Monday, October 25, 2021
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Run defense and late fumble lead to a Chiefs loss

The Kansas City Chiefs could not stop Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens rushing attack as they lost 35-36 on Sunday night. Here are some key takeaways from the Chiefs’ first loss of the season.

Run defense is a liability

The Chiefs were able to make some big plays on defense when it counted. However, the run defense looked dazed. 

Lamar Jackson carried the ball 16 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns. In total, the Ravens rushed for 251 yards. However, most of these yards came from outside runs, especially on option plays. 

It is time for Brett Veach and Andy Reid to transform the front seven. The linebacking core (sans Nick Bolton) was inefficient against Jackson and the Ravens running back trio. The defensive line incapability to stop big runs also was worrisome. 

What this defense lacks is aggression. The majority of the time, the defense did not show a spark of life. There was an absence of execution and the Chiefs have to clean up those mistakes now. 

No pass rush

Another problem that could be a concern for the defense is the pass-rushing unit. 

Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva stifled Chris Jones all night, and Frank Clark’s recent hamstring injury led to minimal time on the field. This combination led to the Chiefs having virtually no rush off the edge in any situation.

The interior defensive line managed to close in on Jackson occasionally, but his mobility and speed allowed him to get out the pocket. The only quarterback hit in the entire game came from Daniel Sorenson. 

While making new additions would not be ideal, the Chiefs need to make some moves to improve the front seven. If not, they need to move some players around the defensive line, starting with slipping Chris Jones back to the interior. 

While it’s only two games, the inept pass-rushing unit has been a trend throughout the years since Justin Houston’s departure. It’s time to fix it. 

Offense looks unstoppable. Again. 

This offense is dangerous when it gets on a roll. I mean, look at these bonkers plays: 

https://twitter.com/Chiefs/status/1439773505780912133?s=20
https://twitter.com/Chiefs/status/1439752670936551425?s=20

This game was not Mahomes’ fault. While he threw an awful interception, he made play after play to keep the Chiefs in contention. However, the fumble by running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire killed their momentum. 

The only issue with the Chiefs’ offense is they lack the ability to run the clock down. Milking the clock is essential to the team’s ability to close out games, especially if the defense continues to stay inconsistent.

Patience, patience, patience

Many of the newcomers to this stacked roster have done a great job in the first two games. Nick Bolton looks like a stud on the line of scrimmage and Mike Hughes has done a superb job playing on the outside. The offensive line even had a good game against a feisty Ravens’ defense. 

Meanwhile, established players like Frank Clark, Chris Jones, and Mecole Hardman have had slow starts which may be concerning to some. However, they have been productive in the past and will more than likely rise to their former status. Chiefs fans and coaches alike will need to practice patience. 

Right now, being 1-1 is not a huge deal. There are still 15 games left to play. This loss will be a good lesson to learn for all the players in the Chiefs’ locker room. Once they begin to fix those mistakes early on, they can return to the glory days and look towards another championship. 

Hopefully some improvements can be seen next Sunday, when the Chiefs will face the Los Angeles Chargers next week at home.

camtkb@umsystem.edu

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