KC Chiefs offense is in its most prolific stretch since 2018
By Scott Loring
Much has been made this year about the Kansas City Chiefs offense, particularly the adjustments that the team has had to make.
Though the offensive unit has years of continuity behind coaches Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy, as well as offensive centerpieces Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill, there have also been a handful of major obstacles as the Chiefs looked to rebound this year. Namely: the free agency loss of WR2 Sammy Watkins, as well as the much-ballyhooed overhaul of the entire offensive line, and of course, the league-wide recognition of the Mahomes Rules (protect the back end with two deep safeties, and whatever you do, absolutely do not blitz him or he will pick you apart).
Each of those stumbling blocks have been problematic for the 2021 Chiefs, but make no mistake about it. Every hurdle has been cleared, and to put it simply, folks, the Chiefs are on a burner.
In the last seven games, the Chiefs have averaged 37.3 points per game, the team’s most prolific streak since mid-2018.
Going back to Week 14, Mahomes and the Chiefs offense have generated the following point outputs: 48, 34, 36, 31, 28, 42, 42. Five of those seven games were against playoff teams, and the other two were division games. This streak has displayed the team’s championship cohesion. The offensive trio of Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce have produced as expected, but the ancillary parts have lifted the team to a new level.
Consider the fact that in this seven-game stretch, five different players have led the team in rushing (Derrick Gore vs. the Raiders, Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. the Chargers, Darrel Williams vs. the Steelers and Bengals, Mahomes vs. the Broncos, Jerick McKinnon in the Wild Card round vs. the Steelers, and Mahomes again last weekend in the Divisional Round vs. the Bills).
The passing game has also bloomed because the supporting cast has been playing so well. Byron Pringle has more receptions (28) in this seven-game stretch than he had in the twelve games prior, including 3 touchdown catches in the two playoff games. Mecole Hardman has revitalized his career, contributing in the passing game as well as with jet sweeps and a pair of big-gain punt returns against the Steelers in the Wild Card game. Demarcus Robinson had his most productive game in years in that same game. The offensive line has congealed from the autumn narrative of “five new starters” into one of the best units across the entire NFL.
The 2020 version of this team never sustained this level of point production. Neither did the 2019 unit. Astoundingly, this is the first seven-game streak of 28+ points during one season of franchise history. And yes, that includes the 2018 team. That was the year in which the Chiefs had just traded away long-time starter Alex Smith and unveiled a new offensive identity. Opposing defensive coordinators quickly learned that the “gang up on 2017 rushing champion Kareem Hunt and make the kid quarterback beat us” method was not a very good one. At one point that version of the team did average 37+ ppg over seven games, but it’s worth noting that it hasn’t happened since Hunt was released.
The team is hitting full stride entering the most critical part of the season, and don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. All of the questions of “Will this offense be able to thrive after losing Watkins?” and “Can the offensive line gel?” have been answered with a resounding “Yes!”
Reid’s fast break offense is fully healthy and poised for another big day in this weekend’s AFC Championship game.