It was an unusual scene on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night. Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes lost a game in which his defense allowed only 14 points.
With so many narratives centered on defensive tackle Chris Jones’ absence, most assumed that the team’s defense would struggle. But it held strong, holding the Detroit Lions’ strong running attack to 3.5 yards per a carry and limiting big plays.
But as far as MIKE linebacker Nick Bolton was concerned, the defense didn’t do enough.
“We lost the football game,” he told reporters after Kansas City’s 21-20 loss. “That’s how we measure everything in the league. Games are won by inches — and in a couple of situations, we got stretched. We didn’t execute good enough.”
Bolton took full responsibility for the defenses’ struggles with execution.
“We kind of pride ourselves on situational football,” he explained. “Things we do throughout the week [to] kind of get us ready... so it just comes down to guys being locked into those situations and just find a way to get off the field on defense.”
With the unexpected absence of tight end Travis Kelce, the Kansas City offense needed a big performance from their revamped wide receiver corps — but they literally dropped the ball.
Still, Bolton is not discouraged about the offense’s long-term outlook.
“Our offense has given us faith,” he insisted. “They are one of the best at what they do in the league. Regardless of how the game goes any time they have the ball they have a chance to score... I have a lot of faith those guys are going to come back next week hungry.”
Despite the offensive struggles on Thursday night, there are reasons for optimism. Even without its two best pass rushers, the Kansas City defense showed up against one of 2022’s top 5 offenses. Even against a heroic individual effort from the Lions’ defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the Chiefs’ offensive line didn’t give up a sack. And there was a positive update on Kelce’s knee injury.
The #Lions welcome themselves to the national spotlight with a 21-20 win over the defending champs. Legit start. As for the #Chiefs… a long weekend awaits, but Travis Kelce is likely back the next time they step on the field.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 8, 2023
So the Chiefs will look to build upon this these positives — and hope for a quick return for borth Kelce and Jones — as they go back to the offensive drawing board to prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. Kansas City will likely need all hands on deck to stop another up-and-coming team.