Two of the best teams in the NFL slugged it out.
The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs — two of the best teams in the NFL — slugged it out on “Monday Night Football” in Week 11.
There was a lot going on from the opening whistle to the final snap. A back-and-forth first half led to a 23-23 tie at halftime. From there the see-saw action continued to unfold throughout the second half.
In the end these two teams put up a grand total of 105 points — just eight points shy of the highest-scoring game in the Super Bowl era.
The Rams edged the Chiefs, 54-51, to the delight of the hometown fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
These were the biggest winners and losers from the action.
Winner: This one lived up to the hype
There haven’t been too many “Monday Night Football” games this year that really kept us glued to the tube the way this one did. The expectation was that these two teams would put on a show, and boy did they.
Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff both had huge games, combining for 925 yards and 11 touchdowns. Despite some defensive lapses by both teams, we saw three defensive touchdowns. Huge plays deep downfield were commonplace. Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt didn’t have monster games but both made big plays.
And best of all, this game wasn’t decided until late. It was one of the most entertaining games of the year, even if quality was lacking on the defensive side of the ball.
Loser: Sam Shields was repeatedly roasted
Wade Phillips thought that veteran defensive back Sam Shields could somehow keep up with the man known as “Cheetah.”
It didn’t quite work out that way.
The Chiefs repeatedly picked on Shields, mainly with Tyreek Hill (more on him later), and hardly ever failed to come out ahead when they did so. He’s going to have a stomachache during his position group meetings when they go back over the tape, because it was absolutely brutal.
Winner: Samson Ebukam scored two defensive touchdowns
Samson Ebukam came into Monday night’s game with two sacks and three forced fumbles on the season. So he wasn’t exactly an unknown player for Rams fans and folks who study tape for a living.
But after what he did against the Chiefs, even casual fans know who this man is. Ebukam was in the right place at the right time in the second quarter after Aaron Donald forced a fumble. He scooped the loose ball and scored (watch here).
Then in the third quarter, Ebukam was trying to get around the corner but wasn’t close to Mahomes. Instead, he put his arm up as the quarterback threw, batting it and then picking it off before running in the touchdown.
Talk about announcing oneself as a budding superstar on the national stage.
Loser: Chiefs’ penalties were brutal
The past two games leading up to Monday night in Los Angeles saw Kansas City hit with nine accepted penalties in each contest. The Chiefs nearly matched that total in the first 10 minutes of the game against the Rams, racking up seven accepted penalties for 45 yards in the first three drives.
The penalties hurt the Chiefs on offense and defense, allowing the Rams to go up 13-0 with 5:35 still left on the clock in the first quarter.
The self-inflicted wounds continued to be a problem. Chiefs fans have some beef with the officiating, because in no way was it balanced. But there were too many mistakes. Period. And in the end Andy Reid’s team walked out of the Los Angeles Coliseum having been hit with 13 accepted penalties for 135 yards.
Winner: Aaron Donald was incredible
Toward the end of the second quarter, Donald’s name had been called just once. Kansas City was up by a point, and Donald had just one tackle to his credit at the two-minute warning.
Then, in an instant, the league’s sack master worked his way into the Kansas City backfield, took down Mahomes while separating him from the football. From there, Ebukam scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for the defensive touchdown to give the Rams the lead.
He wasn’t done yet, either, forcing another fumble early in the third quarter that the Rams recovered. All told, he had four tackles, along with the two sacks and two forced fumbles.
Donald is the most dangerous defender in the league, and he proved it once more on Monday night.
Loser: Both teams’ secondaries were a joke
It’s been a problem for the Rams all year, especially since Aqib Talib was placed on IR with an ankle injury. Marcus Peters has been awful this year, but the rest of his teammates in the defensive secondary were terrible on Monday night.
Sure, Kansas City’s offense is incredible But Los Angeles far too often completely blew coverage, allowing Travis Kelce, Hill, Chris Conley and others to run wild.
On the other side, Kansas City’s secondary was no better. Penalties were a huge factor in the passing game, and they repeatedly allowed Jared Goff to find receivers wide open all over the field.
Winner: Tyreek Hill continues to be amazing
Fantasy footballers out there who were sitting on Hill in need of a couple dozen points got their wish and plenty more. This guy was absolutely unstoppable on “Monday Night Football” in Week 11.
It started early. He hauled in a 25-yard touchdown in the first quarter to get the scoring started for the Chiefs (watch here).
From there, his game only blossomed all the more. Hill exploited Los Angeles’ secondary throughout the game, going off to the tune of 10 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns.
Loser: The ‘All-star’ officiating crew blew it
The NFL threw out one of its infamous “All-star” officiating crews for this game. We’ve seen these groups utterly fail during the playoffs, and that certainly describes what we witnessed on Monday night, too.
While Kansas City certainly earned plenty of their penalties, the disparity between calls that were made on the Chiefs and calls that were not made against the home team was incredible.
A prime example was the non-call on Ndamukong Suh in the first half when he not only clubbed Mahomes in the head but then put him in a chokehold on the ground (watch here).
It was a poorly officiated game, and that’s putting it mildly.
Winner: Marcus Peters seals the win against his former team
With 88 seconds left on the clock after Tyreek Hill had made yet another huge catch, the Chiefs were in business at the Los Angels 48-yard line, down by three.
Then, Mahomes threw his worst pass of the night. It landed right into the arms of former Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, who’s had a brutal season so far.
We always wondered how Peters would perform against the team that was so desperate to get rid of him this past offseason. Now we have the answer. And while he wasn’t exactly a dynamo on Monday night, he did come up with the play that sealed the win for his new team and pushed the Rams to 10-1 on the season.
Loser: Mahomes’ turnovers were killers
It seems really strange to label a guy who piled up 478 yards and six touchdowns as a loser.
But make no mistake about it: Patrick Mahomes’ mistakes doomed the Chiefs to their second loss of the season. He turned the ball over five times — three interceptions and two lost fumbles — and the Rams scored three touchdowns off those turnovers.
In a game that was decided by three points, those loom rather large.