The Kansas City Chiefs are looking less mighty and more vulnerable just three games into the season. On Sunday, the Chiefs suffered only their third division loss (vs Chargers 30-24) against the AFC West since Patrick Mahomes became the starter in 2018. Last week, the Chiefs fell to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens for the first time in the Patrick Mahomes era, 36-35. The cool kid persona this team and coaching staff have adopted over the last couple of years is finally catching up to them. Had the Browns possessed a top 10 caliber quarterback in their Week 1 matchup, the Chiefs might be 0-3 right now instead of 1-2.
It might be that the league, or more specifically the AFC, is catching up to the Chiefs as well. These close calls for KC have become the norm, it seems, since last season. After blowing out the NY Jets last November, 35-9, the Chiefs didn’t win another regular-season game by more than eight points. Over that seven-game span in which they went undefeated, five of those wins came by four points or less. This illustrates the point I’ve made before about the Chiefs and that invisible on/off switch they like to play with.
Tampa Bay Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles laid out a blueprint for the league in Super Bowl LV for combating the Chiefs’ high-powered offense. A team needs to be able to get pressure on Mahomes but do it without sending extra rushers. Ideally, if a team can get pressure with only four pass rushers consistently, they have a great chance to beat this Chiefs team. Not only that, but if you have an elite or soon-to-be elite (Justin Herbert) QB to match Mahomes offensively, then you’ve got a great shot at beating KC, as the Chargers showed in Week 3.
The AFC West looks like one of the tougher divisions in the NFL so far this season, and the Chiefs are sitting all alone in last place. It might be time to stop with the shenanigans, and the no-look passes, as Mahomes had one of his specialties picked off in the loss to the Chargers. The placement of that no-look pass was just behind the wide receiver, so that it went off his fingertips and right into the hands of a diving Chargers defender. That was one of two Mahomes INTs in the game. This play alone didn’t decide the game and was early on, but it ended a 10-play drive in which the Chiefs were marching down the field to score.
I’m not saying the Chiefs are in danger of losing control over this division because it’s clear that it’s already happened. By that, I mean the Chiefs can no longer steamroll through this division the way they have since Mahomes took over the starting job. Watch out, Chiefs fans. You once again have some competition for that division crown you’ve owned for the past few years.