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Patrick Mahomes on short-yardage struggles: ‘We just got to be better at it’

Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid discuss the Chiefs’ ongoing offensive struggles despite their win over the Broncos on Thursday night.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs advanced to 5-1 on the season with their 19-8 victory over the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football.

The Chiefs were in complete control of this one, taking the early lead and holding it for the totality of the game. While the team will happily take the wins any way they can get them, they haven’t completely performed up to their own high standards, specifically on the offensive side of the ball.

“We could have done a lot of things better,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes told reporters during his postgame press conference. “But like I said, we’re lucky enough that the defense is playing so good and the special teams is playing so good that we can still win football games… As we continue on the season, we have to continue to get better and better so that hopefully when we get to the playoffs, we’re hitting our stride, and we can really match our defense as far as intensity goes.”

Statistically, the offense had a decent night. They finished the game with 389 total yards, including one touchdown courtesy of wide receiver Kadarius Toney. Mahomes threw for over 300 yards for just the second time this season, with tight end Travis Kelce accounting for nearly half of that as he finished the game with nine catches for 124 yards.

Having said that, the offense’s night was stained by their inability to execute in short-yardage situations. Too often, the team found itself with questionable playcalling, resulting in a night where they finished just 4 of 13 on third downs.

“We just got to be better at it,” Mahomes answered when asked about the Chiefs’ short-yardage struggles. “We’re great everywhere else in third down, so let’s just continue to work on it. I think we’ve had great games at it, and we’ve had bad games at it. It’s part of football, but we’ll continue to work at it, I promise you that.”

Adding to that, the Chiefs failed to convert their only fourth-down attempt, as their fake field goal sneak came up short on fourth-and-2 deep inside Broncos’ territory.

“I shouldn’t have called that,” head coach Andy Reid said of the fake field goal. “I mean it was two yards right there and probably a little bit too far. We were trying to stay aggressive with it, but we probably want that one back.”

The fake field goal attempt was just one of many examples of the Chiefs’ red-zone struggles in Week 6. The offense failed to score touchdowns throughout the game, settling for four field goals on the night despite numerous trips to the red zone.

Mahomes also threw this interception on third-and-8 late in the first quarter, keeping points off the board for the Chiefs entirely.

“I can’t throw the interception even if it was tipped,” Mahomes admitted. “I got to find a way — I was trying to throw the ball away — but find a way to get the ball away maybe shorter and find another person to throw it away at. But you got to go with the game. I thought we did a great job of staying patient and getting the ball down the field. But in this league, three points and seven points are just such a big difference.

“If we found a way to execute in the red zone and score those touchdowns, we would come away feeling great, but since we didn’t, we have a lot of room to improve. That’s just something that we have to continue to work on.”

Both Mahomes and Reid acknowledged that the offense could be doing a lot better than they have shown. Fortunately, both the defense and the special teams unit are playing well enough to carry the offense as they continue to search for their rhythm. They will have a mini-bye until next week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but in the meantime, Kansas City should be looking to clean up the mistakes of their sputtering offense.

“We strive for something better than what we’re doing right now,” Reid said. “We’ve got a good Charger team coming in here next week, and you know we’ll get back to the drawing board on this thing and work to get better.”

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