The Kansas City Chiefs beat the lowly New York Giants on Monday Night Football, 20-17. Patrick Mahomes threw the ball 48 times, completing 29 passes for 275 yards. He threw one touchdown and one interception and was saved from another pick late in the game because of a penalty. Contrast that with the success the Chiefs had running the ball last night and it may be time for Mahomes and Andy Reid to change things up a bit. NFL Network's Brian Baldinger has gone so far as to suggest they become a power running team.
It is true that this stretch where they pounded the ball to Derrick Gore was by far the best their offense looked. Perhaps there's something there. Not in an antiquated "you have to establish the run" way, but in a "maybe we should protect Patrick Mahomes" way.
Obviously, this is still Patrick Mahomes we're talking about. He's incredible, but it might be better for him and the team if they do just a little more running. The team averaged 5.7 yards per pass attempt last night, while Gore and Darrel Williams combined for 4.0 yards a carry. And they scored 20 points against a team that is in the bottom-third of the NFL in defensive scoring.
Last night was just the latest "mediocre" game for Mahomes, who is putting up the worst numbers of his career halfway through the season and is on pace to be sacked 30-plus times for the first time ever. He's averaging a career-low 7.1 yards per attempt and leads the league in interceptions with 10. His previous high was 12.
If nothing else, it could be as simple as "this isn't his year." The Chiefs are 4-4. They're not out of the picture in the AFC West and they'll compete for a wild card, but they do not look like a team ready for their fourth consecutive trip to the AFC Championship Game. They're coming off three very long, very successful seasons. Maybe letting Mahomes hand the ball off a few more times and save him the wear and tear of running for his life isn't the worst idea.
After all, they do have Mahomes for another decade. Maybe it's time for some load management. Or maybe this team is just better suited to run the ball right now. They're sixth in the league in yards per carry and 17th in yards per pass attempt. Let Mahomes watch someone else cook a few meals.