A Week 2 AFC West divisional game against a talented Los Angeles Chargers team led to fireworks in the brand new SoFi Stadium. Squeaking out a 23-20 win, Kansas City showed, yet again, that they can hang with anyone and everyone in the NFL.
In a game that was close up until the final seconds, Los Angeles made sure that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid earned the victory to put Kansas City up 2-0 on the season. A tight game, as predicted by yours truly, definitely gives us plenty to talk about and review moving forward, and here’s hoping the Chiefs are taking notes for their Monday Night Football showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.
So, let’s start off with what went right.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
As predicted in the game preview, Kansas City took advantage of their mismatches, with the trio of Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Darrel Williams making up 60% of the Chiefs’ passing offense on 16 catches. Kelce had himself a day, with nine catches for 90 yards and a score, propelling the Chiefs back from the hole they dug themselves in early on. CEH didn’t have the greatest game on the ground, but he consistently made defenders miss with the ball in his hands, building upon his performance from last week.
Another rookie on the Chiefs continuing to make his presence known is CB L’Jarius Sneed. Earlier, I wrote about how Sneed would be looking to build upon his performance against the Houston Texans, and he did just that. While he definitely made some rookie mistakes and whiffed on a few coverages, he was solid most of the game and came up with his second interception, giving him the most in the league. Granted, it’s only Week 2, but Sneed is looking like he may not give up his starting spot once Bashaud Breeland comes back from his suspension. This will absolutely be a good problem for Steve Spagnuolo to have. You can never have too many good corners.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Did Patrick Mahomes pass for 302 yards and two touchdowns? Yes.
Does this mean that the Chiefs’ passing offense was in sync? Absolutely not.
As I predicted, the Chargers’ corners gave the Chiefs WR corps fits on Sunday. And while, yes, Tyreek Hill had five catches for 99 yards and a score, 54 of his yards and the TD came on one play in the fourth quarter. Mahomes’ 57% completion rate wasn’t exactly ideal either, with his WRs plagued with drops after he started the game going 2-of-8 passing.
Unless that QB is Lamar Jackson or Cam Newton, it normally isn’t a good thing when your QB leads the team in rushing by a fair amount. However, that’s exactly what happened. Clyde Edwards-Helaire struggled to find lanes in the run game, leading Patrick Mahomes’ scrambles to fuel the run game. With Kansas City getting stuck in 3rd-and-long situations frequently, they allowed the L.A. secondary to sit back and blanket the field with coverage. The Chiefs still have Patrick Mahomes, but without their run game, they might struggle more than anticipated.
Overall, Kansas City did enough to win the game, but Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn seems to be getting the hang of things. Expect their second go-around to be just as exciting.
So uh… where the f*** was the defense?
Steve Spagnuolo’s crew was roasted in this game. While the score doesn’t indicate it, the Chargers put up nearly 500 yards of offense against the Chiefs’ defense. Hunter Henry and Keenan Allen shredded the secondary, while Austin Ekeler gashed them on the ground as a change-of-pace back to Joshua Kelley.
There were plenty of wide-open targets and a lot of poor tackling by the linebackers to go along with only two sacks. Rookie QB Justin Herbert looked comfortable in the pocket, and was, thus, able to slice apart the Chiefs’ secondary. L’Jaruis Sneed was the only redeeming part of the defensive backfield with his interception. Still, there’s very little positive here.
If Kansas City hopes to keep their place as number-one in the AFC, they’ll need to fix these issues before their Week 3 match-up in Baltimore. Otherwise, things may not end as well as they did on Sunday.
(Featured Image Credit: Chiefs.com)