Patrick Mahomes tells Chiefs teammates, 'I've got to be better'

Following a three-point outing against the Tennessee Titans in Week 7, Patrick Mahomes said he stood up in front of teammates and blamed himself for the offense's issues in recent weeks.

"You can just watch the tape and know that I need to play better in order to have success," Mahomes said Thursday, via ESPN. "There were plays where guys were open. There were plays where we had matchups down the field that I didn't hit that I usually would give those guys opportunities to make plays.

"I've said something to them that I've got to be better. At the same time, they have that mindset that they're going to try to build me up. It's a thing where you're not going to play your best game every single game, and that's when you have to rely on your other guys to kind of step up and make plays for you."

Outside of last week's dud, the Kansas City Chiefs' offense continues to move the ball with seeming ease, but turnovers have killed them. K.C.'s 17 giveaways this season are the most in the NFL and tied for second-most through seven games in franchise history -- its only season with more through seven games was 2012 (25), when the Chiefs finished 2-14 and subsequently hired Andy Reid.

Mahomes already has more interceptions (9) and total giveaways (11) in seven games in 2021 than he did in 16 games in either of the last two seasons (2020: 6 INTs, 8 giveaways; 2019: 5 and 7).

Mahomes has at least one INT in six straight games (longest streak of his NFL career). It's the first time he's thrown an INT in six consecutive games since Sept. 29-Nov. 5, 2016 at Texas Tech (TTU went 2-4 in those six games). Mahomes has not had seven straight games with an INT in his football career at the high school, college or NFL level.

Some of the INTs have clanged off receivers' hands. Others, defenders made great plays. And still, some were the product of Mahomes forcing passes into covered areas.

"It's just stuff that I've always got to work on, and I kind of lose sometimes during the season and have to get better with," Mahomes said of his play against Tennessee. "It's hanging in the pocket, working on my footwork, staying on time, all that stuff like that.

"You see it kind of get me in certain games every single year, and it's something I have to go back to and learn from and be better at. There were times where I maybe could have stepped and found a soft spot in the pocket where [instead] I kind of got out of there and tried to make something happen. ... Whenever we don't get going as an offense, it's usually because I'm doing little things like that."

With the defense struggling to make plays, the Chiefs' offense is under pressure to put up points. Knowing that has led to some of Mahomes' forced passes, which has led to the turnovers.

Sitting at 3-4, there is still time for Mahomes and the Chiefs to right the ship. But it's getting late fast in a competitive AFC.

The Chiefs have averaged 2.4 giveaways per game this season (most in NFL). No team has made the playoffs after averaging two-plus giveaways per game since the 2009 Cardinals (2.3) with Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. No team has made the Super Bowl after averaging two-plus giveaways per game since the 2007 Giants (2.1), who defeated the Patriots in SB XLII.

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