In his 23 previous regular-season and postseason games, Patrick Mahomes, the reigning MVP, had never been held under 20 points. Hell, he'd never been held under 26.
Mahomes told reporters after the loss that he aggravated a left ankle injury during the first half against Indy and then had the ankle stepped on in the second half after it had been taped up. Mahomes initially suffered the ankle sprain during K.C.'s Week 1 win in Jacksonville.
"Obviously, it's going to be a little sore tomorrow," Mahomes said, "but for me, just kind of going into treatment and getting it better so I can be prepared for next week."
The QB added there was never a doubt he'd leave the game, especially with K.C. down at the half. But it wasn't just Indy's hard-hitting front seven play that had Mahomes bothered. The Chiefs couldn't beat Indy's man coverage, either, and the QB struggled to extend drives throughout the contest.
"They played good defense. They played man coverage, they rushed with four people and they found ways to get pressure and to cover long enough," Mahomes said, diagnosing Indy's blueprint for success. "For us, Detroit did it last week, New England did it in the playoffs. I mean, we're going to have to beat man coverage at the end of the day. We've got the guys to do it, so now it's about just going out there and executing it whenever teams present it to us."
Mahomes completed 22 of 39 passes against Indy for 321 yards and a fabulous touchdown to Byron Pringle, who broke out in place of Tyreek Hill (shoulder) and Sammy Watkins (hamstring). But K.C. totaled just 324 total yards and Mahomes missed more receivers than usual on Sunday night, especially Demarcus Robinson and Travis Kelce, the latter of whom caught just four passes on 10 targets.
"I feel like just as an offense as a whole, we weren't productive. It was passing, running, protecting," Mahomes continued. "I feel like there was times where there were guys open in the man coverage and I was missing them. Whenever you're in a close-fought game, you can't miss a touchdown to D-Rob, you can't miss Travis when you're backed up and you're trying to get out of your end zone. There's opportunities that were missed in that game that we have to take advantage of."
No longer undefeated and invincible, Mahomes and the Chiefs still have 11 games to prove they are the cream of the crop in the AFC and an offensive juggernaut to be reckoned with. But, as the QB explains it, Kansas City cannot rest on its high self-regard any longer. Teams know how to stop them, and on Sunday, one succeeded.
"In this league, no matter how good your offense is, you've got to be efficient," Mahomes added. "You've got to go out there and do things the right way. You can't just rely strictly on talent to score in this league.
"As we see the trend, teams are going to play us in man coverage and we're gonna have to find ways to beat it. If we don't, we're going to keep getting it. We'll go back to the drawing board, find ways we're going to beat man and when you get the challenge, you have to make sure that they win, and I have to make sure I hit them whenever they do."