By Nick Athan
Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts wasn’t all that surprising. It’s clear the Kansas City Chiefs came into this game, showing little regard for their opponent. The defense, except for Chris Jones’ choice words to Matt Ryan late in the game, is a legit Top 12 unit. However, it’s the offense that’s struggling, which can be attributed to either a lack, of respect or understanding of who is actually running the offense.
If the Kansas City Chiefs took this game seriously from the opening kick-off, and played with even moderate focus, they win by double digits over the Indianapolis Colts. Instead, Quarterback Matt Ryan, led a fourth-quarter comeback, aided by the stupidity of Chris Jones who felt the need to open his mouth in front of the referee, when it was fourth down and forever.
I can sort of forgive Jones, but he needs to act like a leader and not a loudmouth. I get you play football with passion, but seriously just shut up and get off the field. Enough on that already!
Sunday the Chiefs’ entire special teams was atrocious. Fumbles, missed PAT, missed field goal and a stupid trick play (because they didn’t trust their rent a kicker, unfolded because KC’s offense couldn’t get out of their own way.
Mahomes was pedestrian at best against the Colts’ four-man pass rush. In four quarters, he was running for his life because his tackles betrayed him with average pressure. Right Tackle, Andrew Wylie, can best be described as a second-stringer, but there is no excuse for the third consecutive week, Left Tackle, Orlando Brown, Jr. continues to struggle in pass protection. It should be noted, Mahomes didn’t get help from his receivers who never adjusted when the pocket crumbled, and KC’s run game was nonexistent. I maintain their best running back, Ronald Jones, remains fourth on the depth chart.
To me, Brown is supposed to set the tone on the offensive line. We all have opinions on his lackluster start to the season. It’s clear his footwork is woeful, and he can’t handle smaller, quicker edge rushers. We’ve seen that now for 23 games. Long-term I maintain the Chiefs dodged a huge bullet when he turned down all that coin over the summer – this could be his last year in KC.
However, what concerned me most was the continued on-field frustration between Mahomes and offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy. Their public spat at the end of the first half (not a big deal to some), wasn’t solely based on EB’s decision not to let Mahomes try a hail-marry pass, but it clearly goes much deeper.
EB’s game plan, play calling and lack of creativity on offense was on full display Sunday. If we’re being honest, the Chiefs’ offense has been flat the last two games. Most of that falls on EB, but the other part belongs to Head Coach, Andy Reid.
It’s clear Reid’s once in a lifetime quarterback, and his hand-picked OC, are not on the same page. Despite denials, their relationship was rocky last year, and it appears, they haven’t skipped a beat this season. We can all speculate that Reid continues to prop his OC as an offensive genius who deserves to be a head coach someday, but truth be told he’s not either.
At times in 2021, Reid took over the play calling from EB, and that’s something he must do the rest of the year. With Matt Nagy on staff, the Chiefs likely 2023 OC, he should get a head start on his future duties. If I were Reid, I’d put EB in the coaches’ box for the remainder of the season.
Perhaps atop the stadium, he can see his starting running back, can’t cutback nor block. His starting wide receivers do not finish routes or use their speed to get separation. Maybe he can see the offensive line has been a general disappointment thus far and he should design plays that don’t result in his quarterback running for his life. Further, if the rumor is true he spoke with the University of Nebraska for their head coaching vacancy last Monday evening, Reid who would have signed off on the discussion, should have taken the reigns of the offense this week.
It’s one thing for your quarterback and OC to get into disagreements, but this has now become a consistent pattern, that needs swift action by Reid to correct. Again, after the game Reid downplayed the incident. However, at some point this pot is going to boil over.
If the Chiefs are expecting and Arizona Super Bowl, either Reid takes control of the offense, or Mahomes needs to do his best Len Dawson impersonation, and call his own plays. Quite frankly, Mahomes has to be more aggressive with the play calling, and if he feels that strongly about a play at any point in the game, he just needs to do it. What are they going to do? Bench him?
Listen this was a crappy loss, one that’s not surprising considering playing at Indy has always been a house of horrors for the Chiefs. Still, with both the Bills and Chargers losing Sunday, the Chiefs could have positioned themselves as the clear leader in the AFC.
Instead, they must prepare for a Tampa Bay Bucs team, also 2-1 on the season, that isn’t all that good offensively, but they’ll be healthy next week with a few injured bodies returning to the offense. Add that with a Top Five defense in hand, and that bodes trouble for Mahomes and company.
We all know it’s going to be a long week in Kansas City, and plenty of finger pointing to go around. Championship teams will get past a loss like this, but then again, the repetitive bad energy, we see with our own eyes, between the QB and the OC, might hinder that Super Bowl sentiment for the Chiefs, unless changes are made.