The Kansas City Chiefs' high-octane offense was slowed down and grounded by the Buffalo Bills in primetime last weekend. They committed four turnovers in the 38-20 blowout loss at Arrowhead Stadium, bumping their season total to a league-high 11.
At a glance, Kansas City's offensive production might not seem like a glaring issue. Through five games, the unit happens to rank top-five in both average points (30.8) and yards (420.4). But their opponents are properly scheming the attack, and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell has noticed a pattern.
"I noticed the Bills played a ton of 2-man coverage, meaning man-to-man with two deep safeties," Cosell told The DA Show on Thursday. "Then I thought back to Week 3 when the Chargers beat them, and they played a lot of 2-man coverage. And then I thought back to the Super Bowl when the Bucs played them, and they played a lot of 2-man converge. That's a coverage right now that the Chiefs are struggling with.
"What do the Chiefs do best when facing normal man coverage? They have so much speed, their receivers run away from man coverage. But that's more difficult to do when there's two deep safeties. They'll figure it out, because the league is cyclical. But Mahomes, right now, and the offense is out of sync... There's no rhythm to what they're doing now. It's all individual plays -- which, they're capable of, but that's very difficult to sustain over time."
Patrick Mahomes hasn't played at an MVP-caliber level. He's already thrown as many interceptions as he did all of last season (6), and according to PFF, he's completing 68-percent of passes and averaging 7.1 yards per attempt against non-blitzing defenses. For the sake of comparison, these numbers are similar to that of Kirk Cousins this season. Less pocket pressure means less scrambling, and less scrambling means less big-play improvisation by Mahomes and his receivers.
Of course, Kansas City's problems don't start and end with the offense. Their defense is remarkably poor, as they currently rank dead last in the league in points (32.6), 31st in yards (437.4), and 31st in turnover differential (minus-7). After the loss to Buffalo, Chiefs safety Tyrann Matthieu told reporters that "we're just beating ourselves" with miscommunication and blown coverage.
Kansas City (2-3) will visit the Washington Football Team (2-3) in a Week 6 matchup on Sunday. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Chiefs have a 64-percent chance to reach the playoffs and a 19-percent chance to win the AFC West.
The entire NFL conversation between Cosell and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.