‘That defense has gotten worse.’ What national media is saying about Chiefs

It should be no surprise that the Chiefs’ 31-24 loss to the Texans on Sunday would generate a lot of talk from national NFL writers and broadcasters.

The Chiefs lost their second straight game and both came at Arrowhead Stadium with similar issues for Kansas City: Patrick Mahomes’ ankle, offensive-line issues and a poor defensive effort against the run.

Here is what is being said about the Chiefs around the country:

Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports wrote a column headlined “Could deal for star CB like Jalen Ramsey prevent Chiefs from getting run over and lift load off Patrick Mahomes?”

Here is a snippet of what he wrote: “If Kansas City were to add a killer cornerback to their current group — say a Patrick Peterson or a Jalen Ramsey or a Xavien Howard — it would free up defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who is six games into his tenure, time to devote more resources (secondary members) to stopping the run.

“At the moment, none of those players seem to be on the move, as all three of their current teams (the Cardinals, Jaguars and Dolphins) have yet to decide they want to trade these guys. If something were to change, it would make sense for a team like the Chiefs, who need a Deion-to-the-49ers-like infusion of attitude and talent in the worst way, to make a reasonable move to give their flagging defense a boost before the offseason makeover that will almost surely come via the draft and free agency.”

Matt Bonesteel of the Washington Post wrote a story with this headline: “NFL teams have unlocked the secret to beating Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.”

This is a bit of what he wrote: “It seems, then, that the secret to beating Mahomes is not to devise some sort of fancy defensive scheme but rather to simply make sure he doesn’t get onto the field.

“This has been increasingly easy for the Chiefs’ opponents considering Kansas City’s struggles stopping the run. The Colts ran the ball 45 times for 180 yards, and the Texans had 41 carries for 192 yards. Even the Lions, a team whose rushing attack has been dormant pretty much since Barry Sanders’s retirement, was able to move the ball on the ground: 35 carries, 186 yards, 5.3 yards per attempt.”

Former Colts/Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, talking on NBC’s studio show at halftime of Sunday’s game, painted an ugly picture for the Chiefs.

“The problem I saw with the Kansas City was the defense,” Dungy said. “They have not improved from last year at all. Gave up 35 first downs today. They could not get the ball back for the offense in the second half. They are going to have to improve if they want to be a playoff team.”

Rodney Harrison said: “That defense has gotten worse.”

There was also a discussion of the overturned penalty that resulted in Mahomes’ first interception of the season:

Danny Heifetz of The Ringer wrote a story with the headline, “The Chiefs D can’t get Patrick Mahomes the ball — and he can’t do much when he has it.” This is part of what he wrote: “The defensive failings are particularly devastating considering that improving that unit was an organizational mandate this offseason. The Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and replaced him with Steve Spagnuolo, who famously stifled the Patriots offense with the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. The team also cut defensive end Justin Houston, traded away defensive end Dee Ford, and traded for Seattle’s Frank Clark, who signed to a new deal with $62 million guaranteed. In the same vein, the team released safety Eric Berry and signed Tyrann Mathieu to bolster their back end and run defense. Through five weeks, these moves had produced little, as the Chiefs defense sat in the bottom five of yards allowed per drive, time of possession per drive, and drive success rate. Entering Sunday, their defense ranked 32nd in plays per drive, 31st in rushing yards per attempt (5.3), 31st in rushing first downs (43), and 30th in rushing defense efficiency per Football Outsiders. That does not include Sunday’s loss to Houston, so the Chiefs might drop in all of those categories.”

Mike Jones of USA Today wrote a story with the headline, “Chiefs can’t keep asking Patrick Mahomes to cover their fatal flaws.”

This is an excerpt: “As they followed up their Week 5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts with a 31-24 home defeat to the Houston Texans on Sunday, the Chiefs look very pedestrian, vulnerable even, and now have real reason for concern. ...

“Pass protection suddenly is an issue as Mahomes has had little time to operate from the pocket. The balance that Kansas City’s offense once boasted has now vanished, and the fireworks have faded as defenses have managed to contain the Chiefs’ many weapons. Meanwhile, it turns out the defensive issues that plagued Kansas City last season very much remain.”

Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports offered his thoughts on the game.

This was a part of what he wrote: “The main reason for Kansas City’s demise, however, was mental mistakes. They were called for 11 penalties on the afternoon, which marked the second straight game with double-digit penalties. Safety Juan Thornhill also made the questionable decision to pick off Watson in the end zone instead of batting the ball away. That interception had K.C. start a drive on their 20-yard line instead of at the 40. Those kind of mistakes plagued the Chiefs all afternoon and ultimately led to their defeat.”

Adam Teicher, writing in ESPN’s Week 6 takeaways, noted: “They had their lowest time of possession (20:12) ever for a home game on Sunday and ran 47 plays compared to 83 for the Texans. That’s putting too much pressure on quarterback Patrick Mahomes and an offense that is having problems of its own. The Chiefs have needed to be perfect of late on offense, and they haven’t been close.”