KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes is playing well. Just not well enough by his standards.
Through four games, the Kansas City Chiefs QB1 is 10th in passing yards (1,006), fifth in passing TDs (8) and fourth in ESPN’s QB rating index (71.4).
One of the concerns is Mahomes being seventh in interceptions (4), 16th in average yards gained per attempt (7) and 14th in yards gained per completion (10.9).
While the wide receivers have gotten plenty of attention for playing below expectations, Mahomes places the blame on himself.
“I just haven’t played very good to start the season. So I think if I start playing better, everybody will start playing better,” he said Wednesday.
Two of Mahomes’ interceptions came on Sunday against the New York Jets and allowed the Jets to claw their way back into the game from a 17-0 deficit.
Mahomes called those actions “just being greedy” and that he needed to throw the ball away. But the 28-year-old superstar can’t make all of the plays by himself.
The questions around the wide receiving core are warranted.
The receivers make up 588 of the 1,037 passing yards this season, with Justin Watson as the leading receiver with 163 yards.
Most Chiefs fans probably did not have that in their expectations for this season. Head coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday that bringing in receiver help by way of trade or free agency was not an option.
The hyped-up receivers going into the season were Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore.
Toney has only had 54 snaps this season after missing training camp recovering from knee surgery and his most memorable moments have been his drops in the season opener against the Detroit Lions. A sprained toe has kept him in limited action this season and he only has 57 yards on nine catches although his explosiveness is still apparent.
Toney leads the team in average separation in his routes. According to Next Gen Stats, Toney averages 4.1 yards of separation which is eighth in the NFL but he also averages 6.2 yards of cushion, the amount of yards that the defender is playing off of him.
Moore has 112 yards and a TD on seven catches along with averaging three yards of separation on 4.8 yards of cushion.
When asked about the production of his wide receivers, head coach Andy Reid pointed to young players who are slowly grasping the game like rookie Rashee Rice.
“He’s just learning he has all the talent in the world,” Mahomes said about the rookie he trained with before the NFL Draft.
“He’s just learning how to read coverages, how to be in the progression of this offense. And I think you’ll see how talented he is once he makes the catch. And he’s moving down the field. He’s a tough physical runner. He’s explosive. I think as the season goes on, he’ll continue to get better and better.”
Rice is right behind Watson in yards from receivers with 140 yards and a TD on 13 catches while averaging 3.5 yards of separation on 6.2 yards of cushion.
Also, tight end Travis Kelce averages 3.4 yards of separation on 5.9 yards of cushion.
Rice, Watson, Kelce and Moore along with TE Noah Gray (3.7 yards of separation on 6.4 yards of cushion) are the main receivers getting open.
The Chiefs have played three top 15 defenses this season in the Jets, Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars so far this season. They have scored two offensive touchdowns each in those games.
While Kansas City has begun seasons like these before where the offense takes some time to get going, they’re going to work to make it roll like they think it should.
“I think you just have to go out there and keep shooting it down the field. And that’s that’s how I’ve always been wired,” Mahomes said.
“You just come in every single day and work and try to continue to get better. And usually that stuff kind of figures itself out and I’ve had spots like this throughout my career where I haven’t had the best few weeks in a row.
“So I have to make sure that I can go back to the fundamentals and try to be better for the team and then rely on other guys and make plays and I think that’s somewhere where I can be better at just getting the ball out of my hand and these other guys make plays.”
As the Chiefs prepare for a stretch that contains the bottom-tier defenses of the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, they have a chance to get back on track and make the offensive concerns an afterthought.