The K.C. Chiefs deserved to lose to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. The Chiefs wasted multiple opportunities to put away a banged up Ravens squad, and they eventually saw the game slip away as Baltimore prevailed by the score of 36-35.
Some may choose to shrug this loss off. The Ravens are a good team and the Chiefs will still have plenty of chances to prove they are Super Bowl worthy as the season goes on. I’m personally not ready to shrug this one off yet—not until I get a few things off my chest.
First off, I still believe this team is one of the best in the NFL (despite their flaws) and can absolutely win a championship this year. However, this wasn’t a fluke loss. This was a loss that was caused by some of the same things that caused the Chiefs to almost lose their opener to the Cleveland Browns. This loss proved the Chiefs have some things they have to fix if they want to be a Super Bowl contender, because if the Chiefs don’t have answers to these issues, they’ll be watching the Super Bowl from home this year.
Patrick Mahomes is amazing. Travis Kelce is amazing. Tyreek Hill is amazing (although the Ravens did a nice job of neutralizing him tonight). Overall the offense is absolutely good enough to carry a team to a Super Bowl win, BUT the offense absolutely shares some of the blame for this loss. We’ll get to the defense in a second, but let’s talk about the offense first.
The Chiefs deserved to lose in Week 2 to the Baltimore Ravens.
Mahomes was great most of the game, but even he made a stupid interception that may have cost the Chiefs points and thus the game. He’s incredible, but he has to know that sometimes taking a sack is okay.
I love Andy Reid to death and wouldn’t trade him for any other coach, but his play calling at crucial moments in this game also deserves some critique. The biggest issue being his decision to not keep the ball in Mahomes’ hands on KC’s final drive. Why call a run there? Why are you letting your foot off the gas and taking the ball out of the hands of the best player on the field? It’s beyond maddening. Clearly, Clyde Edwards-Helaire deserves ridicule for that fumble as well. You have to hold onto that ball there. Period.
Finally, when it comes to the offense, we need to mention Creed Humphrey too. I’m exciting about Creed’s future and think he’ll be a Pro Bowler sooner rather than later, but the rookie had a couple bad plays tonight that hurt the Chiefs. His bad snap pinned them against their own goal line and ruined the drive following Tyrann Mathieu‘s second interception that could have got the Chiefs up big early. Then on Mahomes interception, he had a clear shot at the linebacker who eventually hit Mahomes, but just whiffed on him. Those were two of the biggest negative plays for K.C.’s offense all night.
Now, having said all that, I’m not worried about the offense long term. They had chances to put the game away on Sunday and didn’t, but I still have faith in them. It’s getting really hard to say that about the defense right now. The run defense is so bad there is simply no excuse for it. Through two games they have allowed 404 yards rushing, a little over 6 yards per carry, and 7 rushing touchdowns. I get that it’s a passing league and K.C. may have opted to focus more on stopping the pass than the run, but they can’t be THAT bad.
There are three big problems with the run defense. First, guys are getting manhandled at the point of attack and pushed around. Second, guys are biting on fakes and drifting out of position on almost every carry. The discipline and gap responsibility is embarrassing and if Steve Spagnuolo can’t get that part cleaned up quick, he absolutely deserves to be help accountable for what’s going on out there. Frankly, he already deserves as much because no adjustments were made that slowed down the Ravens rushing attack the entire game. Finally, the tackling was just bad at times. There were some nice tackles here and there, but it’s wildly inconsistent. The combination of those three things will continue to hold this defense back if they can’t get it fixed.
Then there is the pass rush—or should I say the lack of a pass rush. The Ravens had a beat up offensive line that was manhandled by the Las Vegas Raiders last week WITH Ronnie Stanley. For the Chiefs to only have one sack and a couple of pressures against that line is inexcusable. Period. How can you be that bad against the run AND get no pressure? You would think if they were horrible at one it would be because they’re built to do the other well, but they’re absolutely awful at both. It’s almost hard to even comprehend how inept the defensive front has been.
Finally, I simply can’t fathom how you can be playing that horribly on defense and just not use a guy like Juan Thornhill. I don’t understand. I know they have an unnatural love of Dan Sorensen, and yes he had their one sack on the only successful blitz they called all night, but most of the game the guy was getting embarrassed in the open field. You have a second round draft pick that is clearly more naturally gifted sitting right there and you just keep failing without even trying to change things up to see if it will spark something. Someone make it make sense, please!
I’m still thankful for the opportunity to watch Patrick Mahomes and this offense get to play football every week, but because I really appreciate how special he is I don’t want to waste a single year of his talents. The Chiefs deserved to lose this game because they made a few stupid mistakes on offense and have a defense bad enough that the amazing offense doesn’t have any wiggle room to fail. They wasted two first half interceptions and a chance to win the game in the final minutes. Then they still almost got another chance to try and win it, but couldn’t get a stop on fourth down.
Last week I wrote that this team is who we thought they were (the good and the bad) and that remains true this week after a loss. This team absolutely CAN still win a Super Bowl, but they better find a way to fix some of these issues because this loss was not a fluke. Period.