The Kansas City Chiefs are reeling right now and desperate for a win. Patrick Mahomes has struggled at times, which clouds the team’s outlook for the rest of the 2021 NFL season. Mahomes hears the noise, but the All-Pro quarterback believes Kansas City can turn things around before it’s too late.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are actually getting criticized
The Kansas City Chiefs are sitting at 3-4 after getting smacked around by the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. The 2021 version of the Chiefs looks nothing like the team that’s dominated the rest of the NFL over the past several years.
Before 2021, Patrick Mahomes had little competition for the top spot among the league’s best young quarterbacks. Now, he has more competition than ever before. Counterparts like Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, and Joe Burrow are outperforming him right now.
The Texas Tech product has thrown for 2,093 yards and 18 touchdowns through seven games. However, he’s also thrown nine interceptions and fumbled four times. His recklessness has only made matters worse for Kansas City.
ESPN’s Bart Scott suggested that the reason for Mahomes’ struggles is a “lack of trust.” The Chiefs have a makeshift offensive line and one of the NFL’s worst defenses.
It’s highly uncommon for Andy Reid‘s squad to play this poorly, but here we are. The team has underperformed, considering the standard it set for itself since Mahomes entered the league.
Mahomes responds to claims that the NFL has figured him out
Before the 2021 regular season kicked off, ESPN‘s Jeremy Fowler reported that players around the league claimed they were starting to figure out Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. However, he’s exceeded expectations so far. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have not.
Mahomes has turned the football over at a rate that is uncommon for him. The three-time Pro Bowler joined The Rich Eisen Show to discuss Kansas City’s early-season woes and what to expect moving forward.
“I think it’s just execution,” said Mahomes. “I believe that we have the guys, we have the players, we have the coaches to do whatever we really want. In the NFL, if you don’t execute, you lose football games.”
The Chiefs have lost games to several AFC contenders, including the Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, and Tennessee Titans. In the past, this team has had its way with all of those opponents. However, something is different about the 2021 squad.
Mahomes still has the utmost confidence in his teammates and coaches despite their startling record. The 26-year-old signal-caller also doesn’t think the league has figured him out.
“I feel like we’ve still done a lot of great things offensively. We obviously didn’t have the game we wanted to have last week,” said Mahomes. “I think if we get things rolling, we execute, and cut down on the turnovers, I think this offense can still be pretty special.”
The Tyler, Texas, native also praised head coach Andy Reid. “When you have Coach Reid coaching, I don’t think he’s been figured out too many times,” he said.
Despite the mistakes, the league has not figured out Mahomes
The Kansas City Chiefs are certainly underachieving so far in 2021. That’s not up for debate. Patrick Mahomes also needs to play better. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the NFL has figured him out.
Mahomes’ miscues aren’t the only reason Kansas City currently has a 3-4 record. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was supposed to be a big part of this offense, but he’s out with a sprained MCL. The offensive line has not played up to expectations, either. Opposing defenses have sacked the former MVP quarterback 14 times through seven games.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defense is far more concerning than the Chiefs’ offense. The unit is currently at the bottom of the barrel and is holding this team back more than anything else.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Super Bowl champion with a bottom-five defense. It just doesn’t happen. Mahomes is forcing things as a result, and it gets him into a lot of trouble on the field. Even if he won’t admit it, he appears to be trying to do too much.
Kansas City’s offense is not lacking talent like the defense is. It does need to execute much better than it has. However, the league hasn’t figured out Patrick Mahomes.
With arm talent like his, there’s nothing to figure out. Mahomes needs to figure it out, though, and quick. Otherwise, the Chiefs will miss the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference