Has the Red Kingdom’s Reign Returned?

In detail about the Chief’s early struggles and how they are slowly making their way back to the top.

Mark Elliott, Editor-In-Chief

With all expectations high, the Chiefs greatly disappointed them to start the season. They started off 2-3, as the defense allowed 8.6 yards per play. Mahomes also didn’t look like himself, forcing the action and trying to do too much. The Chiefs offensive struggle can also be blamed on the Buccaneers. They played the Chiefs in the last Super Bowl and they doubled Travis Kelce over the middle and put another safety overtop. Almost every team this season has copied that strategy. The Chiefs were also most likely on a Super Bowl hangover, playing the maximum number of games two years in a row can call for a slow start to a season. 

The Chiefs went from Super Bowl favorites to last in the AFC West for the first time since 2010. However, the scariest term to hear in the NFL over the past two years; the Kansas City Chiefs caught fire. The Chiefs are now 7-4, first in the AFC West again. After getting blown out by Titans on the road, the Chiefs are on a four game winning streak. They really looked like themselves when they dominated the Raiders in prime time on the road 41-14. They are looking like the Chiefs we know, but the question is, is the Red Kingdom back to its reign?

It’s no doubt that the Chiefs four game win streak is impressive especially after coming off of a slow start. However, they only beat the Giants by three at home, and only beat the Aaron Rodger-less Packers by six points at home. A win is a win, but it’s concerning that the Chiefs had to get the ball rolling again with a close game against Daniel Jones. But, the Chiefs really looked like themselves the past two weeks, also beating the Cowboys. It was a stout defensive performance only giving up 9 points to that high powered Cowboys offense. 

It was very encouraging for Chiefs fans to see this, considering they had a bottom five defense at the start of the season. But the Chiefs defense is now trending up, and there are a few players that are making that possible. Everyone knows the main playmakers; Tyrann Mathieu and Chris Jones. Besides the two, the real unsung hero has been middle linebacker, rookie, Nick Bolton. He has been an absolute steal this year, making plays all around the field, him being the spark that the Chiefs defense needed. The other linebacker that has made a huge difference is Willie Gay Jr. Despite battling injuries the past two years, when he is on the field he is a special player that is fun to watch. 

The biggest complaint about the Chiefs defense at the start was the poor secondary play, mainly being Daniel Sorenson. Losing Bashaud Breeland in the offseason also hurt the Chiefs a lot, as he was a very promising defensive back. Since then, they have had two corners step up in a major way; Charvarious Ward and Lagarious Snead. These two have been absolute lockdowns all season, being the main two stopping the opposing team’s passing game. With all of this being said there are still big flaws to the defense, Frank Clark is getting paid a lot of money to not even be a factor in the game. He was signed for so much money to be a duo with Chris Jones. Clark hasn’t produced well at all, including he isn’t even much of a run stopper. The Chiefs either need to restructure that contract or trade him.

The offense with the Chiefs has been pretty straight forward, they have slowly adjusted to how defenses have been playing them. Now that the offense is clicking, the only real worry I have is that if the Chiefs lose any of their big three (Mahomes, Kelce, Hill), the team is done for. The whole offense runs through those three players, especially with Clyde Edwards-Helaire battling injuries. He did have a really good first game back against the Cowboys after his knee injury against the Bills. When he is healthy and playing well it helps spread out the offense and free up Kelce and Hill.

Debatably the brightest part of the chiefs offense this season has been rookie center Creed Humphrey. He has been a top offensive linemen this season and is even in the race for offensive rookie of the year. Now, the chances of him getting that are slim, but it is still great to see o-linemen get chances at yearly awards. One disappointing o-linemen is former Raven Orlando Brown. He originally looked like a steal, but he doesn’t quite fit in with the scheme of the Chiefs. He is mainly a better run blocker, which makes sense because he played for the Ravens which was a high powered run offense. If he can figure out how to pass block better and keep people off of Mahomes, the Chiefs o-line is going to be really scary. 

With all of this being said, it comes back to the question, Is the Red Kingdom back to its reign? Throughout all of football history, the third year has always been the test, if the Chiefs win it all this year, it is a dynasty. If they fail, they may very well turn into the Seahawks. The answer to this, in my opinion, is that they are not quite back. I’m not saying it isn’t possible for the Chiefs to do a full turn around and shock the world, but for me, there are too many questions that will be answered at the end of this season, and in the postseason. Although, the thing is, Kansas city is getting hot at the perfect time. With six weeks left in the regular season, this could be a perfect storm, and the Chiefs could reclaim the crown and prove everyone wrong.