Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy did not wait for a reporter question — instead, he addressed the topic head-on in his opening statement.
“To start this off, last week I didn’t think our guys played a clean game,” admitted Bieniemy, speaking about the Chiefs’ narrow victory against the Chargers in Los Angeles.
The Chiefs were outgained 106-77 in the first half and fell into a 17-6 deficit. In the end, the Chiefs still won 23-20 in overtime.
“One thing I am proud of is that they showed a lot of resiliency,” added Bieniemy. “I thought they did a heck of a job of finding a way to put us in position to give us an opportunity to have a chance of winning. I love the grit that we showed, but we do understand we’ve got some things to work on. We started with that [Thursday] in practice, and on top of that, early in the week with film work and I think our guys, playing in that game got their attention.”
As he does every week, our own Kent Swanson reviewed Mahomes on Monday, and he noticed uncharacteristic off-throws and some errant depth taken on some of his dropbacks. The Chargers offering one of the best fronts in the league did not help matters — and neither did the Chiefs’ pass-catchers, who dropped five passes.
“It’s a combination of everything — it’s us. We’re just out of sync,” Bieniemy recognized. “Last week, it was a tough deal — it was tough. It was the first time our guys have played in an empty stadium. We’re living in a different day and age. My message to them at halftime was like, ‘The only thing I want to see and find out is who loves the game?’ I know it’s a different environment; it’s a different atmosphere. But we’ve got to have the ability to shut all that out. It’s about living in the now and making sure that we’re maximizing this opportunity. So if we love it, we’re going to find a way to overcome it.
“So yeah. We were out of sync. It could be Pat drifting, it could be us not executing up front, it could be guys not getting open downfield, but when it’s all said and done with, collectively, we all have to do a better job, and that starts with us as coaches.”
The Chargers pressured Mahomes on 16 occasions on Sunday — and the challenge could possibly get more difficult on Monday night, as the Ravens enter the game with notable additions to what had already been a strong defensive unit.
“To bring in Calais (Campbell), to bring in Derek Wolfe, they’ve got some younger guys, (Tyus) Bowser has been playing really well, they still have (Pernell) McPhee there who seems like he’s been there forever, and he’s still playing awesome football,” right tackle Mitch Schwartz said on Thursday. “You’ve got a lot of guys, they tend to like to blitz a lot too, go one on one a lot so they can roll those guys through. Everyone’s a little bit different and they’re all good players. They do a really good job of it. Who you’re going against isn’t as cookie-cutter as some weeks where, ‘Oh, I’m going to see this guy 85% of the snaps.’ You’re going to get a rotation of them. They’re able to roll through. The front seven seems like its 12 or 13 deep, and it’s pretty much all awesome players.”
The Ravens have blitzed 47.1% of the time in 2020 so far, sacking the quarterback six times in wins over the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans. They have allowed only 4.9 yards per play, fourth-best in the entire league. Their starting cornerbacks — Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters — each have recorded one interception.
Beating that type of unit will require improved play across the board — starting with Mahomes.
“I’s just all going to be all about execution,” Mahomes said. “When you play defense like this that does a lot of different things, very multiple, do a lot of different blitzes, a lot of different coverages you have to make sure that you’re ready to go and have answers for everything.
“I’ll just try to do whatever I can to make sure I’m prepared for everything they can show us and whenever they give us a non-scouted look, try to have a positive play and then get to the sideline and figure out the best way to go about it for the rest of the game.”