The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t look ready for the challenge provided by the Denver Broncos in Week 18, but Patrick Mahomes and company recovered just enough in the fourth quarter to be able to overcome the upstart rivals for a 28-24 victory.
With the win, the Chiefs officially close the regular season at 12-5 with the sixth consecutive AFC West title in their back pocket. They also put the pressure back on the Tennessee Titans to win against the Houston Texans on Sunday or else give the top seed in the conference back to K.C.
A win might be a win, but this was undoubtedly an ugly one for the Chiefs in a few ways. Here are some important discoveries for fans going forward into the postseason.
Efficient, not exciting
As the Chiefs offense enters the gauntlet known as the postseason, most defenses are going to look like the one that Denver brought to both contests this season—units that are able to largely slow the Chiefs from what they do best against weaker opponents. The sledding just gets tougher the further a team goes, and that’s true for everyone, not just K.C.
What this means, then, is that, as fans, we’re going to have to get used to a bit more efficiency and a bit less excitement. Not only have defenses keyed in on the Chiefs’ big-play ability more than ever in 2021 but the Chiefs also lack the dynamic components of years past. This offense was a different one—a more dangerous one—when they had Kareem Hunt in the backfield or, when healthy, Sammy Watkins lining up outside.
That’s not to say that the current group of skill position players cannot or will not get it done this postseason. Instead, it just means that expectations of big plays and offensive fireworks should be muted going forward a bit. Mahomes will still do what only Mahomes can do, but he’ll have a harder time doing so on a regular basis.