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Mahomes’ replacement, Matt Moore, a stranger of sorts to Chiefs – Kansas City Chiefs Blog



DENVER — Travis Kelce didn’t have to introduce himself in a literal sense to quarterback Matt Moore, his teammate of less than two months, during Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos.

But in a football sense, the two were strangers, and Kelce wasn’t alone among his Kansas City Chiefs teammates.

“I’m pretty sure three or four of the guys out there on the field had never caught a ball by Matt, even in practice,” Kelce said. “I know I hadn’t. It was just going out there and playing within the rules of the offense and trusting the guy to be able to put the ball somewhere.”

The Chiefs played something more than backyard football after the veteran Moore replaced the injured Patrick Mahomes in the second quarter of their 30-6 win over the Broncos. Moore completed 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill during which the two looked well-acquainted.

Hill may have been the only Chiefs receiver to be familiar with Moore, their bond coming on the scout team at practice recently as Hill was preparing to return from his injury.

“I had a chance to go against the defense and he was the quarterback,” Hill said. “We [were] out there drawing up plays. I was [Houston’s] Will Fuller, he was Deshaun Watson. Me and him, we kind of got a connection going.”

But to Kelce’s point, the offense was largely basic once Moore replaced Mahomes. That was partly by choice — the Chiefs moved to a 20-6 lead shortly after Moore entered the game — and partly by necessity.

That’s why things should be more refined for Moore if he has to be the Chiefs’ starter for an extended period of time. Sources have told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Mahomes could return in three weeks, if not sooner. The Chiefs have 10 days between Thursday’s game against the Broncos and Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) and Moore will have the benefit of some practice time with the starters. The Chiefs could design their game plan around his abilities rather than those of Mahomes.

Moore didn’t even have the benefit of a training camp or a preseason with the Chiefs. He arrived in late August after the Chiefs lost their other veteran backup quarterback, Chad Henne, to a broken ankle. Moore was out of football last season, and hadn’t played in a game since 2017.

“He’s got ice water in the veins,” coach Andy Reid said when asked what he learned about Moore against the Broncos. “He doesn’t flinch. There’s no panic. He says, ‘I’m good. Just call [the play] and let’s roll.’

“We need to just get a little of that rust [off]. We’re good whatever direction this thing goes.”

The 35-year-old Moore was preparing for life after a playing career earlier this year. He worked for a time in the Miami Dolphins‘ scouting department and was helping to coach his former high school football team in California when the Chiefs called.

Moore had 10 NFL seasons before joining the Chiefs with 49 games, 30 starts and a 15-15 record for the Dolphins and Carolina Panthers. His previous game happened on Nov. 26, 2017 when he threw for 215 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Dolphins in a 35-17 loss to the New England Patriots.

“I’ve played in this league before,” he said. “Just like everybody I’ve had my ups and downs. … It’s been a wild half a year or whatever. You’ve just got to move forward and go.”

He put his experience to use and figured some things out on Thursday night. He knew of Hill’s speed — he told himself not to leave the throw short on the touchdown pass — and made a nice throw by lofting the ball over a defender who was in the passing lane.

But like many of his teammates he was largely guessing.

“There were a couple of times when he was working back in,” Moore said of his practice connections with Hill. “There were a couple throws in practice. Not many.”

Moore had the luxury of playing with a comfortable lead for much of the game. The Chiefs were inside the Denver 5 when he entered the game. He ran three plays and the Chiefs kicked a field goal.

The defense scored on the next Denver possession by recovering a fumble for a touchdown.

He figures to be under more pressure against the Packers, but at least Moore has some momentum.

“Matty came in full of energy and ready to rock and roll,” Kelce said. “Matty Moore [is] 1-0.”

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Week 10 fantasy football highs and lows



Week 10 of the fantasy football season featured plenty of notable performances. What should we make of them? Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft are here with analysis on the biggest performers — and duds — of the week.

