PASSING OFFENSE: B -- There were protection problems for quarterback Alex Smith in the early games of the season; he was dropped 13 times in the first four weeks. But the Chiefs have given up just four in their three-game winning streak. Smith has thrown only two interceptions on the season and none in the last three games, where he and backup Nick Foles have thrown five touchdown passes. Tight end Travis Kelce finally became a big part of the action against the Colts with his best numbers of the season with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Kelce (34 catches, 377 yards) and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (30-376) account for 38 percent of the receptions and 41 percent of the receiving yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Kansas City's running game has been an up and down affair, averaging 106.3 yards per game. But in four of seven games they were unable to crack 100 yards as a team. It hasn't helped that Jamaal Charles has been a shadow in the Chiefs' offense through the first part of the season with 40 yards in just 12 carries on that troubled and surgically repaired right knee. After having it examined this week, more surgery is possible and he was placed on injured reserve. Spencer Ware has 69 percent of the team's running yards (511 of 744). What's hurt the Chiefs' ground game is Smith has not been a factor with his legs, with just 31 yards on 19 runs.
PASS DEFENSE: B -- Coordinator Bob Sutton's pass defense has been strong and steady. The Chiefs give up a lot of yards (245 per game), but they have done a good job of keeping teams out of the end zone. Kansas City has allowed 13 touchdown passes, but five of those were by Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger. They lead the NFL in interceptions with 11 and cornerback Marcus Peters tops all individual defenders with five interceptions. They've also scored twice on interception returns. Until they picked up six sacks against the Colts, the Chiefs' pass rush had been anemic, with just eight sacks in the first six games. Luckily for Sutton, he's about to get outside linebacker Justin Houston back, just as the underachieving Dee Ford starts to blossom.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Just about any category involving the Chiefs' defense will likely be described with the opening line: "... with the exception of the game against Pittsburgh." The Steelers' LeVeon Bell ran for 144 yards on 18 carries with a 44-yard run in that Oct. 2 game. He's the only back to top 90 yards and his big play has been the longest run against the Chiefs this season. In seven games, they've allowed just two running plays over 20 yards and only three rushing touchdowns, with two coming in the season opener.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The kicking game has been inconsistent for the Chiefs and has not produced the big plays they've been used to seeing over the previous three seasons under coordinator Dave Toub. Rookie Tyreek Hill ranks among the league's better punt returners (15.9-yard average.) But Hill lost two big returns for touchdowns (105 and 78 yards) due to penalties against his teammates. Kicker Cairo Santos has been inconsistent in recent weeks and is now 14 of 17 on field-goal attempts, an 82 percent success rate that is only average. Punter Dustin Colquitt has been up and down as he posted his 44.5-yard average and a net average for the Chiefs of 40.2 yards.
COACHING: B -- There's no question Andy Reid and his veteran staff have the attention and confidence of the locker room. That helped the team overcome a 1-5 start last season and an underachieving 2-2 start this year. The Chiefs have won 16 of their last 19 games in the regular and postseason. Like most coaches, there are still times when Reid's decisions leave fans and media scratching their heads. Against Indianapolis, the Chiefs scored on a touchdown, and picked up 15 yards on the kickoff when the Colts were hit with a personal foul on the play. Leading 10-0 and controlling the Indy offense, the kickoff was from the 50-yard line. The Chiefs went for an onside kick, which they did not convert and gave Indianapolis the ball on the Colts 37-yard line. With a short field, Indy went six plays and scored, pulling with three points.
Most Valuable Player: Running back Spencer Ware. Last year as the Chiefs moved into November on their schedule, Ware had been on the active roster for two games and touched the ball twice for eight yards. It would be another two weeks before he made his mark on the Kansas City offense. Since then, he's been quarterback Alex Smith's best choice for yards and touchdowns. In the final seven games last year, two contests in the playoffs and seven games this season, he's touched the ball as a runner and receiver 223 times for 1,275 yards and nine touchdowns. This year, he has the club's longest run at 46 yards and longest reception, also at 46 yards. Until a concussion sidelined him in the second half of the Indianapolis game, nobody has been able to stop him.
Most Disappointing Player: Defensive tackle Dontari Poe. It's hard to find much disappointment around the Chiefs' defense that with one exception has played dominating football in seven games this season. But Poe's biggest play of the season came on offense when he scored on a 1-yard run against the Raiders in Oakland. While playing more than 80 percent of the defensive snaps, Poe has just nine total tackles and a half sack. Before he picked up two tackles against Indianapolis, he'd gone without registering a stat in the previous two games. This is the final season of his rookie contract, but so far he's not added much to his numbers.
Most Surprising Rookie: Wide receiver/kick returner Tyreek Hill. Each week, Hill's role with the Chiefs has grown. The fifth-round choice out of West Alabama has displayed a combination of speed, quickness and football ability that's not often seen in the NFL. In seven games, he has 50 touches for 710 yards and four receiving touchdowns. That averages seven touches and 101 yards per game, numbers that will continue to grow for Hill. Despite off-field issues that made his selection in the 2016 NFL Draft a bit controversial (arrested for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend while at Oklahoma State in 2014), the club's evaluation of his on-field skills was right on the money.