Four Takeaways From the Chiefs' 30-24 Loss to the Chargers

Here are some major takeaways from the Chiefs' third game of the 2021 season.
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A week after the Kansas City Chiefs struggled to close things out against the Baltimore Ravens, Andy Reid's bunch was almost able to complete the comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers. Despite some downright sloppy football in the first half, the team was able to calm down and take a 24-21 lead. The Chargers kept applying pressure, though, and came out on top by a final score of 30-24.

Here are four takeaways from today's game.

1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire delivered

Let's get this out of the way: Yes, Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled for the second-straight game. With that said, even before he coughed up the ball, he ran with conviction and appeared to be seeing the field better. The Chiefs made it a point to get their 2020 first-round draft pick involved, and he showed up while fighting through adversity. He caught a screen pass for a much-needed touchdown and also ran the ball 17 times for 100 yards. Edwards-Helaire's tenure with the Chiefs has been a bumpy ride thus far, but Sunday saw far more positives than negatives. 

2. The Chiefs' red zone defense is still an issue

The Chiefs' defense as a whole played better football for a large chunk of the game against the Chargers, but it continued to struggle in the red zone. With Justin Herbert and company knocking on the door of scoring a touchdown with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Steve Spagnuolo's unit held them to a field goal to tie the game at 24. It then gave up a game-winning touchdown. If the Chiefs aren't going to stop opponents early in drives, they need to do so when the field gets shorter. If they can't do either, winning at a league-leading clip isn't sustainable. 

3. Patrick Mahomes needs to be better

For Patrick Mahomes standards, 27-for-44 passing accompanied by 260 yards and two interceptions (granted, one wasn't solely his fault) simply isn't good enough. Sure, he did throw three touchdowns and had some typical brilliant moments throughout the game. On the other hand, he made some uncharacteristically poor decisions with the football and his pocket presence was poor. Mahomes can't do everything himself but sometimes, he tries too hard to make things happen. It's the blessing and the curse that comes with his ability to improvise but lately, it's been the latter on several occasions. He'll need to lock in and play more consistent football as the season continues. 

4. So do his receivers

Marcus Kemp had a ball hit him in the hands that was intercepted. Demarcus Robinson's spatial awareness was, once again, bad. Byron Pringle wasn't able to deliver when his number was called. Tyreek Hill appeared to have been battling something throughout the game, so he gets a pass for the most part. As always, Travis Kelce helped move the chains and was reliable. Mecole Hardman had some nice moments. As a whole, the Chiefs' receiving corps was a mixed bag that trended towards underwhelming on Sunday. Mahomes needs his ancillary weapons to step up in order for the Chiefs' offense to function at a high level. They didn't do so in Week 3. 

Read More: The Chiefs and Chargers Are Still Finding Themselves