How Chiefs got back to the Super Bowl despite underwhelming WR group

Ben Arthur

AFC South Reporter

LAS VEGAS — The go-ahead score was within grasp for the Kansas City Chiefs. 

In front of their home crowd in Week 12, they trailed the Philadelphia Eagles, 21-17, with 1:50 left on a Monday night. Patrick Mahomes dropped back and threw a deep ball on the money to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who had a step on the defensive back for the walk-in touchdown. He dropped it, however. Kansas City went on to lose.

That moment encapsulated a major reason why this Chiefs offense has been defined by inconsistency. Why it lacks the explosiveness we’d grown accustomed to in the Andy Reid-Patrick Mahomes era. 

Kansas City’s wide receiver room has been subpar in 2023. Sure, rookie Rashee Rice has been a standout. Justin Watson and Valdes-Scantling have had the occasional big play. But it’s a group collectively that hasn’t played at the level it did last year, the first without Tyreek Hill. 

Chiefs’ wide receivers led the NFL with 22 drops in the regular season, according to Next Gen Stats. Former high draft picks Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore have failed to meet expectations, combining for just 48 receptions for 413 yards and two touchdowns. They represent a cast of skill players who are the most underwhelming of Mahomes’ time in Kansas City. 

It begs the question: how on earth did the Chiefs reach Super Bowl LVII, where they’ll face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, in spite of it? 

The most simple answer is defense. 

Was the 49ers or Chiefs Super Bowl run more impressive?

It’s been repeated incessantly: the 2023 Chiefs have the best defense of the Mahomes-Reid era. In the regular season, they ranked No. 2 in the NFL in both total defense (highest team rating since 1995) and points allowed (best rating since 2014). They were seventh in defensive DVOA, which calculates the success of each play compared to the league average. 

Kansas City’s point differential this season was…


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Publish date : 2024-02-07 00:27:36

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