The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Dolphins (33-27) by barely surviving, again.
As I’ve argued for weeks, the Chiefs play well for one and a half good quarters a game. In addition, they keep each game close and can’t cover a spread.
Kansas City has won 12 games and has played poorly for stretches in 10 of them. The champs either a) fall behind early and need to win the game late; or b), come out hot then fail to put the opponent away. In both cases, the final possession decides the game.
Sunday’s ugly win highlighted both trends. Kansas City fell behind 10-0, got hot in the second quarter and early in the third — only to struggle by nearly blowing a three-touchdown fourth-quarter lead. For the fifth straight week, the Chiefs failed to cover. (Yet, Vegas keeps handing them large spreads. Bet on the Saints tomorrow morning, fast.)
Historically speaking, the Chiefs are a poor 12-1 team. They can’t put it together for an entire game. In the red zone, no team is worse right now. Defensively, the Chiefs are closer to bad than average. What’s more, the offense is playing carelessly, leaving multiple points on the field weekly.
If last week’s sluggish, mistake-ridden game against Denver didn’t wake Kansas City up, the vehicle isn’t asleep at the wheel. Instead, it’s flawed with problems not easily fixable. This isn’t light-switch anymore, it’s an identity. For five straight weeks, the Chiefs’ problems have glared.
Alarmingly, none of Kansas City’s recent opponents are Super Bowl-caliber. This style of play will not beat the Bills, Steelers, Packers, or Saints.
As for Patrick Mahomes, he has gone from MVP frontrunner at the end of the first quarter versus the Bucs, to clear No. 2 with three interceptions on Sunday. His interception total was his case over Aaron Rodgers. Now, Mahomes has thrown more picks than Rodgers*, four fewer touchdowns, and his passer rating is several points behind.
Last December, Kansas City was the NFL’s hottest team, which led to a Super Bowl victory. This season’s version is going in the wrong direction.
*Aaron Rodgers is playing in the afternoon window and currently has two touchdown passes.