For most of the season’s first two months, the Chiefs were charmed when it came to turnovers.
After a fumble by rookie running back Kareem Hunt on the team’s first snap against the Patriots in the opener, the Chiefs went their next 73 offensive possessions and all of the special-teams snaps without a giveaway.
The streak ended oddly — Tyreek Hill’s intercepted pass in the end zone against the Broncos — but giveaways didn’t stop there.
Starting with the Broncos game, the Chiefs have committed six turnovers (one fumble and five interceptions) and for the first time this season giveaways cost them in a game.
Last weekend, two Alex Smith picks turned into the nine Giants points in regulation and New York went on to a 12-9 triumph in overtime.
There are no easy answers for the streak of sloppiness. Each giveaway tells its own story. Two of the picks weren’t thrown by Smith — one was by Hill and the other by tight end Travis Kelce. An interception on the final possession at Dallas was Smith in desperation mode.
On Smith’s second interception against the Giants, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson may have cut too soon on his route.
“A lot of little things add up,” Smith said. “On both of them, whether it’s little details or accuracy, a lot of things led to them.”
Kelce threw to the wrong target on his interception. Hill underthrew his man in the end zone against the Broncos.
Together, the six giveaways are the most in a three-game stretch since the beginning of the 2016 season.
“It’s kind of the ebb and flow of the game,” said Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. “The law of averages is going to happen.”
The Chiefs have been one of the NFL’s most careful teams in the Andy Reid era. They trail only the Patriots for the fewest turnovers since 2013. And despite the recent run, their seven giveaways on the season are the league’s second fewest.
Sunday’s opponent, the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium, has been good in the takeaway department this season. Their 18 turnovers rank seventh, but there has been only one forced turnover in the last three games.
The Chiefs’ losing ways — four of the last five games — predates the giveaway trend, but a clean game last week might have allowed them to avoid an embarrassing loss to the Giants, a game in which they didn’t score a touchdown for the first time since 2015.
“It’s how you respond to it,” Nagy said. “That’s our biggest challenge right now as a staff and as players is how we’re going to respond to what’s going on. I feel good about it.”