Welcome back to the third installment Let’s Overreact! Here, we overreact to an aspect of the Chiefs’ last outing. Although, now at 1-2 with back-to-back losses, we are going to really overreact to what we’ve seen this season so far.
This week we’ll look at another poor performance, outright boneheaded plays, the lack of luck, and the future of the “Take It Back” tour in regards to the dreaded Super Bowl Curse.
From first to worst, that is where the Chiefs sit three weeks into their attempt to return to their third consecutive Super Bowl, and it doesn’t look promising. Terrible interceptions, missed tackles, fumbles, untimely penalties, missed assignments, miscommunication, coach hospitalized, Frank Clark, Wille G injury, Kyle Long (needed), struggling O-line and the red zone defense where does it end? Last place in the AFC West, that’s where.
The Super Bowl hangover has firmly planted a flag next to the world champion one flying above of Arrowhead and the Kingdom’s collective head is pounding like the Ravens run game against the Chiefs defense. The latest chapter? The Chiefs have fully legitimized Justin Herbert’s entire existence in the AFC West by losing on Sunday. Not even Josh “Flash” Gordon has the cure for this hangover, parts 1 or 2, and he should know. For the record, I firmly believe in second chances, but struggle at 4th, 5th, and 6th ones.
There is a narrative about how the Chiefs compiled all those yards on offense against L.A. and how it’s a long season and they will be fine. Until they’re not. Six turnovers in two games, including the infallible PM 15 throwing three horrendous interceptions in September after never throwing a single one. Bieniemy would like to think about how different the Chiefs record might be without the turnovers, well isn’t that just wishful thinking.
The yards and stats are nice for fantasy football, but not on Sunday for the win column. Going back to the Chiefs’ final possession during the week #2 loss to Baltimore, the Chiefs turned the ball over on four consecutive drives and six times in two games. Mahomes eluded some all but sure interceptions in 2020 that were dropped, but those throws are now landing comfortably in the hands of opposing DBs and costing the Chiefs points.
Mahomes has made some of the poorest decisions of his still-young career. The no-look pass that undoubtedly cost the Chiefs at least three if not seven points can only be labeled as arrogant. Marcus Kemp, streaking across the middle, was wide-open. There were no defenders to look off simply throw the ball and Kemp gets inside the 10-yard line if not closer to the goal line. Mahomes chose a highlight reel over a sure throw and the ball ends up behind Kemp, off his hand and into the waiting arms of the Chargers.
The sports world is accustomed to the visual pleasure that is Patrick Mahomes playing QB in the NFL, but the luck has run out this season. Previously dropped interceptions are being caught, the razzle-dazzle is now turning into 4th down and points have been left on the field. Those points are critical when you lose games by one or six.
PM 15 seemingly was taking what the defense was giving him all day. Until he didn’t. When the Chiefs got the ball back with 2:15 remaining and three timeouts, it was a foregone conclusion that the Chiefs would score and win the game. Until they didn’t. Last season, that would have been exactly what happened, that would have been the conclusion against Baltimore as well. In the year of the hangover, however, efforts failed.
The Chiefs inexplicably ran the ball on first down, then with a full complement of timeouts, Mahomes tried forcing two long passes into coverage, the second of which was intercepted and essentially ended the game. The Chiefs were given underneath throws all game long, but Mahomes lost patience and made another bad decision.
Mahomes has reached a critical phase in his maturation process. Four consecutive games, going back to the Super Bowl, PM 15 has thrown five interceptions. Teams have figured out that two deep safeties work against this Chiefs offensive and teams are 3-1 against the Chiefs in running that scheme. Yikes. PM 15 is struggling to adapt to the NFL’s anti-Mahomes scheme.
The revamped offensive line, albeit showcased a stronger performance on Sunday, continues to struggle. Maybe starting three rookies isn’t the recipe for success in the NFL. Joey Bosa, basically on crutches, tied his personal record with 10 pressures on Sunday. Lucas Niang looked downright awful. The Chiefs were hell-bent on establishing the run against L.A. and it is an aspect of their game that needs established, no doubt.
However, twice Andy Reid (apparently fully recovered from getting sick at losing back to back) took the ball out of Mahomes hands at critical moments. Reid has never been a big “run first” kind of coach. Here is a lesson if you run on every first down, the other team will figure it out. The run play called on first down on Sunday with just over two minutes remaining was a waste of a down and lead to the interception. The Chiefs need a running game but when you need a score late, twice that play-calling has cost the Chiefs. The Chiefs’ attempt at establishing Edwards-Helaire has cost them two wins.
Yesterday the Chiefs signed a five-time suspended, 30-yr old receiver. Well, okay. How does that help an abysmal defense? Particularly in the red zone where there has been zero attention in the offseason? It doesn’t. Spags himself said, “Sometimes I feel like we’re quite a ways away” after Sunday’s loss. That doesn’t seem good, but it is the truth.
The Chiefs defense has surrendered 95 points in three games. 95 POINTS. Perhaps Spags needs to refocus his efforts to keeping the opposing team a ways away from the end zone. The Chiefs have kicked the tires on retread players in past, but help seems to be required on the other side of the ball. Unless the Gordon signing frees up trading Robinson or Hardman for a player to help the Chiefs defense actually stop someone from scoring, well we will see how Gordon fares on his 6th try. The defense has no answers and it is highly unlikely the answer is presently on the Chiefs roster.
The Chiefs should be heading into a “get right game,” or are the Eagles? Baltimore looked pedestrian on Sunday against Detroit, as did L.A. in week #2 against Dallas. The Eagles got hammered on Monday night against Dallas, just humiliated. Now, chock full of injuries on a short week they host the Chiefs.
Theoretically, the Chiefs should dominate this team, but will they? Or will they make Jalen Hurts look like the 2nd coming of Lamar Jackson? This week we see who the Chiefs really are, struggle or lose on Sunday and there will be little cure for the hangover, especially with a dominant Buffalo Bills offense next up. A loss on Sunday and the Chiefs hit the road in the playoffs if they make it.