Chiefs vs Lions: Four vital takeaways from a gut-wrenching loss

A brutal loss was filled with mistakes and miscues on the part of the Chiefs. Let's explore the team's loss to the Lions in Week 1.

Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs
Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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Chemistry Takes Time

When Travis Kelce was forced to sit out this game, it removed the last sort of safety blanket from Patrick Mahomes' assortment of weapons coming into the 2023 season. And as we're finding out, it takes considerable time and experience to build that kind of chemistry.

One year ago, Tyreek Hill was the first layer lost. JuJu Smith-Schuster built a pretty quick rapport with Mahomes that same offseason, but this spring, Smith-Schuster and fellow vet Mecole Hardman both left for new teams in free agency. Even with familiar role players like Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Marcus Kemp and others having left in the last two offseasons, Mahomes was largely left with a sea of new faces.

Kadarius Toney came in at the trade deadline last year but was injured quickly. Skyy Moore was a rarely-used rookie in '22, and Rashee Rice is a rookie this year. Justyn Ross did well to make the active roster, and Richie James is a new free agent signing himself. That leaves Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson as the most trusted receivers, unless you want to throw Noah Gray in there too.

All of that inexperience and lack of chemistry showed up in Week 1. Toney had a night(mare) to forget with numerous dropped passes at the most critical times. Rice dropped one. Moore did too, as did McKinnon. In what other universe is Patrick Mahomes given the ball at midfield with nearly five minutes to cook and he comes away with nothing? Yeah, this doesn't happen 9 times out of 10.

No matter how you feel about the potential of such a young receiving room, the truth is that reps are earned and targets go to the trusted. It's gonna take time for some these younger guys to get there with Mahomes. The growth curve might be painful but we've gotta watch it play out.