Have defenses solved Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs offense with specific strategy?
The Kansas City Chiefs have looked shockingly mediocre this season. Patrick Mahomes already has nine interceptions, which is three more than he had in all of 2020 and four more than the year before. Could that have something to do with the way teams are lining up against them?
Mahomes is averaging 7.6 yards per completion this season, which is the lowest mark of his career. According to Next Gen Stats, no quarterback in the NFL has faced more two-high safety defenses this season than Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes is facing two-high safety coverages at the highest rate in the NFL this season. Opposing defenses are clearly attempting to prevent the Chiefs explosive pass, and it’s working thus far. pic.twitter.com/myoeFOxV2u
— Joey (@joeyanalytics) October 28, 2021
That is not a coincidence. Opponents have clearly focused on taking the explosive play away from the Chiefs. That has led to Mahomes making poor decisions and forcing the ball into coverage. The result has been a lot more turnovers than we’ve seen in past years, when Andy Reid’s offense was virtually unstoppable.
The Chiefs are still scoring points and moving the ball. They rank eighth in the NFL with 26.9 points per game and are third with 419.3 total yards of offense per game. Their abysmal defense has been their biggest issue, but Mahomes and company have been able to mask those issues in the past. That hasn’t been the case in 2021.
Some of Mahomes’ interceptions have been the result of drops and tipped passes, which is why his mother recently lobbied for a major NFL rule change. Most, however, have happened in situations where he was trying to do too much. Opponents appear to have come up with a successful formula for slowing Mahomes down. It’s up to Reid and the Chiefs to find a way around it.