KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs head coach wasted no time following his team’s disappointing 16-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills of falling on his sword and taking responsibility for another poor performance from his offense.
“That’s my responsibility for when the offense starts that slow and I’ll go back and look at that,” Reid said. “We didn’t really didn’t get much rhythm going until the second half and then we got a little going. And again, I’ll take responsibility for that.”
Saying the Chiefs started slowing against Buffalo stands as an understatement. The offense went three-and-out on its first five drives and mustered only one first-down during the first 30 minutes. Yes, the Chiefs offensive output jumped to 179 yards in the second half compared to just 57 in the first half. But they squeezed only one touchdown out and saw two shots at a rally in the fourth quarter end with a whimper.
The once vaunted running game dribbled out just 55 yards on the ground. That makes it five of the last six games in which the Chiefs rushed for fewer than 100 yards.
Quarterback Alex Smith averaged 244.3 yards passing during that stretch. He averaged 278.2 yards during the team’s first five games. He turned the ball over for the fourth time in three games after opening with eight-straight games without an interception.
Reid made it clear that Smith is not the scapegoat. When asked if he considered turning to first-round draft pick Patrick Mahomes to jumpstart the offensive, Reid quickly said no.
“No,” Reid said. “That’s not where I’m at right now. There are a couple of other things I’ve got to take care of.”
Indeed, there is plenty of blame to go around.
“Everybody’s got a piece on that when you say that,” Reid said when asked how much of the offense’s problems fall on Smith. “He’s going to stand up here and tell you that same thing. I can do a better job of putting him in better positions to make plays.The offensive line can block better, receivers – not every catch is going to be an easy catch. So we’ve all got a little of this.”
Center Mitch Morse echoed his coach’s comments.
“It’s is extremely frustrating,” Morse said. “We have a championship-caliber team. I can only speak for myself but stupid mistakes and physical errors are putting us out of position to put our offense in a situation to score.”
The Chiefs cannot seem to get out of their own way right now. The boo birds at Arrowhead Stadium may have reached their peak when Smith fired a wide receiver screen pass only to have Tyreek Hill and Albert Wilson battle for the ball and knock it to the ground.
“Certainly a miscommunication as far as what personnel ran, who was playing what position,” Smith said. “Then you’re going on the fly. I think they both kind of realized that they were trying to adjust off each other.”
Smith said he guesses his confidence ebbs and flows with that of the offense.
“When things are rolling and it’s great, you’re a product,” Smith said. “Certainly as a guy that touches a ball every play, making a lot of decisions, when the offense is doing good it’s certainly probably a reflection. Not sure what comes first sometimes. But you’re in there just trying to go.”
Mistakes that the team’s 5-0 winning streak masked now take on greater visibility and significance. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz said the team must make quicker and more effective in-game adjustments.
“If it looks like they are pressuring a little more than normal it’s not a pressure that we haven’t seen but, hey, be ready for this, adjust to this,” Schwartz said. “If the defensive end goes inside, be ready to pass that off. Just kind of the game within the game.”
The Chiefs try to avoid leaning on excuses, leaning on the mantra that everyone owns a piece of the losing streak. But rookie running back Kareem Hunt admits he doesn’t have a reason for the offense’s struggles.
“I really don’t know,” Hunt said. “I just feel like we’ve got to better all sides of the ball. Offensively, I’ve got to get better. Everybody does.”
Reid continues stressing the need for his team to stick together, selling them on his belief that they can get through this adversity.
“Every game is not a perfect game, so you’re going to go through some hard times,” Reid said. “You stick together and work hard. You get through it and then you’re real with your game. We’re all real with our game, then good things will happen.”