Tim Crone: Chiefs have issues to face before getting back to the Super Bowl
I normally allow myself to take some time to think over my topics before writing, but this is being written immediately after the final second ticked off the Super Bowl clock.
My dad always told me that no matter how good you think you are, sooner or later someone or something will humble you. That is a perfect example of the Kansas City Chiefs in their Super Bowl loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Chiefs were totally dominated by the Bucs physicality the entire game. It is a blessing that Patrick Mahomes came out of the game with all his limbs intact. The defensive line of the Bucs ate the Chiefs offensive line alive.
They took away the deep passing game. The only receiver able to get open was Travis Kelce.
Yes, in the first half the officials played too big of a role. It was not defensive holding on the interception by Tyrann Mathieu. But let’s get real. The officials were not the problem.
The offensive line was terrible and the defense hurt themselves with late hit and pass interference calls in key situations. The touchdown right before the end of the first half was a dagger. Andy Reid called two timeouts on first and second downs that backfired and Bashaud Breeland got the long pass interference call.
We could go on and on about how things went south from that point on, but the most important thing about a butt whipping is that you learn from it and get better from it.
The Chiefs went to back-to-back Super Bowls and played in three straight AFC Championship games with one Super Bowl win. I am sure the Chiefs organization will continue to improve and learn from this loss.
Going into next year it is obvious that if they want Patrick Mahomes to be able to play all 10 years with his big contract, they will need to improve in two crucial areas.
The first is the offensive line. Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher are at the end of the road. The team has to come up with two tackles either in the draft or free agency who can protect their superstar quarterback.
The team should be improved with the hopeful return of offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff. Running back Damien Williams opted out because of COVID-19 but he will be a better backup than what Le’Veon Bell has proven to be. It is probably time for receiver Sammy Watkins to move on because he is hurt all the time, which is too bad. When he is fully healthy he can play. Unfortunately, he is too costly with the salary cap.
Defensively, the Chiefs need help at linebacker. Ben Niemann plays hard but lacks the physicality to play as much as he was forced to this year. Willie Gay played lights out before he got hurt at the end of the year, which leaves hope on that front.
The secondary for any team in the NFL must possess good corners and safeties. It will be interesting to see how the team approaches this need in the offseason. Brett Veach has done a good job of finding players in late rounds like L’Jarius Sneed and Gay, but he will have to hit on some big areas for the team to continue to be a Super Bowl caliber team.
Everyone in Kansas City – whether you are a fan, coach, player or Chiefs executive – has to quit thinking that Mahomes can carry the team in every game. In the Super Bowl this year he played his heart out but had to run for his life on every snap in the second half.
Tom Brady is the GOAT, hands down. He has earned that title because the teams he has played on have had great defenses and good running games, and Brady is a genius in an understanding of his strengths and weaknesses.
Chiefs Kingdom has to stop placing all hopes on the “Mahomes Magic.” The Chiefs are built on finesse and creativity. That has been extraordinarily successful, but in the game of football you still have to be physical and control the line of scrimmage.
If the Chiefs had an above average offensive line in the Tampa Super Bowl, they should have run the ball for at least 150 yards against a two- and three-deep safety look. If they ran the ball, the play action would have slowed the pass rush the Bucs put on the Chiefs.
Getting your butt handed to you will either make you better or turn you into just another pretty face. That is called life lessons.
One final side note – I wonder how many times the Tampa Bay Buccaneers replayed the tape of Hill doing a back-flip into the end zone?!
• The quote of the week comes from Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle: “The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none.”
Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.