KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Since Patrick Mahomes took over as quarterback in 2018, the Kansas City Chiefs offense has been the backbone of the team.
It led the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl LIV of course ending with a Lombardi trophy in Kansas City.
That offense has been there in spurts in 2021.
In the first seven weeks of the season, the Chiefs averaged 371 yards per game and 26.8 points.
In that time, the team also ranked in the top five in the NFL in explosive run rate and ranked in the top 15 of explosive play rates (any pass that gains 20+ years or any rush that gains 10+ yards).
During that time where they were 3-4, they scored some of their highest point totals of the year (33 vs. Cleveland Browns in Week 1, 35 vs. Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, 42 vs. Philadelphia Eagles Week 4, 31 vs. Washington Football Team in Week 6).
But they also averaged 2.4 turnovers a game.
Since that period, the Chiefs began their five-game winning streak and scored some of their lowest point totals of the year (20 vs. New York Giants in Week 8, 13 vs. Green Bay Packers in Week 9, 19 vs. Dallas Cowboys in Week 11) but it has been enough to win games.
They are also averaging 351.6 yards and less than a turnover a game in this span.
But they are 25th in the league in explosive play rate in that span.
Many thought the Chiefs’ offensive problem was during the beginning of the season but the offense is in much dire straits now than ever before.
Thankfully, the defense has been playing well during the streak and has been able to keep the Chiefs in games.
The problem then was the unlucky Mahomes interceptions caused by tipped balls and drops. The problem now is the lack of explosive plays, the inability to finish drives and the failure to create touchdowns throughout the game.
The offensive explosion vs. the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 11 where they scored 41 points was the last semblance of the Chiefs offense that fans have grown accustomed to.
If the Chiefs want to return to their third straight Super Bowl, they need to return to that form.
During that season, they ranked 24th in explosive run rate but ninth in explosive pass rate and 13th in explosive play rate overall.
That high-powered offense didn’t always show up on the stats but when the Chiefs needed plays, the offense always stepped up.
In 2021, when the offense needs plays, the defense steps up.
The Chiefs are currently sixth in explosive run rate, 23rd in explosive pass rate and 20th in explosive play rate.
If the Chiefs can run the ball well and defend (which they have been doing), they can hang with any team in the playoffs.
But to get to that second Super Bowl win in three years, the Chiefs will have to create more explosive plays as well as defend them.