Kansas City Chiefs 2021 Season Recapby Michael Schiro February 4, 2022 0 comments
The Kansas City Chiefs had a weird year. With Patrick Mahomes playing lights out in the back half of the year and had fans scratching their heads in the first half. With both sides of the ball being underwhelming at times this year, it took the team a few weeks to get off and running. The defense struggled and couldn’t find rhythm for the first seven weeks, and it put more pressure on the offense and made Mahomes force the ball downfield more, which led to more incompletions and interceptions than usual. With the Chiefs losing in the AFC Championship game to the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24, a few things went wrong and right during the season to make this happen.
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What Went Right
With the defense playing terribly to start the year, it became evident the coaching staff needed to turn it around, and that’s what Steve Spagnuolo did. From being a bottom-of-the-league defense to just below average made all of the difference. In addition, the defense making some stops during the game allowed the offense to relax and take time with play-calling and not feel rushed. As a result, Mahomes settled in towards the back half of the season, and the team came together and rallied to reach the AFC championship game eventually; with the expectations of the Super Bowl, reaching the AFC Championship was a disappointment, but without the defensive turnaround, the chiefs don’t make it that far.
What Went Wrong
Everything that went right with the turnaround of the defense and Mahomes play is also what went wrong. After seven games, the Chiefs had 3-4 record with losses to the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Tennessee Titans. A losing record made it more challenging for the team to climb out to win the division and go one game away from the Super Bowl. However, if the Chiefs win two of those games and start hot, it’s a reasonable probability that they carry the momentum for the rest of the season.
Team Award Winners
MVP – Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes back half of the season was why they made it one game away from the Super Bowl. By having a more controlled second half of the season in terms of the throws, he made. The defenses played him the majority in a cover two and took away the big shot downfield to Tyreek Hill. The look of cover two took a while for Mahomes to figure out and start taking the middle of the field with Travis Kelce or dump it out in the flat to his back. Mahomes figuring out how to not always hunt the big play allowed the defense to rest for longer and the offense to just march down the field. Once he figured it out, the offense started to get rolling and take the pressure off the defense.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Creed Humphrey
Humphrey was arguably the best center in the league, having a Pro Football Focus grade of 91.4, which is the best out of all centers in the league. Playing 1,184 snaps for the chiefs was 99 percent of all offensive snaps, not to mention the 20 percent he took on special teams. In addition, Humphrey only allowed one sack for all the offensive snaps that he played. With only four penalties given up during the regular season, he clearly showed the ability to be one, if not the best, center in the league. With a stellar rookie season, all the Chiefs can hope for is that keeps this play up for years to come as a lynchpin on the offensive line.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Nick Bolton
The second-round pick out of Missouri played a substantial role in his rookie season. Bolton played in 16 games and started 12 of them, playing 624 snaps on defense and 40 snaps for special teams, racking up 83 solo tackles and 33 assists. With most of the snaps coming in run defense situations, the team used him as a thumper in the middle. With 44 stops and 12 tackles for loss, he ranked right in the middle of the league in those categories. While Bolton didn’t significantly impact the number of times he was on the field, look for the chiefs to future him as the mike linebacker next season.
Biggest Surprise – Byron Pringle
Pringle took a huge step up this year for the Chiefs. In their first two years with the team, he was just under 200 yards for the whole year. However, this year he ramped up production and finished the regular season with 42 receptions for 568 and five touchdowns with 13 and a half yards per reception. In addition, the team found a much-needed third option in the receiver room with Pringle stepping up and allowing Mahomes to feel comfortable throwing to someone, not Hill, Kelce, or Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Biggest Disappointment – Daniel Sorensen
Sorensen was one of the worst safeties this season. He ended up playing all 17 games, including starting seven games and played 698 snaps. Sorensen allowed most receivers to gain yards against him with ease—giving up 522 yards on a 72.1 percent catch rate on targets thrown his way. With the average yards the receiver getting against Sorensen being 16.8, it’s hard to survive that mentally with the amount it happened, with pictures of Tyrann Mathieu throwing his hand in the air after Sorensen getting torched multiple times at the beginning of the season.
One Burning Question
Is the dynasty in jeopardy?
With another year of the Chiefs losing either in the super bowl or in the playoffs, it’s safe to say that the alleged dynasty that people assumed the Chiefs would have is in jeopardy. With players like Kelce being 32 years old and other essential players getting older, the defense seemingly worsens each year. Additionally, with players with bad contracts like Frank Clark and Chris Jones, the team feels pressure to win another Super Bowl before Mahomes significant extension kicks in. Many fans thought that the Chiefs would be a two or three-time super bowl champion by this time. However, considering they only have one, some believe that the dynasty talk is over.
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