Andy Reid is still perfect as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs thanks to an impressive 31-7 victory over the New York Giants. Of the four wins to start the season, the last three have come against the NFC East, a division the Chiefs head coach knows all too well.
This latest might be the most impressive. Not because the Giants are better than the Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles (New York, after all, have yet to win) but because they were a desperate team that were determined to take away the strengths of the Chiefs.
For long stretches, Tom Coughlin’s plan worked. Jamaal Charles couldn’t find any room to run and the NFL’s sack leader, linebacker Justin Houston, couldn’t get a hand on Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
While Charles was being held down, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was able to move the ball in the air with the help of seven different receivers. And as the Giants tried to keep away from Houston, it pushed Manning towards linebacker Tamba Hali, who was more than happy to pick up the slack.
Once the dust settles on Week 4, one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the NFL will reside in Kansas City. The last time the Chiefs were in this position, it was 2003 and we were watching one of the most exciting teams in years. This time around, while the Kansas City offense isn’t as explosive, they have a legitimately dangerous defense.
Before we look forward to Week 5 and trying to pick up another victory, this time against the Tennessee Titans, here’s a look at the best players on offense, defense and special teams.
Offense: Sean McGrath
This undefeated start has been done without much help from either of the Chiefs top two tight ends. Stepping up in the absence of Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce has been McGrath.
An udnrafted free agent out of Henderson State last year with the Seattle Seahawks last year, he was claimed by the Chiefs after final cuts this season and has turned himself into one of Alex Smith’s favorite targets.
McGrath finished with five catches for 64 yards, including the first touchdown of the day.
He also suffered what looked like a serious injury late in the first half. But McGrath showed he is as tough as his beard is long by coming back and catching a 20-yard pass and later willing to still sacrifice his body on multiple cut blocks.
Defense: Tamba Hali
The Giants were able to keep Houston quiet, but in doing so opened up the door for Hali and he was happy to walk through.
Hali sacked Manning twice, including a strip sack that was recovered by the Chiefs on New York’s first drive after a Victor Cruz TD made it a three point game. He also drew a huge holding penalty to help eliminate a 16-yard pass from Manning to Hakeem Nicks.
When that drive ended two plays later, the Chiefs were celebrating in the end zone.
Special Teams: Dexter McCluster
With the Chiefs holding a slim 10-7 lead over the Giants late in the third quarter, McCluster delivered what’s been missing from this amazing run to open the season: a signature, game-changing return.
New York punter Steve Weatherford boomed a 59-yarder that gave the Chiefs returner some room to work. He dodged the first man down, then used a video game-worthy spin to get away from the second and 89 yards later was celebrating a touchdown.
Even though the Chiefs only had a 10 points lead, it never felt like the Giants had a chance to steal this one after McCluster’s return.