The Kansas City Chiefs' offense was very far from perfect against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night, but it did enough to get the job done and come away with a win.
Whether it was Patrick Mahomes's box score that didn't quite tell the truth about his performance, Andy Reid's questionable first-half decision-making, the offensive line's struggles or even something else, the Chiefs had several things working against them. On the evening in total, Kansas City had six fewer first downs than the Chargers, ran 20 fewer offensive plays and had 82 fewer net yards. Both teams punted six times in a contest that many would've taken the under on six punts combined between the two.
Coming off a blowout 44-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, the Chiefs regressed offensively in Week 2. They also faced what appears to be a better opponent, however, and divisional games always pose as tough outings. On top of that, working on a short week left Mahomes and company with little time to prepare. When considering that the Chiefs have multiple new pass-catchers to get up to speed, that's a recipe for disaster. Instead, Kansas City managed to win, although Mahomes knew it didn't come easy with just a few days to gear up for battle.
“It was tough," Mahomes said. "I felt like it was tougher just this year, especially with new guys. You kind of need that week to prepare and get that game plan in. You’re trying to add a lot of different stuff and when it’s later in the season you can go back and pull from plays that you’ve run already and to be early in the season and have to throw in a whole new gameplan on a short week like that. The guys accepted the challenge. We had a couple of miscues here and there. I think that’s what hurt us in the first half a lot, but I thought the guys stepped up when we needed to and glad we get this break now and then we can kind of get back in the normal flow of things.”
After targeting 10 different receiving options in Week 1 and completing a pass to nine of them, Mahomes followed that up by targeting another 10 in Week 2 and... completing passes to nine of them. Everyone ranging from Mr. Consistency, Travis Kelce, all the way to backup tight end Noah Gray and fullback Mike Burton got targeted and hauled in at least one pass.
Mahomes is still learning how to adjust to having so many options to choose from, but he's said for a while now that every week could come with a different in-game hero. On Thursday, Kelce and Justin Watson each had at least 50 receiving yards. Watson hauled in a key touchdown. Mecole Hardman and Clyde Edwards-Helaire both went over the 40-yard mark as receivers. After the win, Mahomes reiterated what he's already been saying: it's going to be someone new pretty often.
“I think that’s what we said going into camp," Mahomes said. "It’s going to be everybody. It’s not gonna be one guy. Justin Watson came in when Mecole (Hardman) was a little banged up and he got Mecole’s route and he won against a Pro Bowl, All-Pro corner and so for guys like that to make their imprint on the game, that’ll help us out as we get into these tough games like this that we can get touchdowns and stuff like that from everybody."
Following last week's five-touchdown performance from Mahomes, Chiefs Twitter was set ablaze when it learned that Mahomes wasn't even in the top five highest-graded quarterback performances of the week from Pro Football Focus. In fact, once Monday night's game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks ended, Mahomes sat at No. 9 with a 74.2 grade. Most folks could tell that something was off given how terrific Mahomes played, but many of those same people (including this writer) didn't think he paid attention to PFF's rankings.
Apparently, Mahomes does. After helping push the Chiefs to victory, his final comments on Thursday night ended with him poking fun at the outlet that continues to underrate him.
"I'm sure PFF will have me at a low grade for that, but I'll keep it rolling."