The Kansas City Chiefs suffered their first loss of the 2019 season on Sunday night, falling at home to the Indianapolis Colts, 19-13. The loss snapped a streak of 25 consecutive games of scoring at least 25 points for the Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes surpassed 300+ passing yards for the fifth consecutive game to open the season on Sunday night. He finished 22-of-39 for 321 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Mahomes and the offense struggled to get much of anything going all night as the Colts were able to provide pressure to the Chiefs quarterback seemingly any time they wanted to.
Mahomes re-injured his left ankle in the first half and battled through it to have a solid night, but injuries to lineman Andrew Wylie and the absence of Eric Fisher hurt the team badly in the loss.
The Colts ran 74 plays compared to just 57 by the Chiefs, including 45 rushing attempts for 180 yards. Even then the defense knew the run was coming, there was no answer to stop the Colts for much of the night.
1. The offensive line is becoming an issue
The absence of Eric Fisher and wide receiver Tyreek Hill have been very evident for the Chiefs offense in recent weeks, but Sunday night was the first time that their absence came in a game that the Chiefs lost. The Chiefs offense ran for just 36 yards against the Colts, who entered the game allowing the second-most yards per attempt in the entire league behind, as you could have guessed, the Chiefs.
The Chiefs also lost Andrew Wylie during the game on Sunday night, and even before he left with an injury the line struggled to protect Mahomes at times.
The biggest issue for the line has been in the run game. The team has struggled to establish a run game, making the offense one dimensional most of the time. With the return of Tyreek Hill should come a bit more stability as opposing defenses will be forced to account for Hill’s speed.
2. The run defense must improve
There is not much to say here outside of the headline above. The rush defense for the Chiefs must improve in order for Kansas City to truly be a title contender. There’s no reason to think that the Chiefs won’t still win the AFC West and compete for the No. 1 seed despite how rough the run defense has looked at times, but they will have to stop the run at some point in order to win it all.
3. Byron Pringle is becoming a solid contributor
Outside of all the Kansas State Wildcat fans that followed his career in Manhattan, who saw this coming out of Byron Pringle? The former Wildcat has quickly found his way into Patrick Mahomes’ circle of trust in recent weeks.
Pringle’s story is pretty remarkable. He went undrafted and signed with the Chiefs in 2018. He was a practice squad guy all last season and worked hard to make the team in 2019. He was cut to make room for De’Anthony Thomas ahead of week two, but found his way back to the active roster.
He caught his first ever pass against the Ravens, then made a huge play in the game-winning drive a week ago against the Lions. Then, on Sunday Night Football, Pringle led the team with six catches, 103 yards and the team’s only touchdown.
Pringle’s emergence is coming at a great time with the recent uncertainty surrounding Sammy Watkins. With the running game struggling as much as it is, Mahomes will need as many weapons as possible going forward and Pringle is popping at the right time.
4. Injuries are beginning to pile up
So…when is the bye week again? The Chiefs entered Sunday’s game without multiple key starters and contributors. Tyreek Hill, Eric Fisher, Alex Okafor and Dorian O’Daniel were all inactive on Sunday, which was problem enough for the Chiefs.
During Sunday’s loss the team lost a few more key players that could loom large moving forward. Sammy Wakins was ruled out after the first drive of the game and lineman Andrew Wylie did not return after injuring his ankle in the third quarter. The team also lost Anthony Hitchens and Mahomes re-injured his ankle in the second quarter.
While those injuries were all bad, the worst news of the night came when Chris Jones was forced to leave with a groin injury. The Chiefs were also without Frank Clark for multiple plays during the game due to an undisclosed injury. An extended injury for Jones could be troublesome for a defense that has struggled to really come together thus far this season.
5. Calm down…the sun still came up
While Sunday night’s loss was a hard one to watch, losses in professional football do happen. Just ask those 18-0 Patriots that fell to Eli’s Giants in the title game. We would all rather the Chiefs drop a week five game than breeze through the regular season and fall in the playoffs.
As long as Kansas City learns from this loss and continues to work on improving, they will be just fine. Patrick Mahomes, despite what we will all hear from talking heads this week, is an elite quarterback. He’s likely the best quarterback in the league. Let’s all take a deep breath and rest up for the Houston game on Sunday.
NEXT UP: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs | Oct. 13 | 12 p.m.
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