Red Zone Efficiency
The Chiefs have one of the best—if not THE best—assortments of offensive weapons in the NFL, which makes it unacceptable to settle for short field goals when they get into the red zone as much as they did against the Broncos.
The Chiefs have the weird ability to somehow be a combination of too safe and too cute when down near the goal line. That sounds like I’m contradicting myself, but if you watch this team every week, you know exactly what I’m talking about. They’re either running it up the middle or trying some gadget play. There has to be something in the playbook between a halfback dive and a double motion end around tight end pass, right?
Can we just get a play-action rollout to Travis Kelce for crying out loud? I love the Chiefs creativity, but it just seems like they overthink things down near the goal line way too much. Create a little space for Patrick Mahomes and give him his best weapons to target. The end.
Not Reviewing The Tyreek Hill Touchdown
This one blows my mind. Tyreek Hill miraculously catches a touchdown and not a single soul in the entire Chiefs organization knew it. How can that happen? Not a player. Not a coach. Not someone up in the booth whose job it is to let Andy Reid know that he should throw the flag. Not even Tyreek Hill himself. They punted the ball away with like nine seconds left on the play clock and had absolutely no idea.
I can’t even…
Let’s move on.
Interior Offensive Line Play
They don’t get any push in the run game, and they allow constant pressure up the middle in Patrick Mahomes face. How’s that for a summary? I understand that offensive line continuity is big for a team. The ability to communicate, to know and trust what the other guys are doing is huge. Still, the Chiefs may need to think about changing some things up on the interior of the line during the home stretch of the season before it’s playoff time.
I’m not so sure that an interior line of Martinas Rankin, Daniel Kilgore, and Stefen Wisniewski may not be their best option, and none of those three played last night. You can make a strong case that Rankin was their best interior offensive lineman early last season before suffering a major patella injury that he is just now working his way back from. You can also make a strong case that Wisniewski was their best interior offensive lineman during the playoffs and Super Bowl run last season. You can even make a strong case that while he’s a little less mobile, Kilgore played better (especially in the run game) than Austin Reiter has when he filled in at center earlier this season.
The Chiefs have four games to go in the regular season. That’s enough time to get a new interior line comfortable before the playoffs, but if they are going to do it they need to do it soon.
Pass Rush from the Front Four
The Chiefs brought pressure on Denver quarterback Drew Lock multiple times in this game, but they often had to blitz to do it. You can certainly make an argument that it did help keep Drew Lock off balance. He ended the night 15 of 28 for 151 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. That’s not good, but then again, neither is Lock.
The Chiefs failed to register a single sack on Sunday night. Maybe you don’t think that’s a big deal because Lock had a pretty unimpressive performance and K.C. held the Broncos to 16 points, but this is becoming a regular occurrence for the Chiefs. In their past three games, the defense has registered a grand total of one sack. One. In three games.
The Chiefs have over $34 million in cap space allocated to Chris Jones and Frank Clark this season. Those two are making that much money because of their ability to get after the quarterback. The problem is that, for the last several weeks, the Chiefs defense has done a much better job of getting after their critics on Twitter than they have the opposing quarterback. If the Chiefs want to repeat as Super Bowl champions, that has to change. Period.
I could nitpick a few more things, but those are the big ones that really frustrated me during this game. Let’s assume the lack of review on the Tyreek Hill touchdown is a fluke and that we won’t see something like that again. The other three things aren’t flukes and are certainly things the Chiefs could stand to improve, despite how good their record is, if they want to increase their odds of repeating as champions.
Now let’s get to the positives.