- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
If the Kansas City Chiefs had been able to keep up the scoring pace they had established in the first half of their Week 17 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, they’d likely still hold the first seed in the looming playoffs. While they’re not out of the running for the No. 1 seed, it’s no longer in their hands whether they’ll finish the season with the lone coveted first-round bye week.
It took a near-total offensive collapse in the second half for them to lose a close contest on the road against a capable opponent, with drops and penalties being the main culprits in their dysfunction. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is hard at work finding solutions to make sure this same situation doesn’t happen to his offense again once elimination games start.
Speaking of the Chiefs’ offensive inconsistency against Cincinnati, Bieniemy told reporters during his media availability on Wednesday that his unit is back to focusing on the basics.
“[I] keep stressing fundamentals,” He said when asked about being nearly shut out in the second half. “We want to make sure that our guys understand the little things that it takes to help us to be the best team that we can possibly be. At times, we’re clicking and doing certain things, and at times, we’re not. So, we’ve got to go back always to ground zero, and that’s the purpose of why we practice. We stressed that yesterday and that was a big vocal point as well today—fundamentals and just making sure we’re detailing all the details.”
The emphasis on rudimentary elements in Andy Reid’s notoriously complex offense is to be expected, especially given that the quarterback at the helm is only 26 years old. For all of the Chiefs’ pedigree and accolades over the past few seasons, the offensive unit remains largely made up of players who are under 30, with Travis Kelce being a relative senior citizen at 32.
Their youth is part of what makes the team so uniquely lethal. If it weren’t for their two-consecutive Super Bowl berths, the league may still be catching up to their potential and offensive schemes that have brought so much success to Kansas City since Patrick Mahomes took over under center in 2018. As teams have adjusted to finding new ways to beat the Chiefs, with matchups against them circled on the schedule long before the season starts, Kansas City seems to have slipped up in its lead on the offensive arms race.
It will take a precise effort to get the team back in position to make the run to February that has been expected since August. With a newfound appreciation for what got them in a position to have those expectations levied in the first place, they could return to form just in time for the biggest games of the season.