It wasn't easy, but the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off a 20-17 victory over the New York Giants on "Monday Night Football."
Kansas City struggled to move the ball throughout the evening, averaging just 4.8 yards per play. Even when the Chiefs did get something going, they undermined themselves with drops, penalties, and turnovers. And yet, given a chance at a game-winning drive with around five minutes left, Patrick Mahomes led the team down the field for a field goal to take a three-point lead.
The Giants had a chance at a last-ditch drive, but Chris Jones snuffed it out almost all by himself. He got pressures on Daniel Jones on two of New York's four snaps on their final drive, forcing a sack and then causing Jones to attempt to scramble and fumble to end the game.
Kansas City's record is now even at 4-4, while New York's dropped to 2-6.
Here are some takeaways from Monday's showdown:
Why the Chiefs won
It certainly wasn't because Patrick Mahomes and the offense got back on track. Mahomes did a better job taking what was in front of him at times, frequently dumping it off to Tyreek Hill on short targets to easily outnumber the Giants in total first downs. But the Chiefs defense inexplicably had just as much, if not more, of a hand in surviving New York in prime time. Willie Gay Jr. snagged a Daniel Jones pass early to offset Mahomes' own red-zone pick, Chris Jones emerged with a key sack late, and Kansas City's typically porous secondary refused to let Jones push the ball downfield, save for a single deep ball to John Ross. Some early carries from reserve back Derrick Gore also helped give the Chiefs a first-half edge, but this was a sloppy affair all around, with Steve Spagnuolo's unit just opportunistic enough against a lousy Giants offense.
Why the Giants lost
Where do we start? To be fair, the G-Men were never out of this game, which would've sounded nuts just a month ago. They gutted it out until the end against a more proven team with far superior talent at key spots. Patrick Graham's defense also stepped up throughout the night, keeping Mahomes off-script and generally containing the Chiefs' slumping offense. But once again, Jason Garrett's offense was far too conservative on a night Big Blue should've been eager to take shots, especially on third downs. Joe Judge, meanwhile, hurt his own team with poor clock management, particularly in the fourth quarter. And while Daniel Jones wasn't perfect, taking a bad sack and throwing a bad pick early on, he also had bodies in his face on a regular basis thanks to a shoddy line. Untimely penalties -- another indictment of Judge's coaching, perhaps -- didn't help.
On the Chiefs' penultimate offensive possession, Mahomes flung the ball downfield somewhat haphazardly, and the Giants' Darnay Holmes made a leaping grab to secure the Giants' second interception of No. 15 on the night. Only the officials then buzzed New York for an offsides penalty, reversing the turnover. Kansas City proceeded to take the lead with a field goal to cap the drive, and ultimately win the game. The overturned takeaway was an epitome of the night: very ugly for the Chiefs, but still in their favor.
Play of the game
This belongs to John Ross, who got mugged in coverage on a deep heave from Daniel Jones but still managed to come down with the pass, solidifying himself as a surprise deep threat in New York but unfortunately also marking the end of meaningful deep-ball plays for the Giants on Monday:
The Chiefs (4-4) will stay at home in Week 9 for an even bigger matchup, this one with the Packers (7-1), who will be coming off extra rest following their Thursday night win over Arizona. The Giants (2-6), meanwhile, will return home for a cross-conference showdown with the Raiders (5-2), who lead the AFC West and will be coming off their bye week.