The Chiefs are in the AFC West cellar at 3-4 following Sunday’s 27-3 beatdown at the hands of the Tennessee Titans.
This is not the Chiefs team most envisioned seeing this season as the team plays for a third straight Super Bowl appearance.
Coach Andy Reid is now 2-9 against the Titans.
The Chiefs’ offense was again plagued by turnovers. Two Patrick Mahomes miscues (one interception, one lost fumble), and a late-game fumble that Mecole Hardman lost, helped push the Chiefs’ giveaway total since Week 2 to 17.
Defensively, the Chiefs held running back Derrick Henry to 86 yards on 28 carries. But while Henry managed just 3 yards per carry, the Chiefs’ defense allowed five big plays, defined as gains of 20 or more yards. And one went for a 24-yard touchdown.
Here’s how the Chiefs’ snap counts worked out Sunday.
QUARTERBACKS: Patrick Mahomes (54), Chad Henne (18)
The Chiefs dodged a major scare with Mahomes, who entered the NFL concussion protocol in the second half after being on the receiving end of a hard hit to the head and neck area.
He eventually cleared the protocol, but Reid elected to err on the side of caution and hold his quarterback out for the remainder of a game that was already well out of hand, anyway.
Mahomes completed 20 of 35 passes for 206 yards and an interception en route to a career-low 62.3 passer rating. He’s now thrown an interception in six straight games and has nine this season. Week 7 also marked the third straight game he’s failed to post a passer rating of 100.0 or better.
Henne filled in for Mahomes the rest of the way, completing 11 of 16 passes for 82 yards.
RUNNING BACKS: Darrel Williams (46, 2 on special teams), Jerick McKinnon (22, 8 on ST), Derrick Gore (5, 8 on ST)
The Chiefs’ running game disappeared as the Titans built a lead. Mahomes led the Chiefs with 35 yards on six carries.
Williams managed just 20 yards on five carries but contributed three catches for 30 yards. McKinnon didn’t record a carry but caught two passes for 17 yards.
As a team, the Chiefs totaled 77 yards on 13 carries, the bulk of it coming on an 18-yard run by receiver Tyreek Hill. Speaking of the receivers ...
WIDE RECEIVERS: Demarcus Robinson (57), Tyreek Hill (52, 1 on ST), Mecole Hardman (49, 2 on ST), Byron Pringle (34, 7 on ST), Josh Gordon (8), Marcus Kemp (6, 17 on ST)
The Titans played two safeties back for much of Sunday’s game, forcing the Chiefs to throw underneath. The tactic worked as Mahomes connected on just three big plays.
Pringle recorded a team-high 73 yards on five catches, including receptions of 25 and 23 yards. Hill made six catches for 49 yards on nine targets.
Hardman had four catches for 28 yards. Robinson and Kemp each caught one, for a combined 15 yards.
Gordon was a starter in name only on Sunday, as he totaled a mere eight offensive snaps and was targeted just once. And that pass was intercepted.
TIGHT ENDS: Travis Kelce (53), Noah Gray (22, 12 on ST), Blake Bell (6, 7 on ST)
Kelce recorded a team-high seven catches for 64 yards on 12 targets (also a team-high). His 24-yard catch in the third quarter accounted for Mahomes’ third and final big play of the day.
One bright spot: Kelce has now caught a pass in 117 straight games, which ranks as the second-longest streak in team history and fourth-longest active streak in the NFL.
Gray made one catch for 4 yards, while Bell wasn’t targeted.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Orlando Brown Jr. (72, 2 on ST), Joe Thuney (72), Creed Humphrey (72, 2 on ST), Trey Smith (72, 2 on ST), Mike Remmers (72), Andrew Wylie (2 on ST), Lucas Niang (2 on ST), Nick Allegretti (2 on ST)
The offensive line had protection issues against the Titans’ aggressive pass rush: Mahomes was sacked four times and hit nine.
Brown, the left tackle acquired in the offseason, appeared to struggle the most.
“They had a good plan on us,” Reid said Monday of the Titans’ defensive front. “They pushed the pocket on the right side on the quarterback’s throwing arm and they worked at times 10 to 11 yards around the corner. Once you work the quarterback’s throwing arm, he can’t step up, so now he’s deep around the corner.
“That’s a couple that Orlando got beat on there, deep and around the horn. ... Orlando can do some things with his set to make it even better there.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Frank Clark (50), Jarran Reed (43), Chris Jones (39), Mike Danna (37, 5 on ST), Derrick Nnadi (30, 5 on ST), Alex Okafor (27, 5 on ST), Tershawn Wharton (27, 5 on ST), Khalen Saunders (23)
Jones returned from a wrist injury that kept him out of the previous two games, but he didn’t make his presence felt against Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Chiefs’ pass rush secured just one sack, and it came from linebacker Ben Niemann. As a group, the defensive line accounted for two of the team’s four quarterback hits on Tannehill. Reed and Clark recorded one QB hit apiece. Jones finished with just one tackle.
The Chiefs’ recent inability to consistently affect the opposing passer is among their many growing concerns.
LINEBACKERS: Nick Bolton (57, 5 on ST), Ben Niemann (50, 13 on ST), Willie Gay Jr. (46, 2 on ST), Dorian O’Daniel (17 on ST), Christian Rozeboom (10 on ST), Darius Harris (2 on ST)
Bolton was the lone defensive bright spot. He was a consistently disruptive force in the Titans’ backfield.
The rookie out of Mizzou recorded a team-high 15 tackles, including a team-high four for losses, in the absence of Anthony Hitchens (out due to injury). Bolton now has a team-best 55 tackles (39 solo), including a team-high nine for losses, through seven games.
In addition to recording the Chiefs’ lone sack, Niemann made four tackles and a quarterback hit. Gay had two tackles, his first career interception and a pass defensed.
Rozeboom, elevated from the practice squad with Hitchens out, played on special teams and recorded a tackle.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Tyrann Mathieu (68), L’Jarius Sneed (66, 2 on ST), Juan Thornhill (65), Rashad Fenton (45, 2), Charvarius Ward (43), Mike Hughes (16, 10 on ST), Daniel Sorensen (16, 10 on ST), Chris Lammons (17 on ST), Armani Watts (11 on ST)
All five of the Titans’ big plays came in the passing game, so the Chiefs’ defensive secondary had a busy, and rough, outing.
Hughes was beat by Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown down the left sideline for a touchdown. Brown finished with eight catches for 133 yards, including a 46-yard gain and the touchdown, on nine targets.
Ward saw his first action since Week 2, but Fenton recorded the start at left cornerback in the Chiefs’ 4-3 base. Fenton totaled four tackles and a pass defensed and Ward had two tackles and a pass defensed.
Thornhill led the Chiefs’ defensive backs with nine tackles. Sneed chipped in seven and a quarterback hit.
SPECIALISTS: Harrison Butker (4), Tommy Townsend (4), James Winchester (4)
Butker’s 42-yard field goal accounted for the Chiefs’ only points. He missed a 57-yard attempt late in the third quarter.
Townsend punted twice, averaging 46.5 yards per attempt.