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Unfortunately, the Kansas City Chiefs won’t be able to go shopping this coming holiday weekend and find amazing deals on wide receivers who can catch or offensive tackles who don’t often draw penalties.
With no trades happening after the deadline and major changes not forthcoming, the Chiefs have serious issues that need to be addressed in some form or another. Otherwise, back-to-back Super Bowl victories won’t be as attainable as a perfectly thrown deep ball to Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Monday’s 21-17 loss to Philadelphia showed why the Chiefs aren’t good enough to guarantee top-dog status in the AFC. The magic of Patrick Mahomes-Travis Kelce is spreading as those around them continue to slow down the offense.
To fully understand how much this unit has lost this season compared to years past, the once-near-unstoppable Chiefs haven’t scored in the second half of three straight games.
AP Photo/Ed Zurga
Everything wrong with the offense can be seen on the last drive, especially the last three plays.
Head coach Andy Reid dialed in the perfect game to win the game. Valdes-Scantling passed veteran Eagles cornerback Bradley Roby. Mahomes delivered a picture-perfect bomb into Valdes-Scantling’s hands, only to see the receiver bobble the ball and drop it like he was Kevin. The office upending his famous chili on “Casual Friday.” This is probably the thing he does best.
According to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, Valdes-Scantling has five dropped passes that have traveled 30 or more yards in the air since the start of the 2018 season. No one else has more than three. What does it matter if a target can be unlocked if he is not a credible threat?
To be fair, the Chiefs won a Super Bowl last season without a real deep threat. Mahomes and Co. adjusted. after the decision to trade Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. Thus, the organization justified the move. However, the franchise hasn’t done enough to adequately address the wide receiver since then.
Yes, general manager Brett Veach brought in the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, who left after just one season, as well as Skyy Moore, Kadarius Tony and Rashee Rice. The team also acquired Mecole Hardman Jr.
Justin Watson seems to be a veteran who has earned Mahomes’ trust. In fact, Watson leads the Chiefs with 11 targets. But he was more than a little disappointed.
After dropping Valdes-Scantling, the Chiefs still have life. After all, this is Mahomes. He will do something. Instead, some push inside the pocket allowing the pressure to come off the edge and lead to an intentional grounding call, while the quarterback tries to make something out of nothing.
AP Photo/Peter Aiken
Overall, the Chiefs field one of the best offensive interiors in the league. The same cannot be said about their offensive tackles. Signing Jawaan Taylor is an absolute disgrace based on the amount of investment compared to the return on the field.
Kansas City signed its starting right tackle to a four-year, $80 million dollar free agent contract this offseason. His 12 penalties led all NFL players heading into Monday’s action, according to the Football Database. His 80 penalty yards are more than any non-defensive back (because pass interference is a spot foul). So, it was no surprise when he was called for two more false starts during Monday’s action.
On the left side, Donovan Smith is better because the amount of punishment taken is not as severe. For example, officials called Mahomes’ blindside defender for holding on two separate occasions, even though only one was accepted. This is the fifth time this season that the opponent has refused Smith’s penalty.
Either way, the Chiefs’ offense struggled. Think back to the Super Bowl Kansas City lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was done, because it would not protect the Mahomes. While the trio of Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith were good on the interior, Kansas City’s front five was weighed down by subpar offensive tackles.
The third of the aforementioned plays and the Chiefs were finally gasping for a comeback that ricocheted off Watson’s hands. While the 27-year-old receiver provided the Chiefs’ first touchdown, three more occurred. What makes it even worse is the fact that Mahomes did what it took to convert on 4th-and-25, but the ball looked innocently into Watson’s hands.
How ineffective is Kansas City’s offense right now? Take it from someone who started for the team in one of its recent Super Bowl runs.
“The Chiefs offense is what it is because they don’t stop making mistakes,” said former Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. Tweet. “False starts, holding, dropped passes, fumbles, missed assignments. It’s just not a good unit today, especially compared to what we’ve been used to. They just need to make the routine plays regular.”
The entire Chiefs knew exactly who they were going into Monday’s game.
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
“Our defense is playing their tail off,” said Kelce recently New Heights podcast (h/t ESPN’s Adam Teicher). “For us to keep bringing it back, we put them in bad situations and they kept our tail, it became really a part. … It’s not like what we used to be. I have in mind the best offensive mind in the game. We have the best quarterback so it’s unacceptable and we feel that way.
“It’s a challenge at this point in time to get this thing right now before it gets out of control and it gets bad.”
Well, the Chiefs offense didn’t improve against the Eagles. Is it even possible at this point?
Jarvis Landry and Kenny Golladay remain available in free agency. Sammy Watkins can always be brought back. La’el Collins will add competition at offensive tackle. Good options are not available this late in the season. However, the glaring issues found within Kansas City’s offense need something.
Despite everything, the Chiefs are still 7-3. They can still get the No. 1 seed in the AFC. But the expectations should be different and completely upset because they are sitting at a table for family dinner with a few empty seats.
Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @brentsobleski.