4. Pass protection/Mahomes' trust in his pass protection
The Chiefs' pass protection has had issues off and on this season, especially at offensive tackle. It's also true that sometimes Mahomes doesn't trust his pass protection and will scramble into pressure when he doesn't have to. It's easy for me to criticize Mahomes when I don't have to deal with 300-pound defenders landing on me. I understand that thinking that he's better off scrambling early than taking a sack, but sometimes it creates more problems than it solves.
I'm going to be honest, I'm not smart enough to offer a suggestion here. The offensive tackles sometimes play well and give Mahomes the time he needs. Sometimes they have off days like Sunday and Mahomes is under siege most of the game. Sometimes Mahomes is at his best when he scrambles around and finds the hole where the defense breaks down. Sometimes he scrambles into pressure and if he had stayed in the pocket he could have delivered an on-time pass to an open target.
Do you coach him to not scramble and stay in the pocket? If so, do you lose part of his magic and doom him to taking a bunch of sacks if the tackles have an off day? Do you tell him to just keep doing what he's doing in which case he might continue to create issues for himself? There are two parts of this problem and they feed into each other and I don't think there are any personnel moves that can be made this season to change things. Mahomes and the tackles just have to get on the same page.
The combination of the pass protection issues and the wide receiver issues have been massive contributors to the turnover issues, which could have been a whole other bullet point in this piece, but I think they're all connected. Receivers can't get open, Mahomes doesn't trust the offensive line, they aren't scoring in the red zone, and so he and other players feel pressure to make big plays and force things and that's when turnovers happen. You clean up those other areas and the turnovers will get better.
I thought about doing another point on penalties as well, but I feel like there are always going to be some penalties and every team has to overcome them. If the other issues I brought up in this piece got resolved, I don't think penalties would prevent them from getting to where they want to go.
So that's my list of issues that keep coming up this season that all came together on Sunday to sink the Chiefs and end their 16-game winning streak over the Broncos. Do I think K.C. will be that bad in one game again this season? No, but if even just a few of these issues carry over to K.C.'s game against the Miami Dolphins in Germany next week or their game against the Philadelphia Eagles right after their bye they could find themselves at 6-4 and no longer at the top of the AFC. So let's hope they don't just write this game off as a fluke. They need to take a real look at these issues and get them fixed before they cost them more games this season and ruin their chance at another Super Bowl.