Same Old Chiefs…Not!
Patrick Mahomes has transformed the Chiefs into a powerhouse in the AFC for years to come. The narrative going around the Twitter universe that the Chiefs are the ‘same old Chiefs’ is ridiculous. They are not the ‘same old Chiefs’ that many in the media think they are. It could not be further from the truth because of one man, and that is quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. The Kansas City Chiefs have not had a quarterback this talented ever in their 59 year history.
Let’s travel back in time through the dreadful quarterback history of the Chiefs.
In 1993, when KC made the AFC Championship they had an injured Joe Montana that was running on fumes. He was their last truly great quarterback. Then came the long line of mediocre-to-good quarterbacks that could never get the Chiefs over the hump despite having some really good defences. Guys like Steve Bono, Rich Gannon, Elvis Grbac, Trent Green, Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Kyle Orton, and Alex Smith. And people wonder why KC had been mired in mediocrity until Mahomes was drafted in a blockbuster draft-day trade that changed the franchise forever.
Changing the Narrative
Despite being just 23-years old, Mahomes is breaking records held by multiple different Hall of Fame quarterbacks. On Sunday night’s thrashing of the Cincinnati Bengals, Mahomes threw his 22nd passing touchdown of the season breaking Kurt Warner‘s 21 record for the most touchdowns in a QBs first 8 games. He still has a game to spare as well. Mahomes is changing the narrative of ‘same old Chiefs.’.
Alex Smith threw 26 touchdowns the entire 2017 season. In 2016, he threw for 15 touchdowns. The 2018 Chiefs are first in points and third in total offensive yards. They dropped 45 points on the Bengals without breaking a sweat.
A young superstar quarterback is the best spot hold in today’s NFL. They are on their cheap rookie contract for four years before their fifth-year option. This allows you to spend and build around the quarterback. The Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams have followed this model and now, the Kansas City Chiefs are following suit. Mahomes makes plays that maybe a handful of quarterbacks can make. He has flourished the past four weeks in primetime games versus the likes of the Broncos, Jaguars, Patriots and Bengals.
Last year after a 5-0 start, Smith went through a midseason lull going 1-6 in his next 7 starts. Smith became gun shy and could not beat simple cover 2 defences. He was too scared to make the big mistake instead of putting the team on his back. Unlike his predecessor, Mahomes proved that he can carry a team. This was on display in a Monday night comeback win in Denver. After a disappointing loss 43-40 in New England, Mahomes and the Chiefs bounced back by destroying the Bengals 45-10. Last year after a 5-0 start, Alex Smith lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-13. This loss scarred the team moving forward taking multiple weeks to get back to their winning ways. Mahomes can carry an defence and will them to victory. This is why the 2018 Chiefs are not your daddy’s Chiefs.
The Chiefs defence has played terribly over the first 6 weeks. They are 31st against the pass, 32nd in yards against, and 22nd in points allowed. All of this while suffering multiple defensive injuries. Yet, they held a pretty good Bengals offence to 10 points on Sunday night.
They are still without their alpha dog on defence in Eric Berry. Berry is still out with a heel injury. Berry is one of the three best safeties in football when healthy. He single-handedly took out Rob Gronkowski last year in their rout of the New England Patriots on their banner night. Justin Houston, one of the best pass rushers in football, is out with a hamstring injury. Reggie Ragland and Anthony Hitchens both missed time in preseason. The Chiefs are down to their 4th and 5th safeties after losing Berry, Daniel Sorensen, and Eric Murray.
Despite their shortcomings, the defence is finally starting to get contributions from their rookie draft picks. Dorian O’Daniel shutdown Joe Mixon in coverage Sunday night. Breeland Speaks is playing well and getting after the quarterback. Derrick Nnadi is flourishing at nose tackle. Their cornerbacks have played pretty well and newcomer Jordan Lucas is flashing at free safety. They are 12th in interceptions with seven total as a team. The two major problems that have plagued the defence have been tackling and explosive plays. Against the Bengals, KC was outstanding.
The defence, in my opinion, will play a lot better moving forward. They do not need to be a top-five defence. They just need to be an average defence. Getting Berry and the other injured safeties back over the coming weeks will help improve the pass defence. The tackling has been much better the past three weeks. One bright spot for this team is third down defence. They are seventh in third-down defence. Their ability to get off the field on third down is one of the most critical stats for a defence because the most important down in football is third down. KC gets after the quarterback really well. They are tied with seven teams with 19 sack5s.
Chiefs Will Compete for a Super Bowl in 2018 and Beyond
Having one of the best young quarterbacks in the league moving forward will be a major factor when talking about the Chiefs and competing for Super Bowls. The NFL is a quarterback league and you have to have great ones to compete for championships year in and year out. Some may say, “well you can win with guys like Alex Smith, Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, Joe Flacco, Trent Dilfer, etc.” That’s true to an extent but you must have a generational type defence or that mediocre quarterback needs to have one of the greatest stretches in the playoffs as Flacco and Foles accomplished. They both still had really good defences. KC tried winning with Smith but went 1-4 in the playoffs under his leadership.
Mahomes and this offence are the best in football and one of the most effective in the red zone. They score touchdowns with Mahomes at the helm. Previous years with Smith, they would settle for mostly field goals. When Mahomes gets into the red zone, he scores touchdowns. New England bottled him up for three field goals in the first half. Then in the second half, Mahomes lit Bill Belichick‘s defence up for 31 second-half points. Mahomes finally gives Chiefs fans legitimate hope for the foreseeable future, thus changing the narrative that this Chiefs team ‘are same old Chiefs.’
Embed from Getty Images