The Kansas City Chiefs’ high-powered offense can score at any point on the field. However, they almost have to because of the defense’s inability to stop even the most average offense.
With 2:30 left to play on Sunday, the Chiefs were hanging on to a two-score lead against the Philadelphia Eagles. With 3rd & 6 upcoming, the thought was that Mahomes would hand it off to run out the clock. Wrong. With a defender in his face, Mahomes dropped back and heaved a 44-yard bomb to Tyreek Hill for a back-breaking touchdown. The Eagles would score again with four seconds left to cut the deficit back to 12. However, it still proved to be a pretty convincing win for the Chiefs.
How come it didn’t feel that way, though? Why did it feel like the Chiefs were in a dog fight when essentially they blew out the Eagles?
The defense. That’s why.
The defense can keep opposing teams in the game no matter how good Mahomes and company look. Poor tackling, third-down failures, and miscommunication, in general, have caused this Chiefs defense to regress to 2018 fully. The 2018 Chiefs at least had a pass rush. As a team, they had 52 sacks for the year. This year’s defense is off of that pass by more than 22 sacks, and that is with an extra game added to the schedule. According to ESPN Analytics, the Chiefs have a pass rush win rate of only 38%, ranking 24th in the league.
Pass rush certainly isn’t the only issue with this year’s defensive squad. The defense appears to be collectively bad at all phases. The Chiefs are 31st in points and yards allowed. They are dead last in rushing touchdowns and red zone touchdowns permitted, and they are letting opposing offenses gain an alarming 6.9 yards per play, which is also a league-worst. The Chiefs also fail to get off the field more than any other team and can give up first downs at will.
It is borderline comical that the defense could be just as bad as the offense is good. That’s how they were able to beat teams like the Eagles and Browns. They just outdid their opponent offensively. They couldn’t do that to the Ravens and Chargers because the offense wasn’t perfect.
That seems to be what Brett Veach is making his priority. With the Chiefs’ recent free agency move last week, it looks like the plan isn’t to fix the defense but to perfect the offense.
Newly signed wide receiver Josh Gordon is proof that the Chiefs are planning to stick with their flawed defense and try to score 40 points a game. In all honesty, it’s not the worst idea out there. If Gordon can return back to the receiver that he once was (and that’s a big if), it will give the Kansas City Chiefs two number one caliber receivers.
Defenses will be forced to cover Tyreek Hill differently and allow both of them to have more one-on-one opportunities. What is even scarier is that Hill had 11 receptions, 186 yards, and three touchdowns against the Eagles without Gordon. He could be even more dangerous with Josh Gordon. So could Travis Kelce and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Gordon will make this Chiefs offense as close to perfect as any offense could be.
To be fair, Gordon hasn’t played an NFL game since December of 2019, and he turned 30 years old back in April, but because of his various suspensions, there should be a lot of tread on those tires still. Plus, there have been reports that Gordon has returned to the league in amazing shape and looks, as Ian Rapoport puts it, “like a gazelle.”
That has to be exciting to hear if you are a Chiefs fan. Who needs a defense when you’ve got a cheetah and a gazelle? Plus, the fans may not have to wait long to see Gordon in action, as Andy Reid stated in Monday’s press conference that Gordon might suit up in this week’s matchup against the Bills.
“I’m going to just see how he does this week,” Reid said. “And talk to him — I haven’t talked to him today, but we’ll just see kind of where he’s at and how he’s feeling. There’s a chance, but there’s a chance that he’s not, also. So I’m going to just kind of play it by ear and see how he feels.
“It really is more of just a comfort thing with the offense. I don’t want to put him in a bad situation out there.”
The Chiefs take on the Buffalo Bills this Sunday night at home. The Bills have been a defensive juggernaut through four weeks, allowing the least amount of yards this season. That may come to an end once Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and possibly Josh Gordon face off against them.