Following a gritty come-from-behind win in Cleveland, the Kansas City Chiefs showed some concerning weaknesses in a sloppy Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Losses are rarely celebrated, but this one was necessary for the long-term development of the team.
The run defense didn’t look particularly good after Week 1, and the Ravens took note, gashing the Chiefs for over 250 yards on the ground. Overall, the defense gave up nearly 500 total yards to Lamar Jackson and Co. This should’ve never happened, given that this Ravens team was hobbled with 15 players on IR. Even with their dismal run defense, Kansas City had no business letting Baltimore hang around.
The Ravens noted the Browns’ consistent rushing attack and took it to the next level. Baltimore averaged over six yards per rush and kept Kansas City’s defense on the field for far too long, including an eight-minute drive in the fourth quarter. With the Chiefs lining Chris Jones up on the edge for the start of the season, the Ravens could neutralize Kansas City’s most dominant pass rusher and run stopper. Utilizing the read-option, with Jones as the read man, Baltimore marched up and down the field.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs threw out the idea of 20-0 before the season started. Given their success over the last three years, many thought it was plausible. But even the 20-0 believers knew that the defense would be paramount if anything close to an undefeated season was going to be a reality. However, this defense showed some weak spots in Week 1 and looked like one of the worst units in the entire league on Sunday night.
This loss is exactly what the Chiefs needed. A Week 2 loss against the Ravens is far better than losing in the second round of the playoffs. Kansas City will rebound and make changes on defense to put themselves in a better position throughout the season. This season has started much like 2018 when Mahomes won MVP, and the Chiefs defense was ranked 24th in the league.
In the first two games of that 2018 season, the Chiefs gave up over 1,000 yards of total offense and 65 points. While Kansas City was 2-0 in those games, it wasn’t pretty due to the teams’ overreliance on Mahomes to keep them in the game. In the first two games of this season, the Chiefs’ defense has given up over 900 total yards and 65 points. Steve Spagnuolo will need to make some serious adjustments.
This is a come-back-to-earth moment for this team. The next steps for Kansas City are to make the necessary changes, like moving Chris Jones back inside against heavy rushing teams and figuring out what the defense needs to do to get themselves off the field. Improving their run defense is a must, and getting Willie Gay Jr. back in the weeks to come while getting the rest of the defense healthy will help with that.
The Chiefs’ issue is that they run the risk of losing if Mahomes doesn’t play a perfect game. The Chiefs scored over 30 points against good defensive fronts in the last two games, one against a hostile crowd in Baltimore. The difference between a convincing victory in Cleveland instead of a nailbiter and a win in Baltimore is two defensive stops. When the defense can’t provide decent field position or get one of the best QBs in the NFL back on the field, it allows teams to hang around longer than they should.
The best teams in the league face adversity and make changes to overcome it. People counted out the 2018 New England Patriots when they lost to Kansas City in Foxborough, and that team went on to win the Super Bowl. The Chiefs now have an opportunity to take this tough loss in Baltimore and learn from it on their journey for a third-straight Super Bowl appearance.