Chiefs’ fans all across Kansas City set their eyes on Monday Night Football against the last-place New York Giants. After taking a terrible loss against the Tennessee Titans, many were losing faith in the team.
That feeling hasn’t gone away.
The Chiefs barely managed to defeat the Giants, winning 20-17. While there were some improvements, Kansas City still had many issues in all facets of the game. Here are some takeaways from the Chiefs’’ win on Monday night.
Andy Reid must make offensive changes
The struggles with the offense continued, demonstrating three fundamental problems: turnovers, a lack of deep passes and a lack of trust in the run game.
The turnovers started with quarterback Patrick Mahomes. On the opening drive, he delivered strike after strike. Once he reached the end zone, it seemed like the offense would find a new rhythm.
Then, Mahomes took a shotgun snap and immediately danced round the pocket haphazardly. Chiefs’ receivers were scurrying all over the field, with Josh Gordon, Byron Pringle and Jerrick Mckinnon on the right side. Mahomes zipped the ball to their vicinity and hoped that one of them would end up with the ball.
Instead, the ball bounced off of multiple helmets. A Giants defender with open arms miraculously caught the ball in the end zone for an interception.
While he looked poised in the beginning, Mahomes impatience led to horrible repercussions. What’s worse is that he’s continued this trend of turnovers for multiple games.
Meanwhile, a Travis Kelce fumble killed the Chiefs’ energetic offense at the end of the third quarter.
The turnovers were bad. But the lack of offensive production was the cherry on top of this mediocre performance.
To show you how lackluster the offense was, here are some of Mahomes’’ throws against the Giants’ defense.
Notice how only four of his throws were 20+ yards, all of which were incomplete. He finished with 275 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
This pass chart is reminiscent of the Alex Smith era, where head coach Andy Reid would design specific plays for or near the line of scrimmage.
While some of his passes were effective due to YAC (yards after the catch), the short throws were unnatural for Mahomes. However, this style of play isn’t all too bad. Many teams in the NFL strive in the short passing game, occasionally busting out the play-action pass. With defenses playing two high safeties and four blitzers, it may seem impossible to attempt deep throws.
Having a solid run game would help the cause. And for a moment, it worked against the Giants.
Running back duo Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore had a solid game. On 24 carries, they accumulated almost 100 yards. Gore had a spectacular touchdown, where he took an endzone carry and bounced to the left, evading multiple Giants’ defenders. While the running backs did their jobs right, the offensive line has to take some credit. Linemen like Trey Smith continue to add a physical mentality to the offense that can reap huge benefits down the line.
Coach Reid needs to make a change to this offense to fit the defensive changes. While the West Coast-style is a thing of the past, bringing it back for this season would solve multiple issues.
The front seven looked good for the most part
While the secondary looked inconsistent against the multitude of Giants’ receivers, the front seven did a solid job.
The linebacking duo of Nick Bolton and Willie Gay played spectacularly on Monday Night. Together, they accumulated nine total tackles and 11 assisted tackles.
Gay also had a massive interception early on after Mahomes tossed an ill-fated interception and one pass deflection. Bolton’s line of scrimmage speed and Gay’s athleticism have equated to a promising future since the Derrick Johnson-Tamba Hali-Justin Houston era.
Meanwhile, the defensive line stepped up significantly. Defensive end Frank Clark and defensive tackle Chris Jones each notched a sack in the game’s last minutes. The defensive line shut down Giants running back Devontae Booker, who ran for a total of 60 yards and averaged only 4.0 yards per carry.
With the recent addition of former Steelers and Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram, the defense is trending in the right direction. The secondary will finally find its stride once the front seven find their niche and continue it for multiple games.
The Chiefs will face the ultimate test in the next couple of weeks
Against an underperforming Giants team, the Chiefs barely eked out a win. Now, the team will embark on a journey that will prove to fans whether they are legit or not.
This upcoming Sunday, the Green Bay Packers look to duke it out against the Chiefs. Fortunately, the defense will only have to face Jordan Love with Aaron Rodgers ruled out due to COVID-19. The Kingdom will also face the Las Vegas Raiders, the Dallas Cowboys, the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers in the following weeks. Each of these teams is at or is over the .500 mark.
The Cowboys will be the most difficult team the Chiefs will have played in weeks. They are on top of their division and have the best record in the NFL. They also carry an explosive offense and a solid defense that could easily befuddle the Chiefs. However, the most important games will be against our division rivals.
The AFC West is currently in a state of lunacy, as any team can come out on top and win it all. If the Chiefs want to go to the playoffs, they will have to win every division game from here on out. One loss can lead to devastating effects and will have huge implications down the road.
It’s not going to get any easier for the rest of the season. But it’s time for the Chiefs to get on the right foot and figure it out before it’s too late.