At negative-6, the Kansas City Chiefs have one of the worst turnover differentials in the NFL. Ranked 30th, they are hanging out with the likes of the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the turnover basement.
One of the major contributors to the Chiefs' poor turnover differential is the fact that they have fumbled the ball at an alarming rate in recent weeks. Five out of the Chiefs’ 10 fumbles on the season have come in the last four games.
With the playoffs just around the corner, head coach Andy Reid said ball security was at the top of the list of priorities for the Chiefs. To do that, Reid said that the Chiefs needed to get back to the basics.
“You work your fundamentals, your technique, you practice those,” explained Reid. “You keep that ball high and tight when you’re carrying it.”
But fumbles are only part of the equation.
While he is normally excellent at protecting the football, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes struggled two weeks ago against the Denver Broncos in a game where he threw three interceptions. Reid said on Tuesday that he and Mahomes talked about what he needed to do to prevent games like that from happening in the future.
“[Mahomes] worked hard on that last week,” said Reid. “Making sure his eyes were right and so on and (he) did a great job with that. That’s where I say he was a great example for our team.”
For his part, Mahomes acknowledged on Tuesday that when he went back and watched the tape of the Denver game, he left a lot of easy completions on the field.
“I was trying to be aggressive, and it worked sometimes, but obviously hurt us sometimes,” said the quarterback.
To fix the issue, Mahomes said he went back to the fundamentals and focused on taking what the defense was giving him.
“When the stuff underneath there, give it to the guys, let them make plays and we were able to have success. So if I can just connect those deep throws — I missed two of them in that game — then we’ll kind of have the best of both worlds.”
While keeping the ball in your possession is important, Reid also stated that the Chiefs need to do a better job recovering the ball once it’s on the ground. The Chiefs have lost seven out of the aforementioned 10 fumbles this season.
“(On) both sides of the ball and you hustle to it in case the ball does come out, you’re in a position to where you can get on it,” said Reid, “but we’re not jumping on balls right now.”
Mahomes said that the team is aware of the areas they need to improve on before the postseason begins.
“You want to be playing your best football going into the playoffs,” said Mahomes. “We have stuff that we have to clean up as far as turnovers on the offense and stuff like that.”
The Chiefs will face a stiff test this Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks. Head coach Pete Carroll’s squad ranks in the top 10 in creating turnovers. But — luckily for Kansas City — Seattle has almost been as good at giving the ball away as they have been at taking it.
Despite creating 21 combined turnovers on the season, the Seahawks' turnover differential is barely sitting in the black at plus-1, thanks to them giving the ball away 20 times in their own right.
If Mahomes and the rest of the offense can protect the football on Saturday, there may be an opportunity for Kansas City to create some turnovers and get their differential closer to zero.