by Hannah Lichtenstein & Zach Selby
After a strong showing in the first half of its Week 6 game, the Washington Football Team could not recover from critical mistakes in the second half and was defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-13. Here are some numbers to know from the weekend.
With Logan Thomas sidelined, Ricky Seals-Jones has been asked to step up as Washington's go-to tight end. The Texas A&M product isn't shying away from his moment, a point he made spiritedly against his previous team.
Seals-Jones was everywhere in the first half against the Chiefs, running routes on 24 of a possible 25 drop backs. His golden moment -- one of Washington's most impressive plays of the game -- came with 1:18 left in the second quarter. Seals-Jones got behind the defense and ran for 39 yards to give Washington its first touchdown of the game and a three-point lead.
The tight end finished the game with four receptions for 58 yards and is emerging as one of Washington's more efficient receiving threats. He's fourth on the team with 137 receiving yards and averaging 11.4 yards per catch.
Kansas City had an 11-point lead with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, but it looked like it was still possible for Washington to come back if its offense scored quickly. And with the Chiefs starting at its own 4-yard line, there was a good chance Washington would get the ball back with plenty of time.
But then the Chiefs got to work and methodically moved down the field. They converted five third downs, covered 96 yards and took 7:18 off the clock. By the time Patrick Mahomes threw a 24-yard touchdown to Demarcus Robinson, putting the Chiefs up 31-13, Washington only had a little more than three minutes to come back from a three-score deficit.
The lack of time left Washington's options limited. Its margin for error was almost non-existent, and two plays later, Taylor Heinicke's pass was intercepted, all but dashing any remaining hope of a comeback.
The sixth-year running back J.D. McKissic was dominant was Washington's most reliable weapon against the Chiefs. He led Washington in both receptions (eight catches for 65 yards) and rushing (8 carries for 45 yards), and his 110 total yards of offense are a career-high.
Wherever Washington looked to be a scoring threat, McKissic was key. He was pivotal in moving the chains to get into field goal territory for Dustin Hopkins to nail the first field goal of the game. Then, in the second quarter, he propelled the drive that led to Seals-Jones' touchdown after keeping Washington on the field with a vital first down.
McKissic is the third Washington running back to record at least 45 rushing yards and 65 receiving yards in a single game since 2015.
Outside of a few splash plays, Washington's offense had an uneven performance against the Chiefs. Granted, it had a 13-10 lead heading into halftime, but it finished the game with only 276 yards on 58 plays. A more telling stat of how the unit performed was its zero trips to the red zone, while the Chiefs had four trips and came away with three touchdowns.
Washington was able to recover from that lack of production in the first half. Mahomes and the Chiefs were reeling with three turnovers, and the offense did move close enough for Hopkins to kick a pair of field goals. It wasn't long until the Chiefs were back to looking like the team it was expected to be, though, and a missed field goal at the start of the third quarter was the closest Washington got to scoring fo the rest of the game. After putting up 200 yard in the first two quarters, Washington punted twice and amassed just 76 yards in the second half.
Washington's defense was uneven against the Chiefs. A strong first half was followed by a poor performance for the rest of the afternoon that allowed the Chiefs to score three touchdowns. However, Cole Holcomb was once again one of the unit's bright spots with 10 tackles.
Tackles were only part of the former fifth-round pick's game, though. Holcomb also recorded a pass breakup, a sack and a forced fumble when he hawked down Mecole Hardman from across the field. In fact, he is the first Washington linebacker to have at least one sack, a pass defensed and a forced fumble since he also did so on October 25, 2020 vs. Dallas.
Holcomb was one of Washington's best tacklers during his first two seasons, and that is the case once again as he has taken on an even larger role. He's recorded at least 10 tackles in three games and is seventh in the NFL with 58 tackles.