Kansas City had to battle back to overcome a valiant effort from the Justin Herbert-led Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Next Monday, however, the Chiefs may not have that luxury.
Now, saying that going up against 2019's unanimous MVP in Lamar Jackson will be change of pace from a rookie fill-in quarterback is certainly an obvious statement. But it's worth looking into why Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense got off to such a sluggish start.
The Chargers defense pressured and rushed the Kansas City offense until they didn't. And Mahomes led the Chiefs to a fourth-quarter comeback and an overtime victory. Against Baltimore, however, one analyst believes that big-play offense may come back to bite them.
"One of the things I learned about the Chiefs is one of the reasons for their success is not only talent, it’s they’re all gas, no brakes," said ESPN's NFL Live commentator Dan Orlovsky. "There is this never-ending 'We are going to be aggressive mindset.'"
Orlovsky admitted Kansas City's run-and-gun style, along with having "the best player in football" in Mahomes, leads to those jaw-dropping plays like this late touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill.
But if the Chiefs start out like they did against the Chargers, Orlovsky thinks they might not get the chance to stage some of those highlight-reel plays.
"If they play like this next Monday night they’re going to get door stomped by the Baltimore Ravens. They gotta play better," Orlovsky said. "They have not executed efficiently, they’ve been poor on first downs. That’s why they got into so many third-and-longs."
Remember, this is an NFL analyst who was rumored to have front-office offers in the offseason. Orlovsky knows his stuff. But if Mahomes can be more efficient in those first down situations, Baltimore might be looking at its third straight season with an L next to the Chiefs in their schedule and results website section.
Orlovsky's co-analyst in the studio, Marcus Spears, also believes the Ravens can win. By keeping Mahomes on the sideline with a dominant run game combined with timely defensive plays - both on full display in Week 2 win vs. Houston - the Ravens have a great chance to pull out a win. That wasn't the only key Spears gave, though.
"Here’s the bottom line, the two games we saw Patrick Mahomes struggle in was against a four-man rush, an unrelenting four-man rush," said Spears. "The Ravens are going to have to not only keep Lamar Jackson with the rock in his hand, but they also are going to have to make timely defensive plays."
With an impressive defensive touchdown from L.J. Fort followed by Marcus Peter's interception (SportsCenter's No. 6 play on their Top 10 Plays segment), it's safe to say Baltimore was quite timely on the defensive side of the ball.
Still, Mahomes and company present a whole other challenge.