KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs are 5-1 but they still leave a lot to be desired.
Most fans would be highly satisfied with their favorite team averaging almost 25 points a game with five wins and leading the division. But for fans of the defending Super Bowl champions, beating the lowly Denver Broncos by a score of 19-8 with one offensive touchdown does not breed overflowing success.
The yards always come in bunches for the Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes threw for 306 yards, Travis Kelce caught nine balls for 124 yards and Isiah Pacheco finished with 98 total yards (62 rushing, 36 receiving).
But the Chiefs stumbled in the red zone multiple times.
An interception when Mahomes’ leg is wrapped up by a defender and he throws a ball up to Kelce and a fake field goal sneak gets stalled (both after a 3-0 lead in the first quarter).
In terms of scoring, the Chiefs were 4 for 5 in red zone trips. One touchdown to Kadarius Toney, two field goals and the two Denver stops. The Chiefs also did not reach the red zone for the rest of the game after their first third-quarter possession.
Head coach Andy Reid regretted the fake field goal call after the game.
“I shouldn’t have called that,” he said. “It was two yards right there and probably a little bit too far. We were trying to stay aggressive with it but probably want that one back.”
Reid also said Denver’s defense was playing soft zone coverage in the red zone which led to his playcalling.
“I could’ve called some different plays,” Reid said.
“I thought we did a great job of staying patient [and] getting the ball down the field but in this league, three points and seven points is such a big difference,” Mahomes said.
“I think if we found a way to execute in the red zone and score those touchdowns, we come away feeling great. So since we didn’t, we have a lot of room to improve. And so that’s something that we continue to work on. It’s just putting a full game together. I think we’ve had spurts of playing good, middle of the field had spurts of playing good. In the red zone, let’s put a full game together and see what we can do.”
The Chiefs are top ten in the league in points per game. Without the 41 points against the Chicago Bears, they would fall to the bottom half of the league in points per game.
As the offense goes through the pains of a new offensive coordinator and working with young, unproven receivers, they are grateful to have a defense that’s only giving up 14.8 points a game which is top five in the league.
And Mahomes pointed out how receivers like rookie Rashee Rice (who is slowly becoming dependable) and Skyy Moore make clutch catches late to seal the win and are slowly getting better.
“We’re lucky enough that defense is playing so good, especially if you’re playing so good that we can still win football games and I still feel like at times when it’s most needed,” Mahomes said.
“Guys were making plays when it counts. But as we continue on the season, we have to continue to get better and better so that hopefully when we get to the playoffs, we’re hitting our stride when we can really kind of match our defense as far as intensity.”
The Chiefs host the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at 3:25 p.m.