The Chiefs have been an unstoppable juggernaut in September during the Mahomes era. From 2018-2020, Mahomes’ September numbers on average are 67.4% completion rate, 1,101.33 passing yards, 10.6 touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 124.13. The offense scored an average of 34.4 points per game and went 10-0.
This season his completion rate is actually up to 70.2%, he has passed for 940 yards, nine touchdowns, and a 111.69 passer rating. The big difference is his interceptions which went from zero in three years to three in three games.
All three of his interceptions were at crucial points in the game and can be looked to as significant plays that caused the team to lose. Mahomes went from 10-0 in his first three seasons to 1-2 this season. If it wasn’t for a Cleveland unforced special teams error late in the game, the Chiefs very likely would be 0-3 this September.
Has the Defense Impacted Mahomes’ Play?
The Chiefs defense has allowed at least 29 points in six of their seven games this year. The defense has shown no signs of being able to stop their opponents. This has put a tremendous amount of pressure on the offense which has led to uncharacteristic errors by the offense as a whole.
Mahomes has been forcing plays which have caused all of his turnovers. Last week against the Titans, Mahomes forced a contested throw to Josh Gordon that was immediately intercepted. In another play, Mahomes ran for the first down but as opposed to tucking the ball and sliding, he forced the play to continue which ultimately led to him fumbling the ball.
The defense, or lack thereof, has impacted the offense significantly and is causing Mahomes to play sloppy and force the play. His sloppy play has led to his NFL leading turnovers which compounds the situation and causes him to force the ball even more in an attempt to correct his mistake. It’s a vicious cycle that Mahomes has been forced into and then kept himself in.
Can Mahomes Fix His Issues?
The Chief’s offense is still incredibly explosive. They convert first downs into new series at the highest rate (82.3%) in the NFL since 1999. There is only one other team in 2021 that has a conversion rate above 80% (Cowboys).
They also have the highest first down touchdown percentage in 2021. Mahomes currently has the fifth-highest EPA (Expected Points Added) among all quarterbacks in 2021. Mahomes has also had some incredibly unlucky plays this season.
In the past five weeks, Mahomes has had six turnover-worthy plays yet he has ten turnovers (167%). Last season his turnover-worthy plays to turnovers were at 45%. That is a drastic change and those unlucky plays have significantly hurt the offense.
The issues Mahomes is having are very fixable on paper. Stop trying to win the game on every single play. Cut down on the sloppy throws by not forcing the ball into bad situations. The luck factor has played a part in the turnover-worthy plays that have cost the team multiple games.
Receivers can vastly help fix that by not dropping passes that hit them in the hands. Most of these issues are fixable…but we are nearly eight weeks through the season and they still haven’t been fixed. Mahomes still has time to correct the ship and get back on course but the path is quickly closing.
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