For the second time this season, the Kansas City Chiefs had a chance to win late against a projected 2023 playoff team but couldn't overcome their own mistakes. This time around, more wide receiver woes and some lackluster execution elsewhere on offense led to a 21-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11.
Despite getting out to a 17-7 lead over their NFC counterparts in a rematch of Super Bowl LVII, the Chiefs couldn't keep the door completely shut. The reasons for the collapse and the loss were similar to ones from underwhelming victories earlier in the season.
Late on Monday night, head coach Andy Reid stepped up to the podium and attempted to explain what went wrong for Kansas City down the stretch. When asked what's been the driving force behind three consecutive second-half shutouts in games, Reid alluded to the team not being able to get out of its own way.
"I think we're kind of shooting ourselves in the foot," Reid said. "I've got to do a better job helping out with that, and my guys have got to do the same thing. We've all got to pick it up a notch in the second half. We're just not as sharp there. We'll work on that."
Reid mentioned that in the final 30 minutes of play, the Chiefs struggled to maintain control of the Eagles' defensive line. That led to lesser run production in the latter frame of the game, which put the ball in the hands of quarterback Patrick Mahomes more often. Mahomes didn't play his best, yet he still managed to put his pass catchers in positions to succeed. Drops, miscommunications and turnovers dug Kansas City's grave by the end of the night, which shouldn't have surprised anyone. It's been who the Chiefs are all season.
Still, the hope of many was that a Week 10 bye would help iron out some of those rough spots in the Chiefs' offensive attack. Mahomes himself shared that same optimism, although he and his teammates are still dragging on at a similar pace. The two-time MVP acknowledges that improvement has to occur, also arguing that he's as culpable as everyone else.
"I think offensively, we're just not where I would want to be at this point in the season," Mahomes said. "And that's everybody. It starts with me. I can make better throws at certain times. We have to continue to move the ball down the field and just be more consistent thoroughly throughout the game."
Mahomes attempted 27 passes in the second half of the Chiefs' Monday Night Football game at home, amassing just 99 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. After rushing the ball 20 times as a team in the first half, that total was cut in half coming out of the locker room and the club's effectiveness went from a 6.1 yards per carry clip to a 4.7 average mark. Mahomes delivered what may have been a game-winning touchdown pass to wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling late in the fourth quarter, but the veteran receiver dropped it. That, combined with a Travis Kelce fumble in the red zone and other pass-catcher miscues, ended up being too much to overcome.
Even amid the inconsistency, Mahomes says he isn't concerned about the future of the offense. He's confident in his teammates' willingness to match his work ethic and help him figure out how to make things smoother sailing down the stretch of the season. The Chiefs may have wasted a prime opportunity to send the right message on Monday, although another solid one comes on Sunday versus a suddenly resurgent Las Vegas Raiders team. According to Mahomes, the focus now shifts to that.
"I know how hard the guys work at the end of the day," Mahomes said. "You see it. In the first half, you could see the guys moving it down the field [and] you could see we've had spurts where we've played good football offensively. All you can do is go to work and try to get better and better. Obviously, I'm disappointed we lost today like everybody in the locker room. Guys will come back to work knowing we'll play a tough Raiders team this next week on a short week, and we have to find a way to win against a divisional opponent."