On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will face the team that kept them from playing in their third straight Super Bowl: the Cincinnati Bengals. Between off-the-field trash talking and the sting of last season’s losses to Cincinnati, this game has garnered a lot of hype and media attention.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said that in last year’s AFC Championship, his team “just didn’t finish the game the right way,” adding that he has told his players that they can’t get caught up in how the game played out. Instead, they should take the lessons from that game and move forward.
“The thing is [that] you win games and you lose games in this industry — and if you’re around long enough you’re going to lose some games,” noted Bieniemy. “You want to continue moving forward — and understand that things happen for a reason. You have to utilize those life lessons to help you spring forward.”
Bieniemy said that since the loss to the Bengals, he has seen a lot of improvement in quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is continuing to break records and develop his leadership of the team. Bieniemy thinks that Mahomes has “done a heck of a job.”
“It’s good watching his development in some of the things that he’s improved upon,” said Bieniemy. “But also too, you kind of like when he breaks contain — and the schoolyard play takes place.”
Bieniemy and Mahomes have both shared their appreciation for the interior offensive linemen Creed Humphrey, Joe Thuney and Trey Smith — and how they have helped Mahomes continue to play at a high level.
“It helps that we have the three interior guys,” said Bieniemy. “Those guys are doing a great job of protecting that quarterback and just keeping that pocket solid. That makes life a little bit easier for Pat — and Pat understands exactly what those guys are trying to do. That way, he doesn’t put them in positions to be in an awkward situation where they can get called for holding.”
Noting that the Bengals are yet another team that seems to suddenly be getting healthy just before they play Kansas City, Bieniemy said that the Chiefs wouldn't have it any other way.
“We want those guys to be healthy,” he said. “That way, we can have our best against their best. But our guys know what we’re up against. When it’s all said and done with, we just need to go out there and play hard and play fast — and then be accountable to one another.”