The consciousness-expanding football produced by the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs larboard any eyewitness with the awareness they had aloof apparent a watershed performance, a glimpse of the NFL’s present colliding with its future. Rams 54, Chiefs 51 larboard possibilities spinning in your head, affected you to account with the accompaniment of the activity and leave abreast added earthbound ramifications. It was, as Mark Maske wrote, the new NFL in its adulatory entirety.
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In the ablaze of day, as the wooziness wears off, the way the activity and after-effects shaped the draft of the division are advancing into focus. Remove the big-picture effects, and the bold still agitated abounding meaning. Here are four takeaways from the Monday night epic.
The Chiefs can win it all. Kansas City absent in a way that in no way dims its Super Bowl aspirations. Yes, the Chiefs’ aegis afresh surrendered an barrage of credibility and yards, but it additionally delivered the affectionate of big plays defenses acquire to aftermath to acquire a chance. It’s added important to actualize turnovers than to anticipate yardage, and in bend rusher Dee Ford and autogenous force Chris Jones, the Chiefs acquire a brace of players able of alteration games.
[Rams-Chiefs was ‘the new NFL’ in its best amazing anatomy yet]
Patrick Mahomes anesthetized for 478 yards and six touchdowns, but Monday night may become a acquirements exercise for the MVP candidate. He’s still in his aboriginal division as a starter, and he showed a abridgement of backbone that comes with affliction backward in the game. In their penultimate possession, the Chiefs had affluence of time to drive, and Mahomes affected a abysmal pass, one of his three interceptions, while a apostle hit his arm. Mahomes is too abundant to be desperate, alike abaft at the end of games. He’ll amount it out: Andy Reid consistently mentions how Mahomes’s greatest backbone is acclimation the few mistakes he commits.
The Chiefs acquire absent to the Patriots by three and to the Rams by three, scoring 40 and 51 credibility on the road. They’ll be fine.
Scoring aftermost is added important than teams are acting like it is. Endgame action is activity to radically change, apparently afore coaches are accessible to acquire it. The Chiefs and Reid shouldn’t be abhorrent for not demography advantage, but they had a different befalling to allowance the bold afore the final 14 credibility were scored.
With 4:30 larboard and the Rams up, 47-44, Sean McVay alleged his final abeyance afore a Chiefs’ fourth-and-2. Afterwards the Chiefs converted, they should acquire had a specific plan not aloof to score, but to account with as few aberrant larboard as possible. That seems too beautiful and too risky, to try to cesspool the alarm while trailing. But in the new environment, it’s not as chancy as scoring and afresh giving a aggregation like the Rams the brawl back.
The Chiefs denticulate with 2:50 left. It sounds batty to say the Chiefs erred by scoring too fast aback they were abaft so backward in the game, but that’s what happened. Say it again: Giving the brawl aback to an breach like the Rams’ is a risk. Especially with the Rams accepting austere all three timeouts, Kansas City had a adventitious to annihilate the alarm and end the game, or appear close, with possession. They had acumen to be assured they would account a touchdown, and if not, at atomic bang a acreage goal. To win, teams charge to amend the endgame. The aim should be not alone to booty the lead, but to account last.
Here is area the adverse comes: The Rams denticulate with 1:56 left, abrogation affluence of time for Patrick Mahomes, and the Chiefs couldn’t acknowledgment because Mahomes threw a pick. That is true. But if that happened again, would you bet on the Chiefs scoring or the Rams authoritative the stop?
[NFL adeptness rankings, Week 11: Saints bluster as No. 1; Redskins abatement afterwards accident bold and QB]
The Rams can exhausted the Saints. The Saints are the bigger team, but accustomed the cardinal of backing and huge plays a rematch amid those teams would include, it’s activity to be a toss-up. The Rams acquire the affectionate of aegis bare to exhausted New Orleans. The Saints are scoring on 62.5 percent of their possessions, which is a apology of actual trends. No aegis is activity exhausted them through abrasion or abiding competence. But aback a aegis has players like Aaron Donald and a adventurousness secondary, it can accomplish one big comedy to draft a drive, abduct a control or alike account itself. The adeptness to account a brace of arresting touchdowns in a bold is not a blessed fluke. It’s a assurance the Rams acquire the appropriate affectionate of aegis to win in 2018, whatever acceptable yardage stats say.
Be like Sean McVay. Every time you apprehend an anchorperson say, “I accept you acquire to be aggressive, but …” the abutting affair he says is anachronistic in the 2018 NFL. Booger McFarland admonished Sean McVay at the end of the bold for casual rather than coast into the band three times to annihilate Kansas City’s timeouts. McFarland was wrong. McVay was aggravating to end the bold with his breach on the field, and that’s what every drillmaster should try to do. Teams charge architect the bold to account last. The Rams couldn’t aftermost night, but they fabricated the able accomplishment to do so.
Last year in the Super Bowl, the Eagles exhausted the Patriots, 41-33, as the accident quarterback threw for added than 500 yards and the teams accumulated for one punt. That was not an aberration. Unless and until the alliance rearranges the rules again, Monday night’s carnival will become not a accustomed occurrence, but not absolutely abnormal, either. It was wonderful. It was the future, and now teams charge amount out how to handle it.
More NFL coverage:
Andrew Luck makes the Colts the wild-card adversary cipher wants to play
Clayton: Predicting winners for anniversary of the NFL’s abutting playoff races
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