Pro Prose: The mighty Kansas City Chiefs have fallen from grace
Before Week 1 of the NFL season, there seemed to be a never ending list of potential Super Bowl contenders. The Green Bay Packers, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills were all the talk for sports media, and for good reason. All but the Chiefs are currently well above .500 and likely on their way to the playoffs.
Kansas City is a mess with a flailing defense and struggling offensive line. In an increasingly competitive AFC West, the Chiefs are fighting for their lives, and right now, they’re losing the battle.
After appearing in two straight Super Bowls, expectations for the budding dynasty were high. With a reconstructed offensive line, aided by the signing of guard Joe Thuney and newly acquired offensive tackle Orlando Brown, the Chiefs were the favorites to win the Super Bowl going into the season. Now, they might not even win their division.
The Chiefs have faced a tough schedule thus far in the NFL season, as five of their seven opponents currently hold records above .500. However, with losses to the Ravens, Chargers, Titans and Bills, the Chiefs have yet to prove themselves as legitimate contenders. As my middle school football coach once said, “In order to be the best, you have to beat the best.” Their only impressive win is over a Cleveland Browns team that also hasn’t lived up to the hype.
The Chiefs’ primary issue this season has been their lackluster defense. Allowing 29.0 points and 404.6 yards per game, the Chiefs have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. This is in stark contrast with last year, when the Chiefs were ranked 11th in points allowed per game. Their defensive woes are widespread. The secondary is lacking in talent; Their pass rush is injured and inefficient and they are one of the most penalized teams in football.
Instead of spending a first-round pick on running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs should have invested in their defense. Defensive backs Trevon Diggs, who continues to stun the league by intercepting seemingly every pass thrown his way, and Antoine Winfield Jr. were still available and would certainly help the Chiefs out more than Edwards-Helaire has in his brief career. The Chiefs have little opportunity to bolster their defense, and with the Nov. 2 trade deadline quickly approaching, they will have to settle in with the crew they have.
This is probably the longest a Chiefs-related article has gone without mentioning NFL frontman and Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, so let’s talk about him. While Mahomes is an undeniable talent, he has had a tough time with turnovers so far this season. In fact, Mahomes is tied with Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson with 9 interceptions thrown. That’s already three more than he threw over the entirety of last season.
Mahomes is still putting up impressive numbers, with 18 touchdown passes and almost 2,000 passing yards, but the interceptions have become a serious concern for a team whose subpar defense can’t back up offensive mistakes.
The AFC West is one of the best divisions in football, with the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers exceeding expectations so far in the season. The future of the Raiders’ season is in jeopardy, as former Head Coach Jon Gruden resigned after an investigation revealed his frequent use of misogynistic and homophobic language. However, the Raiders strung together two dominant victories since Gruden’s departure, posting more than 30 points in each game.
The Chargers have been one of the most exciting teams this season, as 2020 AFC Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert continues to impress. With a win over the Chiefs already under their belt, the Chargers could be in a great position to win the AFC West.
The remainder of the Chiefs’ schedule is difficult, and with matchups against the Raiders, Chargers, Packers and Cowboys, the Chiefs could find themselves in the hunt for the playoffs late in the season. The Chiefs haven’t missed the playoffs since 2014 but could be on their way if they continue to play poorly.
The Chiefs have become one of the teams we, as fans, are conditioned to seeing in the postseason. Their flashy offense, featuring a plethora of trick plays and deep balls to speedy wide receiver Tyreek Hill, is part of what makes football great; it’s just fun to watch. With such a dynamic quarterback and experienced head coach, the Chiefs could turn things around before it’s too late. They just have to start somewhere, and losing 27-3 to the Titans this past Sunday isn’t the positive progression Chiefs fans wanted to see.
Patrick Warren is a junior providing updates and opinions on all things professional sports. His column “Pro Prose,” runs every other Tuesday.