Going into Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had started 52 games during his NFL career, scoring fewer than 21 points just four times. The team had scored fewer than 10 points just once: in their 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.
So the team’s 27-3 loss to the Titans was uncharted NFL territory for Mahomes — and even for offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who had never seen the Chiefs score fewer than seven points in any game during this nine years as one of the team’s coaches.
“You’ve got to give the other team some credit,” Bieniemy told reporters on Friday. “You know, Tennessee did a hell of a job. Let’s be frank. Let’s be honest: they kicked our ass.
“So when you get your ass kicked, you re-evaluate everything. So guys have to take a look at themselves [and] coaches have to take a look at themselves.”
Still, Bieniemy said that the team’s coaches were going to stick to their routines.
“You keep coaching,” he explained. ”You don’t change anything. You keep coaching all the fundamentals and all the necessary things that have helped them get to a point to where that wasn’t an issue.
“No one ever wants to go into a game [by] turning over the football — but at certain times, things happened. The thing that we need to do is make sure that we have the wherewithal to overcome the adversity and make something positive happen. So just like I told the guys: ‘We’ve got to create our own luck.’”
Bieniemy said that would come down to playing against their opponents — rather than themselves.
“We’ve got to get out of our own way,” he said. “We’ve got to eliminate the penalties. We’ve got to stop being our worst enemy. And I think if we can get out of our own way — and start playing against the opponent — we have a chance.”
He also said that modern NFL players fighting their way from a lousy start face an additional problem — one that he never had to worry about during his playing days in the 1990s.
“I understand: these guys live in the social media day and age — where they feel the pressure of being perfect. [But] there’s no such thing as perfection. We want to strive for it — and you want to try and achieve it — but it’s tough.”
Still, the offensive coordinator continued to emphasize one of the points that he and head coach Andy Reid routinely make: their players must be allowed to be themselves.
“You want your guys to let their personalities show,” maintained Bieniemy. “’Be yourselves. Relax. Go play football.’ This game is meant to be fun. When our guys are having fun — when they’re relaxed, when they’re playing for a purpose and when they’re accountable to one another — that’s when we’re at our best.”
It’s undoubtedly true that there has been little about the Chiefs’ season during the first seven weeks that could reasonably be described as fun. But if that continues to be the case when the team hosts the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, it’s hard to imagine that the rest of the season will be much fun, either.