Patrick Mahomes continues historic pace

In his return from a knee injury, Mahomes scored 29.8 fantasy points on Sunday behind his third career 400-yard and 15th career three-touchdown passing game, numbers that look all the more impressive if you consider that the opposing Titans entered the day affording opposing quarterbacks only 15.2 fantasy points per game. With that score, Mahomes now has 606.6 points through the first 25 career NFL starts, easily shattering Deshaun Watson‘s former mark of 564.3 for the most by any quarterback in history through that many starts. Remarkably, Mahomes was started in only 57.1% of ESPN leagues in Week 10, sixth-highest among quarterbacks. — Cockcroft

I’ll jump in here, too, on Mahomes. The Titans were down starting cornerback Malcom Butler, but this is still a pretty good defense in Tennessee. And Mahomes lit that group up. If you had any concerns about Mahomes’ movement skills or his ability to sling the ball around after his knee injury, his numbers today should’ve answered those. Mahomes completed 36-of-50 passes for 446 yards with three touchdowns. And I didn’t see any limitations to his game. He can still make those ridiculous second-reaction throws. — Bowen

Will Kareem Hunt eat into Nick Chubb‘s production?

In his Browns debut on Sunday, Hunt played 38-of-66 (58%) of the team’s offensive snaps and scored 14.4 PPR fantasy points, 0.3 more than Chubb. Despite that, Chubb’s performance shouldn’t warrant any worry amongst his fantasy managers. He played 53-of-66 (80%) offensive snaps, amassed 20 of the team’s 26 rushing attempts and was targeted four times, with those numbers falling right in line with his seasonal per-game rates (including Sunday) of 75% of the offensive snaps played, 19.3 rushing attempts and 4.0 targets.

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Week 10 NFL takeaways – What to make of the Saints’ and Chiefs’ upset losses



The Saints lost by 17 points to the Falcons. And even with Patrick Mahomes back under center, the Chiefs couldn’t outlast the Titans. The Jets got by the Giants in a Battle of New York, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson piled on offense against an overmatched Cincinnati team and the Browns held off the Bills for their third win.

In the afternoon, Miami upset Indianapolis, and Green Bay made a late stand to beat Carolina in the snow.

All that and more in Week 10’s biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.

Jump to a matchup:

The Titans rediscovered the importance of using Derrick Henry as the focal point of the offense. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s decision to stick to the run despite being down by nine points to Kansas City in the fourth quarter paid off. Henry finished with 23 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Tennessee’s win keeps it in the playoff mix and allows the team to get healthy during the bye week. — Turron Davenport

Next game: vs. Jacksonville (4:05 p.m. ET, Nov. 24)

Even with Patrick Mahomes back in the lineup and on top of his game, the Chiefs won’t be able to outscore every opponents. If they don’t clean up their sloppiness on special teams and improve on defending the run, they won’t win the AFC West title for the fourth consecutive season. The Chiefs can be get caught by the 5-4 Raiders, who are a half-game behind and come to Arrowhead Stadium in Week 13. — Adam Teicher

Next game: at L.A. Chargers (8:15 p.m. ET, Nov. 18)

The Falcons, who had a league-low seven sacks coming into Sunday, generated consistent pressure against Drew Brees with six sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett led the way with 2.5 sacks and five QB hits. The coverage and communication from the defensive backs was solid, and the rushers up front took care of the rest. If the Falcons can rush with such consistency next week at Carolina and the rest of the season, they could be in every game, especially if the offense continues with long scoring drives. — Vaughn McClure

Next game: at Carolina (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

New Orleans needs to figure out how to start faster. The Saints’ stunning loss at home to the Falcons feels like a bit of a one-off, since they won the six previous games. But Brees agreed afterward the Saints do need to be concerned about their uncharacteristic trend of slow starts on offense this season. They have scored a total of 25 first-quarter points in nine games. They need to start setting the tone more in a critical month with three more division games coming up, starting next week at Tampa Bay. — Mike Triplett

