Kansas City, Mo. (NWN) — The Kansas City Chiefs have reached the end zone so regularly on their early offensive possession this season that even their opponents can stop wasting time and give them just seven points.
The rest of the game is another matter.
Once the chiefs are forced to deviate from their initial script — a set of about 15 plays that are carefully curated and produced over the course of a week of preparation — things start to go sideways. His once dynamic offense looks more like wet firecrackers, forcing his once-malicious defense to bail out in a series of nail-biting victories.
The Chiefs (8-4) still lead the AFC West to five consecutive wins, but they hardly look like themselves.
“Obviously we feel like we’re not playing our best football,” said Patrick Mahomes after Sunday night’s 22-9 win over the Broncos. “We have places where we’re really good and where we’re not scoring and finishing drives.”
His latest win is a perfect example of this. The Chiefs covered 72 yards in 12 plays, averaging 6 per yard, and Mahomes capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. The Chiefs made 42 plays for 195 yards in the remaining game, averaging 4.64 per, and their only other touchdown came on Daniel Sorenson’s 75-yard pick-6 in the fourth quarter.
It is not even an external thing. It is more like a pattern.
In their previous game against Dallas, the Chiefs covered 86 yards in nine plays for a touchdown on their opening drive, then made 57 plays for 284 yards the rest of the way. Against the Packers, he started with a 15-play, 64-yard drive for his only TD and conceded 173 yards for the rest of the day. Against the Giants, he covered 70 yards in 13 plays before an interception gave him a chance to score, then went for 298 yards in 64 plays in the rest of the game.
During their five-match winning streak, the only game they did not score a touchdown on their opening possession came against the Raiders when they were dismissed for three more. But he quickly covered 89 yards in 11 plays for a TD on his next drive.
In his first 12 games, he has scored seven touchdowns and one field goal on his first drive. Two other drives went into at least 10 plays before ending in an interception. Of his initial possessions, only two resulted in a punt.
The Chiefs average about 7 yards per game on their opening drives and 5 1/2 in the rest of the game.
“We need to take care of some of these little things that are killing the drive,” said head coach Andy Reid, who lamented the penalty on Sunday night and Dropped the price of his team against Denver.
“Again, it’s my responsibility to make sure this happens,” Reid said, “and we will.”
what is working
Clyde Edwards-Helair and Darrell Williams combined caught six passes for 88 yards to take 19 moves for 74 yards against Denver. This kind of diversity is exactly what Reed tries to run behind in his crime.
what help do you need
Dropped dice are difficult to track, but Chiefs are probably among the league leaders in them. Tyreek Hill bounced a pass for an interception against Denver for the third time this season, and Byron Pringle and Travis Kells also set up a forgettable night for Kansas City wide receivers.
DE Melvin Ingram hits a half-sack and three quarterbacks against Denver. His takeover from Pittsburgh has revived the Kansas City defense, allowing Chris Jones to move to his natural and more productive position on defensive tackle.
Hill and Kelce rarely have bad games at the same time, but they did on Sunday night. Hill’s drop was the low light of a game in which he caught two passes for 22 yards, and Kells was slightly better with three catches for 27 yards.
Special Teams CB Chris Lemmons suffered an ankle injury against Denver. The Chiefs also lacked RTs Mike Reimers (knee) and Lucas Niang (ribs), allowing third-stringer Andrew Wyllie to start his third consecutive game.
12 – The Chiefs broke the franchise record for consecutive wins against any opponent with their 12th consecutive win against the Broncos. The Chiefs had defeated Denver 11 times from 1964-69.
The Chiefs have a one-game lead over the Chargers and two-game leads over the Broncos and Raiders in their game against Las Vegas on Sunday. They are also tied with the Titans and Ravens in the AFC, although they lost in one-on-one matchups with Tennessee and Baltimore.
More NWN NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl & https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 & https://twitter.com/AP_NFL