“Game” Takeaways: Chiefs at Titans

Well, that happened. Can we even call that a game? I guess technically it was. The Kansas City Chiefs, with Patrick Mahomes as QB, scored 3 points. 3 points. One field goal with Hill, Kelce and Mahomes. The Jets, Giants and even the Houston Texans scored more points than the previously formidable Chiefs offensive in week #7. Did Todd Haley and Bob Sutton have a child and name it the 2020/21 Chiefs?

Or maybe it was the Super Bowl Hangover and the Madden Curse spawned this offspring? Perhaps that would help explain what the Kingdom is witnessing, because at least that would be some type of explanation for whatever the Chiefs are doing on the field this season.

Patrick Mahomes is a mid-tier QB on a last-place team. There, I said it. It is a truth that is difficult to accept after the last three seasons, but the record doesn’t lie. Fumbles, interceptions, and poor decision-making week after week. A bad game happens, but for Mahomes, since the Super Bowl, he has not been nearly the same QB.

The Chiefs front office has invested heavily on the offensive side of the ball with the mentality that Mahomes, with weapons, shall overcome all. The Chiefs would always be in the game because of the offensive juggernaut they would present, then this season happened. The shiny new offensive line took precedence over the defense this off-season and on Sunday that line was as bad as the one that cost the Chiefs back-to-back Super Bowls.

Not only did they put in a pathetic effort, they nearly got the NFL’s highest-paid player injured after a brutal hit late in the game. The storyline this week will be Mahomes is pressing, but there is an argument that Mahomes is regressing? 20/35 for 206 yards an interception and a fumble by the highest-paid player in the NFL. Derrick Henry threw a touchdown pass, Mahomes did not, let that sink in.

Is PM 15 trying too hard to make up for a defense that can’t stop a pee-wee team? Yes, yes, he is, but that can’t explain some of the mistakes Mahomes has made multiple times this season. Isn’t there something about learning from one’s mistakes? Mahomes is repeatedly making the same mistakes week after week. Until he realizes the NFL has caught up with the Chiefs’ high-flying act, this type of game may not be an anomaly. The next few weeks will be critical to who Mahomes will be in the future.

Speaking of making the same mistakes, Andy Reid took the blame in his post-game press conference, as well, he should be. The offensive guru has been anything but this season. Reid keeps rolling out the same offense as he has the last two seasons. Hey Andy, the NFL is on to you. It is on the coaching staff to have their team ready to play. The Chiefs were embarrassed by Buffalo two weeks ago, on Sunday they were flat out humiliated.

Andy Reid bears responsibility for not only failing to have this team ready on Sundays but clearly this team was not ready for the season. Defenses are giving the Chiefs short and intermediate plays all day and the Chiefs game plan refuses to accept what is available. Reid has another chance at an inferior team this week to retool his once-prolific offense, will he finally adjust? Can he return to the QB whisperer he has been known as and get his former Super Bowl MVP back to form? The buck stops with Reid and getting this team back on track starts with him. If the Giants take this team to the wire in Arrowhead this Sunday then the answer to those questions is a resounding, no.

In 2009, I had my first field pass to cover a Chiefs game as a sports photographer. It was Chiefs at Eagles and I was thrilled to be on the sideline as a longtime Chiefs fan. Todd Haley was the head coach and Matt Cassel was the QB. I had the full experience, while still handling my responsibilities. I was in the tunnel shooting photos before they ran out, stood right by the team for the national anthem, and went to the post-game press conference.

Too bad the Chiefs weren’t as energic as I was during that game. They got smoked and I always remember the total lack of energy and effort that was apparent from pre-game warm-ups to the game itself. They were flat. Watching the game against the Titans took me back to that experience. The defense looked like they had conceded halfway through the first Titans’ drive.

Chris Jones doesn’t seem to care about playing football. Chris Jones was credited with one assist on Sunday. Jones is averaging barely over one tackle a game, you couldn’t even trade him with those numbers. Who would want to pay him the money he is making for that type of production? The entire defense looked so unbelievable lackluster, pathetic doesn’t even begin to cover the first-half effort. Don’t get me started on Frank Clark and his pathetic excuse for an effort. The offense looked just as lax as the defense as if they finally had enough of carrying the load. Of course, there were a few moments, a very few moments the offense showed their desperation to compete, but it was clear by sideline shots of the Chiefs bench this game was over in the 2nd quarter.

So, where do the last place Chiefs go from here? Does the Kingdom still believe the narrative that this team can pull it together and rally to make the post-season? Until the Chiefs can beat a winning team, it seems unlikely. The Chiefs have been thoroughly beaten and embarrassed by the new AFC elite for a fourth time, they are no longer the class of the AFC or the team to beat.

There were moves available the last few weeks to improve the defense that Brett Veach missed out on. Instead, the Chiefs got Josh Gordon. Veach, for some reason, added another receiver to an already crowded receiver room. The trade deadline is approaching, how desperate is this team to get back in contention? Is there a piece to add to this historically bad defense through a trade? Would it make a difference to a defense that ranks last in the league in nearly every category? It is difficult to say.

The “Fire Spags” contingent will undoubtedly grow this week, is that the answer? The Kingdom has heard all the takes the last few weeks about how if they stop the turnovers, Mahomes stop pressing, Spags benches Sorensen, the defense is turning a corner, the o-line is jelling, get the run game rolling, and so on. Then the Kingdom saw this team on Sunday. And well……that happened.