Have opposing NFL teams finally cracked the code to slow down the high-octane Kansas City Chiefs offense?
Following a surprising 24-9 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 8, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Chiefs may not be the indomitable force they once were.
Ever since Patrick Mahomes assumed the role of starting quarterback, the Chiefs have been a relentless offensive juggernaut.
While there were occasional hiccups in individual games, as is common for any team, there’s an undeniable shift in the team’s performance this season.
Currently, the Chiefs rank third in the NFL in total yardage gained but have slipped to the 12th spot in points scored.
This marks the lowest ranking for points scored during the Mahomes era and the third lowest since Andy Reid took the helm as head coach.
This season, the Chiefs have been held to 20 or fewer points on four occasions, managing a 2-2 record in those games.
While Mahomes continues to post impressive statistics this season, it’s evident that the team has failed to surround him with adequate wide receiver talent.
According to Skip Bayless, the Chiefs’ over-reliance on Mahomes and veteran tight end Travis Kelce is a significant factor in their uncharacteristic struggles this year.
In a recent segment of UNDISPUTED on FS1, Bayless expressed his concerns about the team’s offensive strategy, where Mahomes is expected to be a superhero, and Kelce is the primary playmaker.
There is undeniably truth in Bayless’s assessment. The Chiefs underwent significant changes in their wide receiver corps following the Tyreek Hill trade last offseason, only to face the need for another overhaul this season.
The departure of JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency left the wide receiver group exceptionally young and lacking in experience, apart from Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Hopes were high for Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney to become regular contributors to the offense, but they have yet to meet expectations.
Together, they’ve managed to catch just 33 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
While Moore and Toney have fallen short of expectations, the Chiefs have found solace in the performances of rookie second-round pick Rashee Rice.
The SMU product has hauled in 30 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns, doing his best to fill the void behind Kelce, and he currently stands as the team’s leading receiver by a significant margin.
Relying on a rookie as the No. 1 wide receiver for a Super Bowl-contending team is undoubtedly a formidable challenge.
If the opportunity arises, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Chiefs seek out an established veteran to alleviate the pressure on Kelce as the primary target, while providing Mahomes with another consistent wide receiver option alongside Rice and Valdes-Scantling.