The Kansas City Chiefs fell to 1-1 at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday night. The Chiefs’ run defense couldn’t stop the Ravens' rush-heavy offense and a couple of untimely turnovers by the Chiefs' offense set up Baltimore’s path for victory and they took advantage.
It’s been a tough start to the season. Everyone knew going into it that the Chiefs were playing playoff teams back-to-back games to start the season, but the hope was they could come out strong and get a couple of wins. The team struggled to get going against the Cleveland Browns before ultimately winning, but they couldn’t finish the job against the Ravens.
No need to rehash the memories of the first two games beyond that. It happened and nobody was happy with the result of the last one — it’s time to turn the page. Things don’t get any easier heading into Week 3, as the Chiefs will be back at home in Kansas City but will face a division rival in the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chargers have played the Chiefs very close during the recent Mahomes era. In 2020, they took the Chiefs to overtime in Los Angeles and won the Week 17 game on the road against a Chiefs squad that was mostly constructed of backups.
The Chiefs will aim to stop reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year quarterback Justin Herbert. Despite being the third quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, Herbert was able to stay healthy and looked good throughout the season. He set NFL rookie records with 31 touchdowns, had the most passes completed (396) and most 300-yard passing games (8).
The Chiefs will also need to stop the Chargers' rushing attack between veteran Austin Ekeler and a rookie from the University of Missouri, Larry Rountree III. Herbert is also very effective using his legs, so defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and company need to be prepared for anything the Chargers could throw their way.
The defensive front has left a lot to be desired through the first two weeks and will need to step up in a big way to cause some discomfort for Herbert. Knocking him out of his rhythm early on and getting some stops in the first quarter would set the tone for the rest of the contest.
The Chiefs' offense needs to continue humming as it has been since the second half of the game against the Browns. It needs to continue to pick up third-down conversions and score touchdowns in the red zone.
It’s likely the Chargers will try to mimic what the Ravens' defense did and send mostly a four-man rush and not utilize the blitz very often. Mahomes will need to settle in and take what the defense gives him, whether it be intermediate passes or even picking up first downs on the ground.
One thing to remember heading into this matchup: The loser of this game will be sitting at the bottom of the AFC West standings. The Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders are sitting atop the division at 2-0 heading into Week 3. This is the first week in Patrick Mahomes’ career that the Chiefs aren’t at least in a share for the lead in the AFC West.
All that said, if the Chiefs' offense can get in a good rhythm early, the team should be on its way back to getting in the win column thanks to the arm of Mahomes. It’s time for the team to turn the page. It’s time to get back on track so they can “take it back” like they’ve been saying throughout the offseason.