Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs almost saw their 2021 season fall apart at the seams. They won a game on Monday Night Football, beating the New York Giants by a score of 20-17, but even the final score doesn’t say just how close that game was to going the other way.
A win is a win, so neither Mahomes nor the rest of his teammates will apologize. A close win against a bad team is still impressive enough in the NFL. The other guys get paid, too, after all, and the Giants were undoubtedly up to the challenge.
Ultimately, the Chiefs walked away from that challenge with a 4-4 record, finally back to .500 after a surprisingly bad start to the 2021 NFL season.
Once thought a Super Bowl contender, the Chiefs are currently fighting for their NFL lives. They’ll live to fight another day, but things came oh so very close to unraveling on them late in the game on Monday night.
The Chiefs may have won, but they still have some significant issues.
The New York Giants bailed out Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs
There was a point late in the fourth quarter when the Giants actually had the Chiefs right where they wanted them.
With the ballgame tied at 17, a holding penalty on Orlando Brown Jr. gave the Chiefs a 1st-and-20 backed up on their own 19-yard line. On the very next play, New York cornerback Darnay Holmes stepped in front of a somewhat lazy downfield pass and intercepted Mahomes at the 34-yard line.
It seemed like a potentially game-winning play for the Giants, who would have had the opportunity to bleed the clock in Kansas City territory and play for a winning field goal or better. Of course, there was a penalty on the play. Oshane Ximines was called for an offsides penalty before the snap, which wiped out the opportunity for New York.
One could argue that the Giants really lost the game with that penalty, but their fate was basically sealed on the very next play. Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a 13-yard strike, and a penalty on Tae Crowder tacked on 15 additional yards.
The Chiefs got the ball with a 1st-and-10 on the New York 47, and a few plays later, they kicked what ended up being the game-winning field goal. While not reviewable, a replay of the Kelce catch and run showed that Crowder did not commit the facemask penalty.
In two plays, the game was basically handed to Mahomes and the Chiefs.
There’s still something wrong with Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense
Previously thought of as one of the most explosive offenses the NFL has ever seen, the Chiefs struggled again on Monday night.
The offense put just two touchdowns on the board, and Mahomes once again threw an interception. He was 29-of-49 for just 275 yards, one touchdown, and the aforementioned interception. He would have thrown two picks had the Holmes interceptions stood.
Monday marked the seventh straight game Mahomes has thrown a pick, and he’s thrown 10 on the season so far. Including two interceptions in Kansas City’s Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he’s thrown 18 since the start of the 2020 season.
In general, Kansas City’s offense has been incredibly average in 2021, and that continued against the Giants.
The Chiefs were only 5-of-12 on third down. They gained a pedestrian 4.8 yards per play, which is a far cry from the explosive offense we’ve seen in the past. Tyreek Hill’s longest reception was 15 yards.
Something seems off. According to Mahomes, who spoke on the television broadcast after the win, it comes down to execution or lack thereof.
“It’s a microcosm of the whole entire year,” he said of Kansas City’s up-and-down performance on offense. “We have great moments, and we have bad moments. If we want to be who we want to be, we have to get better and execute better for a full game.”
Kansas City is still not out of the woods just yet
The interception that got called back, along with the facemask that wasn’t, really saved Kansas City’s bacon. A loss to New York would have dropped the Chiefs to 3-5 on the season with a remarkably tough stretch of games coming up.
The Chiefs still aren’t guaranteed to make it through the rest of November unscathed, but the win against New York at the very least allowed Kansas City to stay afloat and give itself a chance now that the weather has turned.
Up next for the Chiefs is Aaron Rodgers and the 7-1 Green Bay Packers. The Pack will be off a mini-bye of sorts, having just beat the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football. Green Bay will have 10 days of rest between games compared to just six for Kansas City. The Packers are arguably the hottest team in the NFL, and they’re on their way to finally getting healthy. Even at Arrowhead, a win is far from a guarantee for the Chiefs.
After the Green Bay game, Kansas City has to travel to take on the AFC West-leading Las Vegas Raiders, currently boasting a 5-2 record.
The game after that has the Dallas Cowboys coming to town.
The ‘Boys are currently 6-1 and should have a fully healthy Dak Prescott by that contest. With games against the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons coming up for Dallas, there’s a good chance the Cowboys will be 8-1 by the time they head to Kansas City.
So yes, Monday night’s win over the Giants essentially saved the season for the Chiefs.
Now the question is: For how long?