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Vahe Gregorian: Was Washington win fool's gold or reset for Chiefs?

Vahe Gregorian, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Football

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Unsightly as it was at times, the Chiefs' 31-13 victory at Washington on Sunday was jammed with indelible moments — including a lapse by quarterback Patrick Mahomes on a reckless interception that upon review in the film room left everyone laughing ... including himself.

It wouldn't have been quite as amusing, of course, if that play hadn't become an apparent catalyst to Mahomes' brilliant second half, which featured his against-the grain pitch to Travis Kelce and the penalty-negated preposterous throw to Tyreek Hill that made no scientific sense.

Then there was that insane interception by defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton that ended up among the SportsCenter Top 10 plays on ESPN. Arguably of the most impact, though, were the tirades of Tyrann Mathieu at the end of the first half, when he was blistering about everyone in earshot after Washington converted a third-and-16 to set up a go-ahead touchdown and a 17-13 halftime lead.

"You just have to have a sense of urgency," he said after the game. "I feel like that was a play that the whole defense took off."

And triggered his inner Honey Badger.

And why not from a man who has emerged as the defensive soul and heart of this team? He has the abiding respect across the locker room and among coaches to take such measures and not be perceived as divisive.

 

"I mean, (teammates) love it when I go crazy," he said, with a laugh.

Certainly, the immediate results suggested that. And the idea was happily affirmed by Mahomes, who calls Mathieu one of the best leaders he's ever been around:

"I love that," Mahomes said. "It really brings the best out of everybody to see that passion. ... He's not mad because he's blaming someone; he's mad because he wants everyone to be great."

Add it all up, and the images connect why coach Andy Reid at halftime observed a locker room that radiated an "enough is enough" attitude and made good on it by dominating the second half 21-0.

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