The Chiefs have won five straight, but their offense has yet to consistently take flight.
Save for their 41-point outburst on Sunday Night Football against the rival Raiders, Kansas City has failed to score 21 offensive points in five of its last six games. The Chiefs finished with 22 points on a windy night against the Broncos last weekend thanks to a Daniel Sorensen pick-six, icing a low-scoring affair and helping the Chiefs create some breathing room in the AFC West standings.
Patrick Mahomes has been forced to answer questions about the Chiefs' offensive struggles all season long, and this week was no different. It didn't help that NBC's cameras caught him exchanging words of frustration with offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy after a drive stalled in the fourth quarter.
Mahomes explained that exchange Wednesday, providing reasoning related to a strange false start penalty drawn by Mahomes.
"Yeah I mean I still don't know why I got called for the false start, so I'll try to figure out that, so I'll try not to do that again," Mahomes said, via the Kansas City Star. "I thought it was pretty common with what I usually do on hard counts, but he called it so got to try to not do it again. We kind of got put into a situation where we tried to get into field goal range to get another field goal and we didn't get there. It was not executing the way we want to. We kind of drove it a little bit and kind of like the rest of the game, we didn't find a way to put points on the board."
Kansas City won the game despite finishing with just 267 yards of total offense, including 178 through the air. Mahomes threw yet another interception -- his 12th of the season -- and finished with a passer rating of 57.3, far off the mark that once saw him earn NFL MVP honors in 2018.
It was more of the same for Mahomes, who hasn't been as sharp in 2021. The Chiefs haven't gone on a winning streak because their offense suddenly rediscovered its magic of recent years; instead, it's been their defensive turnaround that has helped them bounce back from a slow start.
Mahomes, meanwhile, has been left to work with Bieniemy on figuring out how to unlock their once-explosive attack. The work has become exasperating at times, leading to Sunday night's display of annoyance.
"Yeah, it was kind of a little mix-up of the play that we wanted to call in that situation," Mahomes said. "And then I, like you said, both of us love it. I think that's the biggest thing: Both of us love being out there playing this sport, being part of the Kansas City Chiefs, and we both were just frustrated more with the game than we were with each other. And so obviously, we got a little frustration there.
"But we talked it out right after and I mean, I love that dude. He loves me and we'll keep rolling."
Keeping it rolling includes continuing to take shots and be aggressive, even if it doesn't help Mahomes' interception total. He's said he'll try to limit giveaways going forward, but not to the point where he'll change the way he plays to avoid turnovers.
Andy Reid has taken a similar stance on the matter, opting to continue with what has proven to work in the past. Eventually, they believe, it'll sort itself out.
If the Chiefs were in a worse spot in the standings, more drastic changes would be necessary. At 8-4, such adjustments aren't necessary, at least not right now.
A few fewer errors in the form of penalties and turnovers should make these questions go away. The Chiefs hope that becomes reality sooner rather than later, so they can instead spend their time focusing on keeping the Chargers from catching them in the standings, not on keeping the ball out of defenders' hands.