Texans in Week 18 in order to move back into control of the No. 1 seed.