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With Patrick Mahomes still sidelined after dislocating his kneecap in the Week 7 win over the Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs were facing a tall task on Sunday with the Minnesota Vikings in town. But veteran backup Matt Moore was solid in his second straight start in place of the reigning MVP, leaning on huge plays from Damien Williams and Tyreek Hill to end Minnesota's win streak at four and collect a 26-23 victory thanks to Harrison Butker's game-winning field goal as time expired.
The Vikings responded well early in Sunday's matchup, answering a deep Hill touchdown with a methodical drive of their own. But both sides made some big plays and red-zone stands to keep the opponent on edge. Kirk Cousins struggled to find a rhythm against K.C.'s interior rush late in the contest, and Moore stayed steady while feeding his playmakers.
Let's take a deeper dive into how the Chiefs ended the Vikings' win streak at Arrowhead:
Why the Chiefs won
Without Mahomes, their offense still made more than enough big plays. Chris Jones had a huge hand in the Chiefs defense stepping up in crunch time, and Kansas City made life hard for Stefon Diggs by way of keeping Kirk Cousins relatively uneasy, but Sunday's win was about Moore once again performing as needed in place of Andy Reid's star quarterback. The longtime reserve finished 25-of-35 for 275 yards and one touchdown, but his greatest strength was, cliche as it may sound, playing game manager -- allowing Reid's top weapons to get in space and put points on the board. Williams wasn't explosive all afternoon, but when he was, it mattered. Hill, meanwhile, absolutely torched Trae Waynes from start to finish, consistently giving Moore an outlet on third downs and near the red zone. Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce were also active, combining for 14 catches.
Why the Vikings lost
You can't blame them too much for failing to contain Hill. The guy is a bona fide speedster, and he was bound to make a big play or three. You can, however, blame them for looking unprepared and/or poorly coached on both sides of the ball. Granted, the Vikings were without a banged-up Adam Thielen for much of the afternoon, but they made a three-touchdown performance from Cousins look mediocre at best. That's partially because Cousins missed on one too many wide-open opportunities, including a deep ball to Diggs (one catch, four yards), but also because Kevin Stefanski's play-calling left a lot to be desired. Whether it was calling a timeout when they didn't need to or leaving Kelce uncovered over the middle, there were issues all over the field.
The Vikings essentially had the game in their hands early in the second half, forcing a fumble of Mecole Hardman to start the third quarter, going up 16-10 with a five-play touchdown drive and then forcing a three-and-out. But then Williams broke loose. Trailing by six and backed up to their own three-yard line following a good Vikings punt, the Chiefs picked up six on a pass from Moore to Watkins, then changed the game indefinitely when Williams took a carry right up the middle, juked a couple defenders out of their cleats and sprinted the rest of the way for a 91-yard go-ahead score.
Play of the game
Typically the play of the game is different than the turning point, but not in the case of Chiefs-Vikings. Tyreek Hill made a heck of a leaping grab for Kansas City's first score of the day, but Williams' 91-yarder topped even that:
"He's close. He wants to be out there every -- it's not his decision on this. We kind of backed up on it. We listened to the doctors and the trainers. If he had it his way, he would've played the next play after (he was injured)."
That was Andy Reid after the game, discussing whether or not Mahomes was actually in consideration for Sunday's matchup with Minnesota. It speaks volumes about both the franchise QB's desire to return and his likelihood of getting back on the field for Week 11. It also re-solidifies Kansas City as one of the AFC's true contenders considering the way the Chiefs pulled out a "W" without him.
The Chiefs (6-3) will hit the road on Sunday, Nov. 10, for a 1 p.m. ET game against the Tennessee Titans (4-5). The Vikings (6-3), meanwhile, will travel to Texas for a "Sunday Night Football" showdown with the Dallas Cowboys (4-3) on the same day.
Relive all the action from Sunday's showdown right here: