Time to panic about Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs? Separating fact from fiction, who's to blame and what's next

A wildly frustrating start to the Kansas City Chiefs' 2021 season turned ugly on Sunday. The defending AFC champs were outscored 27-0 in the first half by the Tennessee Titans. Mike Vrabel's team took its foot off the gas and didn't score in the second half, but the Chiefs could muster only a lone field goal in what was the worst offensive performance of the Patrick Mahomes era. If that wasn't bad enough, Mahomes was injured in the fourth quarter and had to leave the game. The only good news from the defeat is that Mahomes passed the concussion protocol.

At 3-4, the Chiefs have as many losses through seven weeks as they've had through any full season since Mahomes took over as their starter in 2018. With losses to the Bills, Chargers, Ravens and Titans, they have lost tiebreakers to many of the teams they would expect to compete against in the postseason. They're a tiebreaker away from last place in the AFC West, a division they were overwhelmingly expected to win for the sixth consecutive season. If this were a video game, the Chiefs would frantically be pressing the reset button.

Let's take a closer look at the Chiefs, and I'll do my best to break down what is factual and fictional about this start to the season. I'll begin with one of the biggest reasons they were manhandled in Week 7:

Jump to a section:
Turnovers | Two-high coverages
Offensive issues | Explosive plays
O-line overhaul | Defensive disaster
Can the D improve? | Questionable depth
Could this team still win the Super Bowl?

Fact: The Chiefs are turning the ball over way too often