Unlike previous years, the Kansas City Chiefs have been struggling as they go through the season’s home stretch. Their 20-14 Christmas Day defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders marked their fourth loss in six games — and officially eliminated them from contention for the AFC’s No. 1 postseason seed.
With frustrations mounting, head coach Andy Reid continues to preach the importance of channeling his team’s emotions in the right direction.
“When you’ve won a lot of games, your tolerance level for not doing as well as we should goes down — so things happen,” Reid explained to reporters before Wednesday’s practice, “but that’s the great part about it: this is the game of football. It’s an emotional game. That’s expected — I mean, you see those things happen. We just have to make sure we generate it in the right direction — and we go that way and fix the problems. That’s the first thing.
“I’ve got a big piece of that. [I’m] very responsible for [all] the things on the offensive side of the ball. So I always look [at myself] first — and then we try to address the other issues we might have.”
As Reid mentioned, most of Kansas City’s struggles have stemmed from lackluster performances on offense. A Chiefs team that in recent years has been known for its high-powered offense has continued to struggle, averaging just 22.2 points per game this season (tied for 11th in the NFL), compared to 29.2 in 2022. Reid hopes the sense of frustration on that side of the ball will bring the focus and urgency the team needs to get back on track.
“I talk to these guys — and I think that’s important,” Reid said of his discussions with the team’s offensive players. “These guys are emotional. They want to do well. That’s what you see. There’s a sense of frustration — ‘What can I do better?’ That urgency is going to help us get better.”
Specifically, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is performing far from his usual MVP-caliber self. Against the Raiders on Monday, he committed two turnovers that resulted in defensive touchdowns on consecutive drives. Mahomes’ 16 turnovers are tied for sixth-most in the league this season.
“I just don’t think I like losing,” Mahomes said. “Anybody can be frustrated when they lose, it’s just about how you respond.”
Having said that, Mahomes is aware that the optics of his sideline tirades in recent losses are not ideal. While most people see the viral sideline moments as controversial, he just believes it shows how passionate he is about the team’s success.
“I think people see frustration — and they think it causes controversy,” explained the quarterback. “I see it as a way of showing that people care. They care about their profession. They care about trying to do whatever they can do to win games.
“When I see stuff like that happen, obviously, we want to be in the positive light and all of that. [But] I see someone that cares about the game; someone who wants to be better — not better for themselves but better for the team.”
With two games left in the season, the Chiefs’ players know that they need to step things up. They know what they’re capable of achieving. Now it’s just about proving themselves to the rest of the world.
“I’ve said every week: guys are working hard to get better,” Mahomes reiterated. “At the end of the day, we have to go out there and prove it. I know everyone hears us saying it, but unless we go out and prove it, I don’t think anyone is going to believe it.
“For us, we’re going to go in with that mentality that we’re going to work our tail off to make sure we can put our best effort forward this week. We’ve got to find a way to get a win in order to get into the playoffs. That’s our attitude going into practice today.”