The expectations were high for the Kansas City Chiefs this week. After a brutal loss to the Baltimore Ravens, there was an assumption that the team would defeat the Los Angeles Chargers.
However, the Chiefs’ poor play instead led to a massive 30-24 loss to the Chargers. Here are some takeaways from Sunday’s action.
Turnovers killed the game
The defense was not at fault this time around. Instead, the offense’s turnovers are to blame. It all started with the first drive. It started positively, with short throws and solid runs taking the Chiefs near the redzone. However, a ghastly no-look-pass bounced off the hands of Marcus Kemp and Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. came up with the interception.
When the Chiefs got a new opportunity, they once again went down the field. Mahomes made some solid throws and kept the offense in a stable position. All their momentum was cut short, however, by an untimely fumble from Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
An additional Tyreek Hill fumble and a late interception diminished the Chiefs comeback attempt.
The Chiefs need to improve drastically on holding onto the ball tightly. With back-to-back games with at least one fumble, this could become an issue down the line. Mahomes, on the other hand, needs to stop taking so many risky throws. Sure, the no-look passes and the last-second throws look amazing, but it’s best just to stick with the fundamentals.
Mahomes needs to gel with the offensive line
Quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have some of the best footwork for their respective position. They’re able to stay in the pocket consistently while moving around with ease.
Mahomes just doesn’t have that ability yet.
With a revamped offensive line, the Chiefs’ gunslinger has seen some clean pockets. However, Mahomes is taking too many steps back. He moves around way too much, and you can see that he doesn’t always have too much confidence with the men up front.
Mahomes must continue to develop his footwork and trust his protectors. Running away from defenders may be his forte, but he has to make plays inside the pocket. Otherwise, this will be a long season for the offense.
The team desperately needs another receiver
The Chiefs’ offense has been known for years to be explosive. However, they lack some of that firepower this season.
Aside from Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, none of the other offensive weapons have made a huge difference. NFL defenses are double-teaming the pass-catching duo, leaving other Chiefs wideouts and tight ends open. However, none of the other weapons can produce quite as well.
Mecole Hardman’s inconsistency has been a burden for the organization. Hardman has been expected to take the second spot on the receiver depth chart, but he has struggled to step up and take that role. Demarcus Robinson can make good plays, but he is also inconsistent. Byron Pringle hasn’t taken many snaps, but can make plays when he gets his hands on the football.
What Mahomes and this offense need is another weapon. Someone who can take the attention away from Kelce and Hill. Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks is a great option, and it may be worth taking a chance on John Brown or Josh Gordon. Any proven receiver would be great at this point.
Defense improved but still has holes
The first couple of drives by the Chiefs’ defense were quite impressive. After allowing a relentless amount of rushing yards the past two games, the run defense showed up. Chargers running back Austin Ekler was constantly stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
The pass rush even showed some signs of life. It was able to force bad throws by Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. However, after the multitude of turnovers, the defense started to break down.
Anytime the Chargers were near the endzone, they scored. Chargers receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen made the secondaries’ lives a living hell. Herbert dissected the defense with ease and there was no stopping the offensive unit. Los Angeles controlled the ball and kept the clock rolling.
The Chiefs should continue to develop this on-and-off defense. Getting Willie Gay, Frank Clark and Chavarious Ward back fully healthy will help the unit. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo must keep rotating players while giving contributors more playing time.
In three games, the Chiefs have shown some considerable gaps in many positions. However, there’s still a ton of games left. Right now is not a time to panic about the team’s chances of making it to the playoffs.
Many of these position groups require more time and the youngsters have so much to learn from the early season games. These last two losses will be lessons to the organization. The Chiefs have developed a cockiness attitude that makes these defeats seem irregular.
As fans, we need to relax. Three games won’t define the team. Once the offense and defense show a consistent improvement, there’s no stopping this team.