The Chiefs’ Offense Needs To Get Out of Its Own Way

After consecutive sloppy performances by the Chiefs' offense, it's time for the unit to stop impeding its own progress.
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Before you jump to any conclusions, allow me to explain myself.

The Kansas City Chiefs' offense is not the problem, but it is a problem that is a lot easier to solve than the defense's woes through three games.

It would be silly to point fingers at a unit that ranks sixth in yards, fourth in scoring and third in Football Outsiders' Offensive DVOA and call it the main issue for the Chiefs. That simply isn't true. An attack orchestrated by Andy Reid, assisted by Eric Bieniemy and executed by Patrick Mahomes and company is bound to excel. On a per-snap and per-game basis, the Chiefs' offense has been very good this season.

With that said, the Chiefs' offense has also been one of the main culprits in the team's back-to-back losses. Conner Christopherson of Arrowhead Report joined me on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast to discuss whether any adjustments need to be made or if the offense should reinvent itself at all. On the contrary, the Chiefs merely need to get out of their own way on offense. 

It's hard to win football games when you turn the ball over multiple times. In the second half of the Chiefs' Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, a brutal Patrick Mahomes interception gave Lamar Jackson and company new life in the ballgame. Later on, with the Chiefs driving down the field for what very well could have been a game-winning field goal or touchdown, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled. Costly turnovers made the Chiefs' defensive struggles seemingly insurmountable.

Last week against the Chargers, the Chiefs turned the ball over four times. Two interceptions from Mahomes that consisted of sloppy decision-making and poor communication were back-breaking. Another Edwards-Helaire fumble killed momentum. A rare Tyreek Hill fumble did more of the same. Through three games, the Chiefs sit near the bottom of the NFL with a minus-two turnover differential. Taking care of the football is the easiest way for the team to get back in the win column and luckily, it has a proven track record of doing so. 

In 2018, the first full year of the Mahomes era, the Chiefs placed sixth in turnover differential with a plus-nine mark. The following year, plus-eight was good for seventh. Last season, the team's plus-six differential was the eighth-best in the league. Even with an occasionally reckless quarterback like Mahomes at the helm, he and the Chiefs have done a great job avoiding heaping amounts of turnovers. That's what makes this year's total even more frustrating. 

The Chiefs' defense is a much bigger issue than its offense, but there's not one simple fix that can be made in order for it to improve. Offensively, the Chiefs just need to play smarter football. Before Edwards-Helaire's two fumbles, he had never coughed up the ball in his NFL career. Hill takes great care of the ball. Mahomes has thrown double-digit interceptions just once. The past two games have been out of character for the entire offense. 

That, in and of itself, offers more than a glimmer of hope. If the Chiefs can get back to the basics and stop stepping on their own toes, they'll have a much better chance of winning football games. It's early in the season, so it isn't time to accept this as the new normal. With that in mind, keep an eye on the turnover battle this Sunday against the Eagles and as the Chiefs continue their 2021 slate of games. Things should regress to the mean over time — and in a positive way.

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