In the aftermath of the Chiefs 19-8 lackluster victory over division rival Denver, it appears the flash, sizzle, and pop we’ve been accustomed to witnessing every Sunday from Patrick Mahomes and company, might not occur this season. This offense is truly in transition, but that shouldn’t diminish the fact Kansas City is still the Kings of the AFC.
I wasn’t sure what to make about the sputtering offense Thursday Night. For the most part, the Chiefs ran up and down the field with ease. Yet, when they hit the red zone, they went 1-5 in scoring touchdowns, partially due to the Broncos brilliant defensive gameplan, but also because of some suspect play calling by Head Coach, Andy Reid.
KC’s young wide receivers, Kadarius Toney, Rashee Rice, and Skyy Moore played their best collective game of the season. They didn’t have any drops and Toney did get the ball in the end zone. The running game behind, Pacheco, McKinnon, and CEH were average. Pacheco was more patient at the line of scrimmage and did cut back to open gaps in the Broncos defense. Those are all encouraging signs.
Still, the Chiefs know they were fortunate the defense bailed them out once again, and Mahomes understands this passing attack and scoring offense is a work in progress. However, at this point of the season, with two below-average opponents on the schedule at home against the Los Angeles Chargers and then a rematch with the Broncos in Denver, they have a couple of weeks to fix their woes. Looming ahead in three weeks will be Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins.
At 5-1 and a few days off before game prep begins for the Chargers at Arrowhead, the players need a breather. One thing that’s painfully obvious with the offense, despite Mahomes spreading the ball to ten different players, he was too stationary in the pocket. He’s at his best when he’s moving around. Granted the offensive line was amazing in pass blocking Thursday night, and that was part of the reason. Yet, if teams are going to zone up KC’s offense, especially in the red zone, Mahomes is going to need even more time to throw the ball.
For five seasons, Mahomes has been an absolute magician, and at times he showed that against the Broncos, but he wasn’t always on target. His wild interception in the red zone when he just should have taken the sack continues to be a problem. He’s simply trying to make something out of nothing, generally, he’s brilliant at that aspect of his game, but you must know when to fold your hand.
I feel uncomfortable criticizing the Two-Time Super Bowl Champion and NFL MVP, but I doubt he would disagree with me very much. Mahomes is the best player in the league and at his core a perfectionist.
In the coming weeks, the Chiefs have enough time to fix their woes. I’d like to see them get Justyn Ross more involved but developing Rice into the first option behind Kelce in the passing game is vitally important.
Toney will be just fine, and Moore is probably not going to live up to his draft status, but he can make a play or two at key points in a game that can serve this team in crunch time. However, outside of Justin Watson who could be out a few weeks with an injured elbow, MVS has struggled to get open. I had thought after his postseason run a year ago, he would be the down-the-field threat this offense needs, but based on coverages we’ve seen, defenders do not fear his speed.
So what have we really learned about the Chiefs offense in six games? Probably not that much we didn’t already assume prior to the start of the season. The Chiefs don’t have a game-breaking threat, but they have seven interchangeable parts at the wide receiver position, that can get the job done at times. Mostly, with the game on the line, the young receivers and Mahomes have had success. Their only blemish was the season opener against the Lions.
Since then it’s not always been pretty, or even fun to watch, but the only results that matter are wins and losses.