At this point of the season, most Kansas City Chiefs fans know just how bad the defense has been in 2021.
The back-to-back AFC champions and 2019 Super Bowl winners are 2-3 to start the season and it’s no fault of Patrick Mahomes and this offense. Steve Spagnuolo’s unit is now last in the league in points allowed (32.6 per game) and second to last in yards allowed per game (437.4).
They are also 29th in passing defense and 29th against the run, so it’s just lousy all across the board. That’s not all though.
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Chiefs Defense Now Historically Poor
Brandon Kiley of 101 ESPN St. Louis tweeted that the Chiefs defense broke an NFL record after the Week 5 blowout loss against the Buffalo Bills.
Kiley noted that according to Pro Football Reference, the Chiefs 7.1 yards allowed per play is “the worst mark through five weeks in NFL history.” He continued, adding that the team is “allowing an average of 3.3 points per drive,” something that has not been done by an offense since the 2007 New England Patriots.
There you have it, this defense is officially all-time terrible and you have to put a large portion of the blame on Spagnuolo. The defensive coordinator has run this unit since 2019, but if this continues, you have to wonder how long the veteran coach will last in Kansas City.
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Returning Bodies Don’t Help Against Buffalo
Josh Allen and the Bills smoked the Chiefs at Arrowhead in their revenge game and it wasn’t pretty on the defensive side. The final score was 38-20 but it could have been worse, being that the Buffalo offense let their foot off the gas pedal towards the end.
The home side was without influential defensive lineman Chris Jones (wrist), but they did see a few reinforcements return on that side of the ball. Cornerback Rashad Fenton and linebacker Willie Gay were both out there after missing time with injury. For Gay, it was actually his first appearance of the season.
Edge rusher Frank Clark also suited up for the first time since Week 2, although his most notable play was a controversial roughing the passer call that many fans disagreed with.
Cornerback Charvarius Ward was indeed inactive for the third straight week but his return probably wouldn’t have made a difference. Bills pass-catchers were often running wide open downfield and when they were covered, the defensive backs were generally beat playing the football.
NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky tweeted that if you re-watch the game, “you’ll walk away saying: that looks like a QB trying to score 21 points in every throw [because] he knows his defense is that bad.”
The former MVP didn’t have his cleanest game throwing the ball, pairing two interceptions with two touchdowns. Mahomes also had a fumble that was recovered by Buffalo.
Orlovsky has a point though — when your defense is getting torched every time you change possessions it becomes very easy to start pressing. Even Mahomes can feel the weight of a deficiency like this and it certainly showed on Sunday Night Football.
The Chiefs missed opportunities at trading for CB Stephon Gilmore and signing LB Jaylon Smith last week. Those types of players don’t typically become available midseason and GM Brett Veach dropped the ball by letting them go elsewhere.
The longer this issue goes uncorrected, the less likely a return trip to the Super Bowl becomes.