The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off what could reasonably be described as their most disappointing loss of the season — and the offense was to blame. With a chance to clinch the AFC West division with a victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, the Chiefs' defense held their offense to under 70 passing yards — and the Raiders’ offense managed to score only six points.
As is now well-known, crucial offensive mistakes led to Laas Vegas scoring 14 points on back-to-back offensive plays, which was enough to give them the win. Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Matt Nagy took the podium on Thursday.
"You go through that game and you understand the opportunity that we had that was sitting there in front of us. So we always start with ourselves," said Nagy. "Coach [Andy] Reid obviously does that. I do that myself. You look back and you say, 'Where could you be better? Where could you help out?'"
Nagy says the loss left a pit in the coaches and players’ stomachs on Christmas night — and ever since, they have been discussing how not to let it happen again.
"There's just such a great amount of accountability through this team and players and coaches," said Nagy. "So we get together the next day, and we start talking through all that. Without getting into details, I think it's been a very productive week so far: trying to come up with answers and solutions and sticking together. But in the end, you have turnovers that turn into points in seven seconds [and] the penalties; it's been some of the same stuff. I think that's the thing that we want to make sure [we do]: that we as a staff make sure that we help these guys out: really hold them accountable, understand of why we're doing it and how we get better at it."
Nagy does not believe the weak outing has impacted quarterback Patrick Mahomes' confidence in the players around him. During the loss, Mahomes was caught on CBS cameras yelling at his offensive linemen, but he would later say they improved as the game carried along.
"The only thing he cares about after every game is winning and losing," said Nagy of Mahomes. "When you lose a game, now you go into the ‘why’ part. What happened? Why did it happen? There's variables that go into every single play. Sometimes [they] are noticed by people in the building and outside the building — players, others — and sometimes it's very obvious."
Nagy provided an example of how things unraveled against Las Vegas.
"If there's a play where there's a guy wide open, does he as the quarterback — or any quarterback — have the time to throw it? Of the 11 guys, is one guy breaking down? Or, if there's protection, [is there] something going off differently? So, what I'm saying is [that] basically, we want to try our best to try to get to that point to where all 11 and 12 — plus us as coaches — are really working in unison to be effective. When we do that we're pretty good.
"[Mahomes'] frustration comes from losing — and then leads into why? Why on offense — and how can we get better? The beauty is we stick together and we work toward solutions. That's one of our greatest strengths — and Pat's phenomenal at that."
All that acknowledged, the offensive coordinator still feels like the Chiefs have enough time over the final two games to fix what looks like a broken offense. Kansas City hosts Cincinnati in its final home game on Sunday at 3:25 p.m. Arrowhead Time.
"I do believe that things can get much better and be more productive," said Nagy, before listing some ways to do so. "Not having 21 third and fourth downs in the games. Being better on first and second down. So how do you get to that point? Well, we know what we think we can do between the players [and] the coaches. Everyone gets together. There's no pointing fingers to anybody but ourselves — and that's where it starts.
"Bad teams, they do that. They point fingers at everybody but themselves. We actually do the opposite. It starts with Coach Reid — and it just goes to the leaders on the team. And when you do that, then you get another opportunity; it makes it that much sweeter when you do win. You do get to that point that you [see] in the end, you stuck together."
Nagy admitted that Monday was the low point for the offense in the 2023 season.
"It was,” he acknowledged. “You can't run from that. That was not a good performance by any of us on offense — coaches and players. We have to accept that. I think we have — and you’ve got to use that.
"Now, what are you going to do about it?"