One offense currently leads the league in scoring and yards, while the other is coming off a performance where the unit failed to score a touchdown, kicking only field goals in the 24-9 loss to the Denver Broncos. Amid an underwhelming year for the Chiefs’ offense, the letdown in Denver was the worst it has looked.
This was one of Mahomes' better plays from Sunday. He reads Kelce's side first, which draws the M.O.F. LB over— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) November 1, 2023
When that's clogged, he steps up calmly and comes to Rice backside, into a vacant M.O.F.
Should've been a huge play #Chiefs pic.twitter.com/d5wZ08CkQ4
It wouldn’t have been as bad had a few passes been secured by the intended receiver. Wide receivers Rashee Rice and Skyy Moore had the most memorable ones, but it was a theme for the entire receiving group – just like it has been all season.
Head coach Andy Reid pointed to that issue when prompted during his press conference on Friday in Germany.
“We have to be more consistent catching the football,” Reid emphasized to reporters. “We have a couple young players in there that are working their tails off to get better every day, and that’s where the focus is. We don’t get caught up too much in the stats, but are we getting better as we go. We had a little bit of a hiccup last week, now we have to step back up, control the things we can control.”
The hiccups didn’t just come from drops: Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling fumbled after completing a catch, one of the five turnovers the Chiefs had. Tight end Travis Kelce didn’t fall victim to any fumbles or drops, but he is focused on correcting the unit’s mishaps.
“The statistics for when you turn the ball over, they aren’t very high on winning,” Kelce told reporters during a Friday press conference in Germany. “The biggest thing for us is being able to control those turnovers, being able to control the dropped passes, there are a few missed assignments – and I take accountability for all this. I think everyone on the offensive side is taking that same approach this week.”
The big negative that can come from drops is how it affects the confidence of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, specifically his confidence in the individual he is throwing to. With defenses already throwing the book at the league MVP, the unit can’t afford missed opportunities based on who he is uncomfortable throwing to.
According to the Chiefs’ quarterback, he doesn’t look at missed catches that way.
“I’ve always said drops just kind of happen,” Mahomes shared. “If you continue to work at it, you can eliminate it. I’ve seen the guys continue to work and work throughout the season. They know I’m going to keep firing the football to them... when they happen, you just have to make sure you fix that mistake, and when it comes back to you next time, you don’t drop it again.”
Mahomes’ all-time favorite target arguably once overcame a reputation of loose ball security. Travis Kelce has improved in that area of the game over his 11 NFL seasons, and it’s because he embraces what coach Reid believes goes into dropped passes.
“I’ve dropped a lot of footballs in my day, it’s unfortunate,” Kelce recalled. “Hearing coach Reid talk about the recipe for a drop: focus, balance… there are a lot of different things that can go on, but I like to just put it on me and say my focus is everything.”
That accountability is being felt by everybody on the offense, according to Kelce. It’s significant because the offense will need to be locked in against a Dolphins team that averages 33.9 points per game this season. The Chiefs’ defense has picked up the slack many times through eight games, but it can’t be expected to shut down Miami.
The Chiefs will need to put up points in this game. They’ll have to quickly learn — but move on — from their previous performance to do so.