Securing their first victory of the season, Fallon’s Josh Mauga and the Kansas City Chiefs don’t have much time to celebrate as they welcome one of the game’s most successful quarterbacks on Monday Night Football.
After dominating Miami, 34-15, at Sun Life Stadium, the Chiefs (1-2) return home to Arrowhead where they will host Tom Brady and the Patriots (2-1), the first primetime game for the Chiefs this season.
“That was a huge win for us,” said Mauga, who was second on the team with five tackles in his third start at linebacker. “We didn’t want to be 0-3 and knew going into the game that it would be a battle because we were looking for our first win, and Miami was looking to get back on track after their loss to Buffalo.”
The Chiefs already encountered Peyton Manning two weeks ago when the defense held the Broncos’ high-powered offense below their season average, but will have another tall task in Week 4.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid, though, was pleased with his team’s performance against Miami, especially on defense after injuries have sidelined several starters for the rest of the season.
“They’ve developed a certain character there,” Reid told the Chiefs website. “Sometimes you have to go through some tough times to develop that, but they’re playing hard like I’ve mentioned. They’re eliminating clutter and playing hard. That’s a good foundation to start with and you get your execution right as you go there.”
Mauga, who faced Manning for the first time as a defensive starter this season, will get to do the same with Brady after he played only on special teams during the Jets’ postseason wins over the Patriots and Manning’s Colts several years ago.
Getting accustomed to his new role of being the starting inside linebacker, meanwhile, has been Mauga’s biggest challenge this year, but he feels more conformable every week.
“It’s been tough,” he added. “My role before this was mainly a special teams player and some third down plays on defense. I’m taking on a new role but each week. I feel like I’ve been getting better at it and feeling more and more comfortable.”
And when he gets to see Brady on Monday, Mauga insists he is more grounded and doesn’t let the hype of the NFL’s biggest players sidetrack him away from his job on defense.
“I’m pretty well grounded now,” Mauga said. “But I still have to be on top of my game because players like Brady can pick you apart if you’re not.”
Still searching for his first career sack, Mauga will get a primetime opportunity to show the Fallon community how far he’s come along since he was in town several months ago for the Hometown Heroes event.
“Monday night games are big-time games and you always want to ball out because it’s the only game on and everybody is watching,” Mauga said.
After the Patriots game and a short week, Mauga will return home, sort of, when the Chiefs visit San Francisco on Oct. 5. It will also be the first time ex-49ers quarterback Alex Smith returns to the Bay Area since signing with Kansas City after he lost his job to Colin Kaepernick.