This isn’t going to have any pretty pictures because I went to that abomination of a game last night and then worked today. It’s also going to go against the grain of what most people are saying about the Chiefs right now. So…
The thesis here is that the main thing the Chiefs need to do going forward is to keep Patrick Mahomes’ jersey clean. Not stop the run. Not trade for a cornerback. Not fire Brett Veach. As long as #15 is healthy the Chiefs have a fighting chance in any game. If Mahomes goes down, they’re fucked.
There is wailing and gnashing of teeth over the time of possession in the Indy game and the defense’s inability to stop the run. But the Athletic’s Time’s Ours podcast (highly recommended and the Monday editions are available for free) pointed out today that, discounting the kneeldown at the end of the first half, the Chiefs had nine possessions in last night’s game. Their average for the first four games was 10.25. That’s within the margin of error given the sample size. The problem wasn’t that the Colts kept the ball away from the Chiefs. The problem is that the Chiefs did exactly nothing with the ball when they had it. Their average points per possession in the first four games was (approximately–the fraction may be off) 3.3. Last night it was 1.4. The offense scored 13 points.
Before training camp started everyone knew the defense was being totally rebuilt. Everyone acknowledged that the defense wasn’t going to carry this team. That is still true.
The. Defense. Is. Not. Going. To. Carry. This. Team.
Last night the offense sucked. The defense wasn’t great, but they only gave up 19 points. The Colts scored one touchdown. Their longest play from scrimmage was a pass interference call. They ran a ton (two pass attempts in the second half) but only averaged four yards per carry. But the Chiefs didn’t score when they got the ball, so it wasn’t enough. So what needs to happen to get the offense back to supporting us in the manner to which we have become accustomed?
- Protect Mahomes–Cam Erving is not a starting left tackle. Eric Fisher isn’t elite, but he’s a huge upgrade over Erving. He needs to get healthy ASAP.
- Protect Mahomes–In the meantime, Andy Reid needs to call more plays to slow down the pass rush. Not runs on second and 20, but screens, picks/rubs, and shallow crossers to get the ball out quickly.
- Protect Mahomes–I don’t know how much time Wylie will miss, but it may be time to give Jeff Allen a call.
- Work on ball security–As long as punching the ball out continues to work, opponents are going to continue to emphasize it. This is coachable. Fix it.
- Get Hill and Watkins healthy–Robinson, Hardman, and Pringle are a great 3-4-5 group of wide receivers. As a 1-2-3 they leave something to be desired. With both Hill and Watkins out the Colts were able to double mug Kelce all game long last night. And speaking of Kelce…
- Travis Kelce needs to get his head right–He had some bad drops and worse penalties last night. I was sitting next to a former professional athlete (hockey, not football, but still) at the game last night and he remarked that Kelce didn’t show any control of his emotions from the moment he ran onto the field. The blowup with Eric Bieniemy just confirms that. And finally…
- As much as I love the red on red uniforms, they need to go–The Chiefs are 5-5 in games that they wear all red. It looks cool, but while I’m not superstitious, I’m a little bit stitious. No more unless it’s for a mandatory Thursday Night Color Rush because the alternative would be all yellow and God help me I just couldn’t look at that for 3 1/2 hours.
So there’s my Monday Night Rant. Convince me I’m wrong.