One of the most beautiful things about watching your favorite NFL team win their game on Thursday night is watching stress-free football on Sunday afternoon.
I managed to catch a good chunk of Chiefs game against Tennessee, and as most saw, it wasn’t pretty. Watching though, I couldn’t help but think I was watching a professional, but way more talented version of Missouri Football. I mean, think about it:
- Both teams have severely underachieved compared to preseason expectations
- Both are worst, or near worst in most defensive categories
- Each hit rock bottom against Tennessee football teams
Now, I realize that there are a few key differences distinguishing them, but when you look at it, Missouri Football and the Kansas City Chiefs have a very similar problem.
The initial and easy thing to say would be both teams are struggling because they’re really bad on defense. That wouldn’t be wrong, but the problems are deeper than that. Their respective defenses are so bad they’re causing the offense to struggle because of the extra weight they have to carry. They’re forcing their offenses into positions where they have to score on every possession. It’s an extremely tough ask of your offense to be basically perfect to support a bottom-of-the-barrel defense, and right now neither team is good enough offensively that their offense can alone keep them afloat.
In the case of the Chiefs, they can get away with it at times because of who they have manning their QB position.
For Mizzou though, that’s an untenable assignment.
For Missouri to win games right now, it takes playing perfect football on offense. That means Connor Bazelak throwing the ball 40+ times and not turning the ball over. It means hitting a few more deep shots than usual. It means having minimal to no penalty yardage. Missouri has a solid offense, but they aren’t good enough where we can expect them to excel in all of these areas, every single week. They’re just not to that point yet.
I’ll give the offense credit, though. They’re sure as hell giving it their best shot.
Coming into this week, the Tigers ranked 26th in points, 32nd in yards per game, and 35th in yards per play. Against P5 Teams, Missouri is averaging exactly 25 points per game as well.
All of those stats, in a somewhat normal situation, would be perfectly acceptable. However, because of their defense, 25 points just isn’t going to cut it most weeks. Missouri can move the ball and can score some points, but they just aren’t an offense that runs smoothly enough or is efficient enough to win a good amount of shootouts.
The difference between the Chiefs and Mizzou is that Kansas City has an offense more than capable of matching scores with opponents. Missouri just doesn’t have that offensive infrastructure, or the talent relative to their level to score points like that on a consistent basis. At the NFL level, there is some room for improvement on a week to week basis, so for Kansas City, we’ll see.
For Missouri fans though, the outlook is a bit more bleak in the short term. They will probably just have to be content with the current defense until reinforcements can come in. There is no quick scheme fix. There is no magic wand to wave or a switch to flip. We hope for small improvements and we wait.