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Thursday Night Observations

That was the worst of all worlds. First off, I've never been more wrong about an NFL game. Not only did I make Broncos plus three my best bet, but my only concern about the bet was that Pat Mahomes would get back into a groove and light the Broncos up. Never in a million years did I think the Chiefs would dominate on defense and it wouldn't matter who was under center.

And the game wasn't even as close as the score. The Broncos were lucky to have gotten the first TD, thanks to a gratuitous face mask by Frank Clark on a third-down tackle. But I'm burying the lede. Mahomes, who I have in a QB-flex league, dislocated his kneecap, and if there's ligament damage, who knows – maybe he's out for the year. I also have Travis Kelce in two leagues, and you can flush much of his value down the toilet too. And I started Phillip Lindsay in a league, excited for his great match-up.

But the Mahomes injury transcends fantasy – he's one of the 5-10 players whose presence single-handedly affects the league's watch-ability, whose absence would make whatever happens this year seem incomplete. Andrew Luck was another of those players, so we could be down two with less than half the season in the books. The Patriots have always benefited from playing in a weak division, but now it's as though the entire conference (with the Steelers also losing Ben Roethlisberger) is ushering them to the Super Bowl like the Broncos offensive line sending Chiefs toward Joe Flacco.

Credit Andy Reid for making the adjustments on a short week. The defense looked like the Steel Curtain, and the offense moved the ball even with Matt Moore under center.

LeSean McCoy got 12 carries and two targets, while Damien Williams had nine ineffective ones while mopping up in garbage time. If Mahomes is out more than a few weeks, Williams might be a drop.

Joe Flacco looked the way I expected him to look before the season. In fairness, only a couple of the eight sacks were his fault as the rush was on him almost instantly every time he dropped back.

Lindsay and Royce Freeman had nowhere to go. Freeman got a short TD, while Lindsay was used on the failed two-point try. Like the pass blocking, the run blocking wasn't there, either. So much for Mike Munchak being a game-changer.

Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders were the lone bright spots, both making the few plays available to them. There really is no third receiver in Denver, and rookie TE Noah Fant dropped two passes, the first of which was perfectly thrown and would have gone for a big gain.

Imagine starting Brandon McManus with the good matchup in the thin air. His lone PAT was taken off the board when the Chiefs were offsides, and the Broncos went for two. And he missed his only FG attempt, a 45-yarder wide right.