It hasn't been easy going of late for the Kansas City Chiefs, who have gone through an unusually poor stretch of football on the offensive end over the past several weeks. Kansas City had been shut out in the second half for nearly a month before breaking out for 17 second-half points in Week 12 to beat the Las Vegas Raiders, 31-17, to improve to 8-3 on the season.
The effort was impressive for the Chiefs as they were down two key wide receivers with Mecole Hardman and Kadarius Toney inactive due to injuries.
The condensed game plan saw Patrick Mahomes force-feed a few of his best weapons and it worked out nicely.
Chiefs offense may have benefitted from injuries
Being down Hardman and Toney forced Mahomes to rely almost exclusively on Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice, who corralled a combined 17 targets on 34 throws from Mahomes. Those two combined for 14 catches, 198 yards and a touchdown (from Rice) to provide the backbone of the Chiefs' passing attack.
Mahomes also peppered running back Isaiah Pacheco with five targets and he caught all of them for 34 yards. Pacheco was also given another 15 carries out of the backfield as he ran for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Reducing the number of mouths the offense had to feed appears to have been very important for Kansas City, which may still need to dip into the free agent pool to add to their receiver room with Hardman heading to injured reserve with a bad thumb. Forcing the football to Kelce, Pacheco and Rice, who by all accounts have been the Chiefs' three best skill position players this season, is a solid formula to follow since they have been the most effective weapons for Mahomes this year.
The Raiders' pass defense isn't the toughest so we'll see if this formula works in Week 13 when the Chiefs take on the Green Bay Packers. In the end, however, Kansas City snapped its second-half drought by narrowing the game plan to Mahomes' circle of trust.