KC Chiefs need more Isiah Pacheco and less Patrick Mahomes

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 27: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs smiles after a third quarter touchdown run by Isiah Pacheco #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Los Angeles Rams at Arrowhead Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 27: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs smiles after a third quarter touchdown run by Isiah Pacheco #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Los Angeles Rams at Arrowhead Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs have arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes, but they need to rely on him less and Isiah Pacheco more.

The Kansas City Chiefs won an ugly and frustrating game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Things started out fantastic as the Chiefs built a 27-0 lead in the 2nd quarter. However, from that point on, the game was kind of a disaster for the Chiefs as they were outscored 28-7 the rest of the way. The Broncos deserve some credit for fighting back, but it certainly felt like the Chiefs were more at fault for the drastic shift in this game.

I wrote about the problems with the defense last week after the loss to the Bengals, so while the defense certainly deserves their fair share of the blame for allowing the Broncos back in the game, that’s not what I’m going to write (or rant) about today.

Before I get going, let me preface with this: Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, my favorite Kansas City Chief of all time, and the main reason I have gotten to watch them play in four straight AFC Championship Games and win a Super Bowl. He is THE centerpiece of this team and everything else they do on offense should be secondary to him. I mean, did you see his no-look touchdown flip to Jerick McKinnon that went for 56 yards?

That having been said…

Patrick Mahomes (and Andy Reid) are at fault for letting the Broncos back into this game because they refused to adjust their plan of attack to fit the situation. Mahomes threw three BAD interceptions. Those are on him. He has to be better and smarter than that and he knows it. After the game, he admitted as much in his post-game comments “I just can’t put our team in that situation. You don’t win a lot of games in this league when you have three interceptions”. He’s right, he threw those passes and he owned it. He should have been smarter with the ball when protecting a big lead. You don’t need to be reckless in that situation like you would if you were down 27-0.

That having been said…

This isn’t all on Patrick Mahomes. Andy Reid has to share a BIG part of this as well. He’s the offensive mastermind and he’s the one that kept dialing up pass plays with a big lead. Now, that might be understandable if the Broncos were stuffing the run, but they weren’t. That brings me to Isiah Pacheco.

Pacheco has completely exceeded my expectations for what he can be both this season and going into the future. While he showed some explosion in college and made some flashy plays in training camp, I was skeptic of his upside because he showed a lack of vision and patience necessary to be a great running back in the NFL. Early in the season, that same lack of vision and patience help him back some, but I have been shocked by how well he has improved in those areas as the season has gone on. He now looks like a primary NFL ball carrier and someone that should be a major part of the Chiefs’ offensive game plan.

That’s not to knock Jerick McKinnon or downplay how huge his seven receptions for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns were. In fact, I’d argue that McKinnon probably deserves the game ball for this game. However, his use in the passing game and as a third-down back is not what I’m taking issue with. McKinnon absolutely should be used in those situations, but there shouldn’t be as many of those situations because they should be running the ball with Pacheco more on early downs.

Here’s what is inexcusable when it comes to Andy Reid and the play-calling after the Chiefs took a 27-0 lead. When the Chiefs went up 27-0 with 4:32 left in the second quarter Isiah Pacheco had 8 carries for 46 yards. That’s 5.75 yards per carry up to that point. From that moment on he only had 5 carries for 24 yards. That’s @#$%* absurd. That is some criminal play-calling malpractice. I respect what a brilliant offensive mind Andy Reid is in the big picture, but sometimes he galaxy brains himself when following “Football For Dummies” would get the job done.

You have a young, explosive, physical running back that is averaging 5.75 yards per carry and a 27-0 lead. RUN THE STINKING BALL MAN!!!! Why in the wide, wide, world of sports is Patrick Mahomes’ pass attempts outnumbering Pacheco’s runs 22 to 5 from that point on in the game? Seriously, I dare anyone to make an argument in favor of that. You can’t do it.

I wish that was my only complaint related to using Pacheco, but I’m not quite done yet. The Chiefs didn’t even use him when they actually did run the ball in important situations in the second half. They trusted Michael Burton on a key third-and-short run over him and Burton failed miserably. They were even using McKinnon in key running situations on the final drive until they finally put Pacheco in for one carry and he preceded to rip off a 10-yard run for a first down that iced the game.

Yes, the defense shouldn’t have allowed a putrid Broncos offense to score 28 points even if they were put in bad situations by the offense. Yes, Patrick Mahomes shouldn’t have thrown three horrible interceptions even if Andy Reid kept calling up pass plays. However, the most criminal part of this game was that the Chiefs stopped using the one weapon they have that is best suited for protecting a big lead. It makes zero sense.

Going forward the offense should absolutely still be centered on Patrick Mahomes, but Isiah Pacheco has proven that he deserves to be a regular part of that offense. He is the perfect “counterpunch” to KC’s high-flying passing attack. When they have a lead, they should use him. When Mahomes is a little “off”, they should use him. Even when Mahomes is on and the game is close they should still mix him in to keep the defense guessing which will make it easier for Mahomes to keep rolling.

While “a win is a win” is a true statement, this win over the Broncos isn’t one that K.C. should feel great about. However, if they can learn from the mistakes they made in this game and not make the same mistakes moving forward it can still make them a better team in the long run. While Patrick Mahomes will always be the centerpiece of a Chiefs Super Bowl run, Andy Reid needs to not get tunnel vision. He has a talented new weapon in Isiah Pacheco and he needs to make him a part of the plan as well.

Next. Projecting an extension for JuJu Smith-Schuster. dark