The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-30 on Sunday thanks to an amazing offensive performance. On a day where the defense once again had many struggles, the offense was nearly perfect. With the exception of one Patrick Mahomes interception the Chiefs offense scored touchdown after touchdown and eventually outpaced Jalen Hurts and the Eagles. The game provided a blueprint for how the Chiefs are going to have to win for the time being, at least until they can find a way to improve one of the worst defenses in all the NFL.
Let’s start with the positive. If any offense in the NFL is built to be special every week, it is the Chiefs. While Mahomes has thrown a few more interceptions early in the season than he has previously, the offense has still been an all-around positive through four games. They are averaging 33.5 points per game, and even the teams that have beaten the Chiefs this season haven’t really had an answer for K.C.’s potent attack. The Chiefs offense has pretty much only been stopped by turnovers and penalties.
At this point, even the most casual of football fans know about how special Mahomes is, but as long as the Chiefs also have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce there are simply too many elite weapons to stop. When you add to that the fact that the interior of K.C.’s offensive line is now much more powerful in the trenches, it means that the Chiefs can now take advantage of light fronts with the run game if teams try to drop extra guys into coverage. The Chiefs rushed for 200 yards on Sunday for just that reason as the Eagles often opted to risk getting run on in favor of trying to slow down Mahomes and the passing game.
The really impressive part for the Chiefs is that Mahomes was still able to go 24 of 30 for 278 yards and FIVE touchdowns and Tyreek Hill hauled in 11 receptions for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns with the Eagles trying to slow down the passing attack. While the Eagles defense isn’t great, that’s still elite offensive production across the board for the Chiefs. While it is unfair to ask for this kind of production every single week from this unit, the fact of the matter is that this is the blueprint for K.C. to win right now.
The Chiefs need their offense to remain elite if they want to keep winning.
While the defense has BY FAR been the biggest problem this season, if Clyde Edwards-Helaire doesn’t fumble at the end of the game against the Baltimore Ravens and the offense doesn’t turn the ball over on their first three drives against the Los Angeles Chargers, this team is 4-0 right now. Basically, the Chiefs are 2-0 when the offense is elite and 0-2 when the offense is just good. I understand that it seems unfair to put the pressure for winning all on the offense, but if you ask me, which seems more feasible: the offense not making huge mistakes or the defense improving from awful to average. The offense not making huge mistakes seems way more realistic right now.
Should the offense have to score 40 points every week in order to ensure a win? Of course not. The Chiefs have committed enough significant resources to their defense that this level of performance is inexcusable, but K.C. has to face reality. Fair or not, this team has to be carried by their elite offense right now. If the Chiefs want to beat the 3-1 Buffalo Bills, who have won their last three games by a combined score of 118-21, they aren’t going to do it scoring 24 points next week. Period.
Think about the mindset of other teams against the Chiefs. They frequently go for it on fourth down and are extra aggressive because they need to score points to beat K.C. The Chiefs are going to need to have that same aggressive mindset as long as their defense is struggling this bad because while averaging 33.5 points per game is great, giving up 31.25 points per game is not.
For the most part, the Chiefs (to their credit) kept the pedal to the metal today and put up points when they needed. The one time they almost created a problem for themselves is when Mahomes threw the interception early in the second half when they had a chance to stretch their lead to two scores. It ended up not costing the Chiefs, but against a team like the Bills next week, it could. When the other team gives K.C. a chance to get a lead, they have to capitalize. When the Chiefs defense makes a stop, the offense has to make the other team pay. Bottom line, the offense has to be opportunistic to overcome their defensive struggles.
So does that mean that there’s no hope for the defense and despite a 12-point win today, we should all be “doom and gloom” about our long term prospects? No, the defense can absolutely be better than this and that’s why the first four games have been so frustrating. I think it’s safe to say that this defense is never going to be great. I do still believe they can be closer to average than awful. The biggest problem right now is the communication issues. Guys aren’t lined up right. Guys aren’t lined up in time. Guys look confused and teams are literally game planning to take advantage of it. That isn’t a talent issue.
I don’t know if it’s good news that the communication issues can be fixed easier than the talent issues or if it makes it more maddening that something that is fixable hasn’t been fixed yet. It’s probably a little bit of both. While I don’t think it will magically be fixed by the Buffalo game next week, I do think it is reasonable to think that it could be improved as the season goes by and could be noticeably better come playoff time. Again, the Chiefs don’t need the defense to be elite. They need them to get a few stops per game, force a few field goals instead of touchdowns, and allow the offense some room to outpace the opposition.
Against the Eagles, the offense was nearly perfect and the defense got a couple of red zone stops that forced field goals and that was the difference. If the defense can clean up the communication issues and just get a few more stops here and there throughout a game, it will give the offense a little more wiggle room to not have to be perfect every drive. Until that happens though, this is how the Chiefs have to win games, with a nearly perfect offense and a defense that you just hope gets a stop or two all game long.
So what do you think Chiefs fans? Are you encouraged by this win over the Eagles because of how great the offense was and that the defense finally made a few red zone stops or are there still too many reasons to worry for you? Do you believe the offense can maintain this type of production all season long? Do you trust the defense to clean things up a little as the season goes by? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.