It's been a sluggish start for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense so far in 2023. Through two games, the team's smothering defense has been the storyline for a 1-1 team that held Trevor Lawrence and a strong Jags offense to only 9 points last weekend and 30 points overall.
For his part, Mahomes is doing what Mahomes always does, but the problem is that injuries and personnel decisions have slowly peeled away any and all trusted options on the offense. Travis Kelce started the season with a bone bruise suffered late in practice before Week 1, which unexpectedly took him out. Combine that with the long-term effects of having also traded Tyreek Hill and watching Mecole Hardman, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and even low-level players like Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson walk and you have a room full of inexperienced players and rookies.
What made things even tougher was that the players who were around looked anything but ready to start the season. Kadarius Toney missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury and then dropped numerous passes in the season opening loss to the Detroit Lions (a one-point loss, by the way). Toney wasn't the only one with dropped passes on offense, and newer receivers were running odd routes. Even Andy Reid made cute coaching calls on short yardage plays that ultimately stalled some drives.
The Chiefs quarterback has a great chance to add some significant stats to his season totals after a slow offensive start.
In Week 2, the offensive chaos continued, mostly due to offensive tackles who racked up costly penalties that ruined offensive progress on more than one drive. Jawaan Taylor had five penalties by himself, and Andy Reid ended up sitting him out for a couple of snaps just to get a hard reset on the sideline.
Taken together, Mahomes can be on the money all he wants, but the offense has cost him a lot of production—from first downs to touchdowns. Fortunately, things are looking up with the Chicago Bears coming to town.
The Bears as an overall unit lack the talent and depth of the Chiefs, and K.C.'s offense has a good shot at feeling "normal" again with Travis Kelce healthier than before and Toney and Skyy Moore looked much better a week ago than they did in Week 1. It also helps that the Bears have an inexperienced secondary that is missing Kyler Gordon on injured reserve.
So far this season, Mahomes's completion percentage (62.5%) is down nearly four full percentage points from his career average (66.2%) and 37 less passing yards per game (from 302 to 265). His passer rating of 88.1 is also the lowest since he took over as a starter. Obviously this is a small sample size, but it's clear the typical offensive production is not there for the Chiefs. Very little of that is on Mahomes, but it is what it is.
The good news is that Mahomes teammates can help him make up for lost time by putting an offensive exhibition when the Bears come to town. Trusted targets are back. Young players are getting more familiar with Mahomes and Andy Reid's system. The competition just about as easy as it will get in this NFL season. That's a formula that should get last year's MVP back on track.