Why we should embrace these enigmatic Kansas City Chiefs

If anyone has a guess as to who the Kansas City Chiefs actually are in 2023, you may want to buy a Powerball ticket. The team thus far has been a roller coaster ride, and it's time that we enjoy it rather than spell consistent doom and gloom.

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders / Jeff Bottari/GettyImages
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Well that was fun, wasn't it?

The Kansas City Chiefs did on Sunday what the Kansas City Chiefs often do best - embarrassed the Las Vegas Raiders in front of the world. To make matters more perplexing, this dominating (albeit somewhat delayed) beatdown comes on the heels of the Chiefs coughing up a 10-point halftime lead at home last Monday in their Super Bowl 57 rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles in what was yet another lackluster offensive performance, particularly in the second half. In fact, their 17 second-half points against Las Vegas outpaced their second-half production in the previous 5 games combined.

The win didn't come as easy as the final score may make it seem. Kansas City trailed 14-0 in the second quarter before apparently waking up and realizing they had smashed the snooze button a few too many times. When they did arrive, though, they did it in a big way. Does this mean we should expect the last three quarters of the Raiders game to be the norm for the rest of the regular season and playoffs?

I wish I could say I believe that to be the case, but I think we all know by now that if there is a calling card for the 2023 Chiefs, it is that they are a beautifully flawed defensive juggernaut whose offense is inconsistent at best at times and world-beating at others. Recall the ugly interception thrown by Patrick Mahomes against Philly coupled with Travis Kelce's red zone fumble last Monday. Then turn your attention to the absolute dart that Mahomes threw to Kelce in the second quarter Sunday that seemingly ignited the Chiefs offense and got the train back on the tracks.

This is the Jekyll and Hyde type of team that we're dealing with in 2023. For all of the jaw-dropping, oppositional spirit-crushing that we see from the league's best quarterback and the rest of his offensive cohorts, this year we're going to see things that puzzle us just as much. Each position group has its perfect encapsulation of these enigmatic trends.

The wide receiving group is obvious. How many times have you cursed Skyy Moore through your TV or in person this year? A lot, guaranteed. But Sunday he came up with a couple of key plays to keep drives alive for K.C. Do you despise Marquez Valdes-Scantling right now? Wait until he has a 4-catch, 110-yard game with a long touchdown. Kadarius Toney was the ire of a ton of criticism early on this season, but now outlets are clamoring for him to get more snaps as one of the more enticing and consistent playmakers on the offense (when he's healthy). The one constant on the receiving corps this year has been the excitement behind rookie Rashee Rice, who is certainly turning into a game-changer.

Look at the tight end room. Before the season, many thought this group would have multiple big-time producers. While Travis Kelce is on pace for yet another 1,000+ yard season, he's still left a little meat on the bone compared to years past, and at times has appeared to be showing his age. Noah Grey and Blake Bell have made big plays at times, but have been mostly quiet as the offense finds its footing.

The offensive line has been solid all around, but we'd be lying to ourselves if we said that Donovan Smith and Jawan Taylor hadn't driven us crazy at certain points in the season.

The saving grace so far in the 2023 season has without question been the defense, a unit that has out-kicked their coverage from previous seasons by a mile and is currently third in the league in points allowed per game behind only Baltimore and San Francisco. In years past, when the Chiefs have had a suffocating defense (a la the early 2010's teams), the offense has been atrocious. This year's offense has left much to be desired at times this season, but calling them atrocious would be a stretch at best.

To put it into terms that very few would understand (which I’m excellent at), the Chiefs offense has been a Maserati that stalls out consistently. The only problem is, for some reason, you didn't buy the warranty. So once you drove it off the lot, it’s yours, right? So are the problems you face with it. There’s no turning back this season. The team we’ve got, whether we’re thrilled with them or throwing things across the room, is the team we’re going to have until January. There are unfortunately no warranties on NFL teams, but that does seem like an opportunistic market for some industrious young robo-caller out there to crack into.

Why clamor for change when it can't come? Let's enjoy the dysfunction and unpredictability. Most people reading this have been in some form of a crazy relationship before. Whether it was a significant other with whom you butted heads or a friend who was possibly a bad influence, we've all been there and we've all had a little bit of fun while we were in the middle of it. We also eventually (hopefully) realized it wasn't for us. This season will be over before we know it, and the 2024 Chiefs are almost certainly going to look a lot different than the 2023 version we're watching right now.

The continuation of this maddening and confusing season is set to kick off Sunday night in Green Bay. Should the Chiefs blow out Jordan Love and the Packers? Probably. Could we be staring down the barrel of a 13-6 game heading into the 4th quarter with the ghost of second-half offenses past occupying a ton of mental real estate as we watch? Quite possible. Either way, enjoy it. The Mahomes window seems wide open right now, but there will be a time when we have to go back to watching mere mortals play quarterback. Embrace the chaos, and know that the potential for this team is still as high as football can take a team.

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