Next game: at Tampa Bay (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Bears coach Matt Nagy refuses to change. He opened the doors to Club Dub, the Bears postgame locker room dance party, after Sunday’s victory over Detroit, even though the team had lost four straight coming in and is 4-5 on the year. “I never considered not doing it,” Nagy said. “It’s who we are.” He recalled one year in Kansas City when the Chiefs were 1-5 and found a way to make the playoffs. “I keep reminding myself of that,” Nagy said. The Bears face long odds, but there is no quit in the second-year head coach. — Jeff Dickerson

Next game: at L.A. Rams (8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Life without Matthew Stafford, as expected, was not kind to the Lions. While the stats might appear better than one would think in Jeff Driskel‘s first start with Detroit, the reality is it was a much different offense without Stafford playing for the first time since the start of the 2011 season. It will be a long season for Detroit, who is now close to needing to win out to reach the postseason, if Stafford can’t return soon. — Michael Rothstein

Next game: vs. Dallas (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Bucs finally found a way to finish. After the Buccaneers surrendered an eight-point lead to the Seahawks last week — their fifth blown lead of the season — and having their secondary called out by coach Bruce Arians for a “disappointing” year, cornerback Jamel Dean made a touchdown-saving interception late in the fourth quarter. “I’m just really elated that we finished,” said quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw two interceptions but delivered three touchdown drives. “That was a really, really ugly win. That was an ugly win. But we found a way to do it.” Arians added, “I can’t be happier for anybody than Jamel Dean. He [won] the game. Last week he [was] the goat. He’s gonna be a hell of a player.” — Jenna Laine

Next game: vs. New Orleans (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)



Ronald Jones II, O.J. Howard and Peyton Barber all fine the end zone for the Buccaneers in a 30-27 win over the Cardinals.

The Cardinals blew an opportunity to inch closer to .500. Arizona’s offense looked impressive at times, with Kyler Murray setting a new mark for consecutive passes by rookie without an interception (211), per the Elias Sports Bureau. However, too many mistakes — including a pick by Murray late in fourth quarter — cost Arizona a win. After the demoralizing loss, the Cardinals now have to gear up to travel to San Francisco for their fourth road game in five weeks. — Josh Weinfuss

Next game: at San Francisco (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Lamar Jackson made his most complete statement that he’s the MVP in the NFL. He became the third player in the past 30 years to record at least three touchdown passes, one touchdown run and a perfect passer rating in a single game. But what everyone will talk about is his highlight-reel 47-yard touchdown run in which he faked out one defender and spun around another. Coach John Harbaugh said: “I said to offensive coaches on the headphones: ‘They’ll be watching that run for decades and decades. That’s one that everyone in the country is going to see by tomorrow afternoon.'” Thanks to Jackson, the Ravens (7-2) won for the fifth consecutive time, closing to within one game of the Patriots (8-1) and the top seed in the AFC. — Jamison Hensley

Next game: vs. Houston (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Almost everything that happened during the Bengals’ blowout loss against the Ravens was part of the bottoming out that comes with the rebuilding process. Rookie quarterback Ryan Finley had some positive moments but also had a couple of costly turnovers that were returned for touchdowns (one fumble lost, one interception). The Bengals went with rookies like Drew Sample and Germaine Pratt in an effort to make progress in their development. And while all of that is necessary to build for the future, it comes at a cost. Cincinnati needed a late field goal to avoid the biggest loss in franchise history. But it was Cincinnati’s 11th straight defeat dating back to last season, which ties the longest in franchise history. The ninth consecutive loss in 2019 makes this the franchise’s worst start since 1993. — Ben Baby

Next game: at Oakland (4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday)

