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The Chiefs’ Nightmare on Christmas

The Chiefs were riding high going into their Week 10 bye week. Winners of seven of their previous eight games, Kansas City sat at an impressive 7-2. Since then, the wheels have completely fallen off.

There is no sugarcoating it, the Chiefs got flat out embarrassed during their Christmas home game against the Raiders. The entire game was a microcosm of their disappointing season thus far.

The Super Bowl champions had a plethora of penalties that either killed their own drives or extended that of their opponent. These fouls are mostly mental, signifying a lack of discipline and attention to detail on the field.

Like they’ve done all season, they also dropped key passes that killed momentum. These mistakes have been frustrating their franchise quarterback Patrick Mahomes for weeks.

Starting with the heartbreaking loss to Buffalo a couple weeks ago, Mahomes has been seen cursing out officials and his teammates every week.

As someone who is not used to losing so much in such frustrating ways, Mahomes has been letting the entire world hear about it.

This amount of intense emotion for someone usually as calm and collected as the Kansas City star is a sign of distrust and uncertainty.

Typically, you can pencil the Chiefs into the AFC Championship Game as soon as the season starts. But this year just feels different for the Chiefs.

After their debacle against Las Vegas, the Chiefs fell to 9-6. They have dropped four of their last six games and appear to be in total freefall.

The unusual struggles for the juggernaut may be attributed to a massive shift in philosophy. Their team identity has been completely flipped this season.

Perhaps the biggest problem for Kansas City this year has been the lack of any big plays. An offense that is used to launching deep shots and putting up gaudy passing numbers has been reduced to a methodical, grind it out philosophy.

With the emergence of running back Isiah Pacheco last season, the Chiefs have attempted to lean on the run game more than ever before.

Unfortunately, due to the poor receiver play from Kansas City’s pass catchers, opposing defenses actually want to make Mahomes throw the ball and have been keying in on the run.

For once in his career, The Kansas City front office has supplied Patrick Mahomes with an elite defense. The unit, which is usually one of the worst in the league, has been stellar all season long. The only problem is the once generational offense that was must see television has become downright unwatchable.

Even after Mahomes saw his team trade away their superstar receiver Tyreek Hill, he still managed over 5,000 yards and over 40 touchdowns last season.

But with the losses of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman in free agency this offseason, Mahomes has struggled to find his footing along with the rest of the offense.

Smith-Schuster has proven to be one of the best third down targets in the NFL, consistently being among the league leaders in first downs gained.

And although his stats weren’t impressive, Hardman stretched out defenses and opened more space for his teammates to get open.

Without these key cogs in the machine, Mahomes has struggled to find a reliable target all season. With the absence of good receiver play, it has allowed defenses to focus all their attention on Travis Kelce.

Because there is nobody to attract attention away from him, his production has dropped off considerably. Kelce is set to record his lowest touchdown total since 2019 and his lowest receiving total since 2017.

To make matters worse, the reigning champions lead the league in dropped passes. So, on the off chance that a Chiefs receiver finds a way to get open, the chances of them dropping the pass are about as likely as a completion.

The entire year has been a nightmare for the storied franchise. For the first time in the Mahomes era, nobody is sure if they can right the ship in time.

As the regular season winds down and the team is backing into the playoffs, Kansas City is starting to feel like a broken team. This may very well be a lost season for a team who has dominated the AFC for over a half a decade now.


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