NFL fans were, once again, denied the marquee match-up of Aaron Rodgers vs Patrick Mahomes as the Packers visited the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon. For the Kansas City faithful, that was a good thing. The Chiefs offense struggled mightily, and I mean mightily.
After a well-executed first drive, the wheels not only fell off, they rolled down a hill and into a creek. Had the Packers started Arron Rodgers or didn’t implode on special teams, this game is in the loss column. But, you can only play who is on the field and the Chiefs squeak out another win, but it wasn’t pretty.
No turnovers, few penalties, and a win, they’re back, right? Nope, still broke. Patrick Mahomes is not a good quarterback this season. That is all that can be said. A measly 72 yards passing in the first half, those are passing stats the Kingdom is used to seeing on one drive. Mahomes continues to show his frustration with a lack of deep options. On several occasions Sunday, Mahomes gave up an open Travis Kelce in the middle and tried to force a deep throw. If the Packers’ DBs had better hands we could have seen two or three interceptions. Mahomes is clearly uncomfortable in this present incarnation of the Chiefs offense, 13 points? Definitely still broke.
Andy Reid can’t help himself with the cute plays or calling plays to take advantage of the defense. The offense finds a groove and Reid can’t help but get in his own way. Reid’s erratic offensive scheme combined with Mahomes frustration is why this offense continues to struggle. The Chiefs had more three-and-outs in this game than they did all season. Broken. There are some positive takeaways from this game, mainly finishing the game after the Mahomes to Hill first down, but still, a lot of work to do.
Speaking of work, or more specifically not working, Mecole Hardman is slowly becoming the Dan Sorensen of the offense. A terrible dropped pass on an easy third-down catch at the end of the 3rd quarter, a muffed punt, and at least one play where he wasn’t lined up correctly costing a timeout was part of Hardman’s contribution against the Packers. Initially, the addition of Josh Gordon seemed like a possible answer, but maybe OBJ is worth a look? Hardman has not developed into a true #1 receiver and at this point is there any confidence he ever will?
Steve Spagnuolo played a first-time starting QB exactly as he should have, round of applause. Well, except when he put Dan Sorensen on the field. At this point, Sorensen is an absolute joke. Dirty Dan leads the league in missed tackles and once again his failure to tackle Allen Lazard lead to the Packers’ only points of the contest. Where the Kingdom should appreciate Spags’ aggressive play against Jordan Love, his continued use of Sorensen is baffling. Every offensive coordinator should have an audible for when Sorensen is on the field, one that has a receiver run right at him. Ridiculous.
With that said, the Chiefs defense stepped up and won this game. Those words have not appeared in that order much this season. With disguised coverages and what seemed like endless blitzes, Love never found a rhythm, well except that pass to the Sorensen covered Lazard. Two weeks in a row this defense proved to be stout enough to get this team past a bevy of mistakes and get a win. It is too soon to have too much confidence in this beleaguered unit with those wins coming over a first-time starter and an injury-riddled Giants team, but we’ll take it. The greater concern is when this poorly rated defense is outplaying a Patrick Mahomes-led offense.
A Few Positives, Little Confidence
A win is a win, again, however, confidence in a real playoff push or a Super Bowl run will have to wait another week at least. Until this team can compete against a winning team at full strength, it will be difficult to see who this team really is. Still, there are some positives to take away from this game. The Mahomes throw for a first down to ice the game is certainly a big positive. The ability to get that first down and end in victory formation was huge.
The defense pitched a shutout for three quarters. After getting embarrassed against Tennessee and Buffalo, even though it was a Rodger-less Packers team, that is a confidence builder. Although a rough outing, this team needs some confidence wherever they can get and as minimal as it might be. This team is clearly still searching for their identity, maybe next week in a division game against the Las Vegas Raiders they will find it. Here’s hoping, until then I’ll stick with nope, still broke, but maybe there’s hope.