The Chiefs came out and showed the world that they were still the team to beat on Monday night, beating the Ravens 34-20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Win or lose, there is always room for improvement for the Chiefs when it comes to preparing for the next game. Starting this week, I will give a breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Chiefs game every week.
Eric Bieniemy is an offensive genius, and this showed in the game against the Ravens. Mahomes targeted six different players on the Chiefs first two drives of the game. By getting everyone involved early, Bieniemy really opened up the playbook so the Chiefs could succeed.
A Hardman and Mahomes connection has only ever meant big plays for the Chiefs. After minimal production in the first two weeks, Mahomes found Hardman on four of six targets for 81 yards, with an average of 20.3 yards per reception. Continuing to keep Hardman involved in our offense will be a game changer.
Mahomes also found Sherman with an underhanded shovel pass for a five-yard touchdown, and Fisher (left tackle) for a two-yard trick play touchdown.
The pressure on Lamar Jackson lingered all game, and it showed on the box score with the Chiefs defense recording four sacks. The Ravens offense is successful when they can play the game their way. By pressuring Jackson from the start of the game, it forced Harbaugh and his team to play the game the Chiefs way.
The pressure was also on Patrick Mahomes on 45% of his dropbacks in the game, but the Ravens defense only generated pressure on 2 of 19 blitz dropbacks, according to Next Gen Stats. Mahomes finished 15/19 for 191 yards and 3 TD against the blitz. If the Chiefs offense can keep that up, they will be unbeatable.
Mahomes had help beating the blitz by a strong offensive line performance, especially considering how they looked against the Chargers. Andrew Wylie was also ruled out due to illness at the last second, but the Chiefs offensive line showed up despite the surprise hardships, including a stellar game for Wylie’s replacement, Mike Remmers.
The Chiefs have been notorious for starting games off slow, especially against the run. In the first drive of the game, Jackson and the Ravens had their way with the defense. On the latter half of the drive, we were able to stop the touchdown and force the field goal. The defense needs to tighten up on the first drive because forcing a three-and-out at the start will be more beneficial and set the tine early.
On the Chiefs opening drive of the second half, the Chiefs quickly marched down the field off of two good plays and a hefty horse collar penalty. Putting a halt in our momentum, Darwin Thompson fumbled the ball and the Ravens defense recovered the ball. The Chiefs simply cannot afford a liability like Thompson, meaning that they must develop his game or move on.
Butker is one of the most successful kickers in the league, but he had a rough night kicking the football. He missed one extra point and one field goal, and narrowly made the rest of his kicks. Missed kicks can be the difference maker in game, but luckily it wasn’t last night. Everyone has a rough night and makes mistakes, so hopefully this won’t be a topic again.
Miscommunication is something that is very rare for the Chiefs, but it seemed like both the offense and defense struggled with communication. If they can be lacking communication and win 34-20, imagine what the Chiefs can put up when the team has solid chemistry.
In the beginning of the second quarter, the Chiefs were off to a good start with a 13-3 lead. Mahomes had just thrown his first touchdown and Butker was kicking off to Devin Duvernay. The kick did not go in the back of the endzone for a touchback, but instead, Duvernay returned the kickoff for 93-yards for a touchdown. Touchdowns like these are inexcusable and completely avoidable. Hopefully, Butker and the special teams unit learned their lesson and will kick the ball out of the back of the endzone for the rest of the season.
Check out my Twitter, @sophiacusumano, and let me know what you think I should mention each week in the good, the bad, and the ugly. I will have viewer insight at the end of each article!