The Kansas City Chiefs Conundrum: Patrick Mahomes’s Individual Success Vs Team Success

Over the past five seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs have implemented an offensive system centered around the running and short passing game. The system would allow the team to constantly exploit the weakness of their opponent. For instance, if the Kansas City Chiefs were playing a team with a below average passing defense, they would feature a heavy dose of the short passing game. On the other hand, if the Chiefs were playing a team with a below average rushing defense, they would feature a heavy dose of the running game. A perfect example of this is the 2015 AFC Wild Card game against the Houston Texans; the Texans were 20th in passing defense allowing  243.1 yards per game. As a result, the team decided to design a game plan around the short passing game to take advantage of the below average passing defense. For example, Alex Smith would receive the ball from the center and throw it immediately to a receiver on a curl, out or screen route. The game plan allowed Kansas City to consistently move the chains and stay on the field for long periods of time. According to ESPN, the unit was on the field for 34:25 against the Houston Texans. As a result, the defense was able to get plenty of rest between defensive possessions.

However, the Kansas City Chiefs are going to make some changes to their offensive system this upcoming season. The team is expected to dial back the short passing game in favor of the intermediate to deep passing game. This is because Patrick Mahomes has a habit of holding the ball for a couple of seconds to allow the receivers to get downfield. For example, during week 17 against the Denver Broncos, he lined up about five yards behind the center with a running back beside him and a two to four wide receiver set. After the play begins, he held the ball for a couple of seconds to allow the receivers to get eight to twelve yards downfield. Once this happened, Patrick repeatedly threw the ball to receivers on crossing, curl or out routes. Although the change will increase the chances of significant plays happening to lead to quick scores; It opens the door for the team to have the ball for less time because of a quick touchdown, 3 and out or turnover. As a consequence of this, the defense was forced to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest. Due to this,  the unit giving up more yards and points late in the game because they were not able to regain energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense. In fact, according to ESPN,  the unit was on the field for 30:57 against the Denver Broncos. Furthermore,  the Kansas City Chiefs defense surrendered fourteen points in the fourth quarter to the Broncos offense.

In conclusion, the Kansas City Chiefs are about to go down the path of overexposing the defense to make sure that Patrick Mahomes is in the best position to succeed. As a result of this, he should have a great personal year, but the team should struggle to win games.