After getting stuffed on goal-to-go on two previous possessions, Cleveland finally broke through in the final two minutes. Cleveland has owned one of the worst red-zone and goal-to-go offenses in the NFL, and those struggles continued Sunday. But with one final opportunity, the Browns kept their season — and faint playoff hopes — alive with a gutsy, 82-yard touchdown drive, concluding with a 7-yard pass from Baker Mayfield to Rashard Higgins. Too often this year, the Browns have found ways to lose. Sunday, they found a way to win. Now, in the span of five days, they have an opportunity to double their season win total, with Pittsburgh coming to town Thursday night. Beat the Steelers, and suddenly Cleveland’s season outlook quickly could begin to change. — Jake Trotter

Next game: vs. Pittsburgh (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)

This loss may go down as a pivotal moment in Buffalo’s season. The Bills made things interesting for the AFC’s potential wild-card teams after Sunday’s loss to the Browns, adding fuel to the critique that this team’s record is more a result of a weak schedule than anything else. Unfortunately for Buffalo, that “weak schedule” has come to a screeching halt; its next two games against Miami and Denver can no longer be overlooked before a four-game stretch against Dallas, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New England. Now 10 weeks into the season, the Bills are 1-3 against their four toughest opponents and haven’t created any sort of confidence they can beat good teams. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Next game: at Miami (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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Ryan Finley era gets off to rough start for Bengals – Cincinnati Bengals Blog



CINCINNATI — The evaluation of rookie Ryan Finley as the Cincinnati Bengals‘ franchise quarterback got off to a rocky start on Sunday.

Finley had some good moments but also had two turnovers that were returned for points as the Bengals were walloped by the Baltimore Ravens 49-13. In his debut as Cincinnati’s starting quarterback, Finley, a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina State, completed 16 of 30 passes for 167 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

When Bengals first-year coach Zac Taylor made the switch from veteran Andy Dalton to Finley, the move was partially made to figure out what they have in Finley ahead of the 2020 draft. After Sunday’s loss, the 0-9 Bengals remain the lone winless team in the NFL and should be in contention for one of the top selections in the April draft.

Finley isn’t competing against anyone on Cincinnati’s roster to be Dalton’s successor as the Bengals’ top quarterback. He will likely have to fend off Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or LSU’s Joe Burrow, two potential options who could be on the board when the Bengals make their first pick.

Finley’s first start came hours after Burrow and Tagovailoa went throw-for-throw in LSU’s 46-41 victory over Alabama. Burrow, an Ohio native, was 31-of-39 passing for 393 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ first win over Alabama since 2011.

Finley showed some elusiveness under pressure and made timely throws as he moved the Bengals’ offense into Baltimore territory on multiple occasions. But Finley also was intercepted by Marcus Peters, who returned it for an 89-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Finley also coughed up a fumble that was scooped up by Tyus Bowser and returned for a 20-yard score in the third quarter.

Looking good against the AFC North leaders was always going to be a tough task for Finley, especially given the Bengals’ current state. Cincinnati has struggled to defend the pass rush all season, and two of their top wide receivers, A.J. Green and John Ross, are out with injury.

Because Taylor and the Bengals made the switch early, Finley will have more opportunities to prove he should be the starter in 2020 and beyond. But to do that, he has to have better performances than Sunday’s outing against the Ravens.

Biggest hole in the game plan: As much as Lamar Jackson torched the Bengals’ defense, the Ravens used tight ends in their aerial attack. Of the Baltimore quarterback’s 17 targets, 13 of them went to a tight end. Mark Andrews caught six of his seven targets for 53 yards and two touchdowns. But it wasn’t just Andrews. Nick Boyle caught all four targets for 78 yards. Even Hayden Hurst notched two catches for 20 yards.

Silver lining: Running back Joe Mixon cleared the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time since 2018. Mixon had a career-high 30 carries for 114 yards, with a decent chunk of that coming as the Bengals tried to bleed the clock in the fourth quarter. But even at the beginning of the game, Mixon was effective and found small openings to pick up modest gains. It’s a bright spot for a Bengals rushing offense that entered Week 10 as the worst in the NFL.

Eye-popping Next Gen stat: The Bengals were credited with only three pressures, according to NFL Next Gen. Jackson’s only throw under duress was a 20-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown.

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