The Kansas City Chiefs are at the bottom of the AFC West after a 2-3 start to the year and a loss against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football. After Patrick Mahomes led them to back-to-back Super Bowls, the 2021 season has been a sluggish beginning for the Chiefs.
After the loss to the Bills, it was reported that running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire will miss a few weeks with an MCL sprain. The timing of the injury is unfortunate as the former LSU star was finally get into a rhythm after a slow start to the season.
Nonetheless, this is a massive blow to the Chiefs and will put even more pressure on Mahomes to turn this team around after a 2-3 start to the campaign.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire injury is a huge bump in the road
The Chiefs’ struggles are confusing, especially after consecutive AFC championships. Nonetheless, here we are as Kansas City sits behind the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, and the Denver Broncos for the time being.
Edwards-Helaire had just 89 rushing yards through the first two games but then had back-to-back 100-yard outings and was finally getting the ball rolling.
Against the Bills, Kansas City struggled to run the ball and went to the air as Mahomes threw 54 passes for 272 yards. Moreover, the lack of a reliable running game puts more strain on Mahomes and the team’s top pass-catchers– Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.
The hope is that Edwards-Helaire can return in a few weeks, but it might be too much to overcome with the Chiefs’ backs against the walls.
Who steps in for Edwards-Helaire?
The easy successor for Edwards-Helaire is Darrel Williams. The backup had five carries for 27 yards and caught three passes for 18 yards against a tough Buffalo front. The Chiefs will also lean more on Jerick McKinnon.
However, nobody can step in and fills the shoes of the Chiefs starting back.
The loss of Edwards-Helaire probably means more passing plays and more pressure for Mahomes. The superstar signal-caller has had a rough start to the year, throwing for 1490 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. In 2020, Mahomes threw six interceptions all year and just five in 2019.
Opposing defenses have begun to zero in on the Chiefs’ game plan and frustrate Mahomes with continuous pressure, just like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did in the Super Bowl back in February.
The silver lining for Mahomes and the Chiefs going forward
The Chiefs aren’t doing as well as everybody expected. However, there is a silver lining from now on. The next three games are against the Washington Football Team, Tennessee Titans, and the New York Giants. All three of those matchups should have the Chiefs as the favorites and give them a golden opportunity to go from 2-3 to 5-3.
After that, it gets back to business with the Green Bay Packers, Raiders, and Dallas Cowboys before heading into their bye, so the time to win is now.
The Chiefs have other issues of their own— primarily the defense. The defensive unit is last in points against and has allowed 30 points or more in four of the five games, with the 5th game being a 33-29 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
The former Super Bowl MVP and richest man in the NFL has no choice but to step up and shoulder the heavy load for one of the most talented offenses in the league.
The question is, can he do it?
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference