Chiefs fans, cover your ears. It's Overreaction Monday, which means it's time for one of our biggest knee-jerk reactions of Week 2: The Kansas City Chiefs should not have let Eric Bieniemy leave.
In two weeks, Bieniemy has somehow accomplished the miraculous with the Washington Commanders and turned them into a watchable team. Nay, a good team. The Commanders still have their issues to iron out, but so do the Chiefs, and it's not hard to argue that the Bieniemy-led Commanders' offense looks better than that of the reigning Super Bowl champs right now. Through two games, the Commanders with Sam Howell are generating 27.5 points per game. The Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes are generating 18.5 points per game.
The Commanders are 2-0 to start the season and the Chiefs are 1-1, but where the Chiefs looked disjointed on offense (No Kelce excuses, please), the Commanders looked like the best they've been in years. Four years, to be exact.
Heading into Week 2's matchup against the Broncos, the Commanders hadn't scored 30 points or more since the Bill Callahan era in 2019. On Sunday, Washington beat Denver 35-33 in a Mile High thriller, also marking the first time since 2011 that the team has started 2-0.
Haters will point out that the Commanders beat a tanking team and Russell Wilson who desperately needs a wristband, but those who simply appreciate football will know the Commanders could not have gotten here without offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Bieniemy, who joined Washington this past offseason after five under-appreciated years in Kansas City, has turned the running gag of the league into a well-run and multi-faceted wild card contender (we're keeping our predictions realistic, at least).
The Commanders-Broncos game supplies all the evidence.
Overreaction Monday: Eric Bieniemy is the Chiefs' biggest loss of the offseason
The Commanders were down 18 points up until the end of the first half, when tight end Logan Thomas held onto a touchdown despite a cheap headshot from a Broncos defender (Is Bountygate back?!). Slowly but surely, Washington climbed its way back into the game, narrowing Denver's lead to 10, then seven, and then tying it up at the start of the third.
Once the game was level, Bieniemy reached into his bag for an offensive play-calling masterclass to pull off the comeback victory. Over the course of the second half, he decreased Sam Howell's number of dropbacks to 12 (compared to 33 in the first half) and leaned more heavily on the run, getting good yardage on the ground from Brian Robinson's hard-nosed rushes.
Except for one punt and one missed field goal, the rest of the Commanders' second-half drives ended in touchdowns. Bieniemy has Howell's precocious composure, Robinson's rushing efficiency, McLaurin's clutch big-play ability, a fully healthy Chase Young, and a few other players to thank for this win, but he should also give himself a well-deserved pat on the back. He's turned a fifth-round draft pick into the makings of a leader on a high-scoring offense, one that put 20 over the Cardinals last week.
Over in Kansas City, the Chiefs eked by the Jaguars in a 17-9 win that was nowhere near as thrilling as the Commanders game. And this shouldn't even need to be said, but: the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes. The Commander have Howell. Yes, the Commanders have a more proven receiving corps, but the talent gap between Mahomes and Howell is so unimaginably cavernous that fans may be thinking, "What could Bieniemy do with a quarterback like Mahomes?" Oh, wait.
For the Chiefs to struggle to get points on the board with the league's best quarterback under center... let's just say they have a winding clock to figure out their offensive snags. The Commanders may be waiting for the other shoe to drop with Howell and may get a reality check in their next two games against the Bills and Eagles; however, Bieniemy is already making a positive tangible effect on this new-look offense. What can Matt Nagy say for his Chiefs unit?
It's only Week 2. Chances are the Chiefs' and Commanders' records will not be the same come December, and only one will be playing playoff football. Still, the Eric Bieniemy effect -- much like the Patrick Mahomes effect -- appears to be very real.
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