The Kansas City Chiefs are the best in the West.
The Chiefs won the AFC West for a sixth straight time a few weeks ago, and they just beat the Broncos for a 13th straight time on Saturday. But if the Broncos are going to beat the Chiefs, should they get rid of Vic Fangio?
OK, the two may not seem interrelated, but they are.
Fangio’s Broncos just fell to 7-10 for the first time in franchise history (2021 is the first time there are 17 games in the regular season), and they are now 19-30 all-time under the defensive-minded head coach. That’s a record which just doesn’t cut it in Denver.
On top of all the losing, Fangio’s flubbed many times in the challenge department (4-of-16 all-time) and his clock management has been awful, too. And the team kicked a field goal down 7 points late today, which was the wrong call. Add onto all those complaints his hiring of Pat Shurmur — whose offense has lacked creativity and explosiveness — and his refusal to fire Tom McMahon, the special teams coach.
Yes, there are a ton of reasons why Fangio should be fired. And, he likely will be.
But was today’s game enough to save his job?
The Broncos led for most of the contest and played electric football against a much better Chiefs team. But that’s not exactly what may have saved his job.
The Chiefs won 28-24, but Fangio’s defense only gave up 20 points as KC enjoyed the fumble-6 in the fourth quarter. And really, his defense has proven to be able to confuse and frustrate Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Rewind to Week 13, and the Chiefs scored a mere 22 points and Mahomes was held to 184 passing yards. It was Mahomes’ second-lowest yardage output of the season and their 6th-lowest scoring total.
Mahomes has thrown for a mere 8 touchdowns with 2 interceptions in 6 games against Fangio’s Broncos defense. Simply, he’s not the same, electrifying player he is against basically every other team in the NFL. Mahomes was actually saved twice this week when Broncos defensive backs dropped what should have been easy interceptions. He was out of his element against Denver in the first half before finding his rhythm.
In the six games Fangio has coached against the Chiefs, they have averaged 28 points per game, which doesn’t sound impressive but it slightly better than what they’ve averaged the last three years.
So, here’s the thing.
The Chiefs are by far the best team in the West. The Chargers and the Raiders are each ahead of Denver just slightly, but Kansas City is where the kings reside. And to be the king, Denver has to beat the king.
The complicated part is Fangio may be the best coach to help them beat Kansas City, at least in the short-term.
It was reported by NFL.com that Fangio’s future hadn’t been decided before the Broncos – Chiefs game kicked off. He could be kept for 2022, the final year on his contract, and the first year of new ownership for the team.
If he is indeed retained, both Shurmur and McMahon must be let go. On top of that, the Broncos must find a star quarterback.
When he was asked about the AFC West on Saturday night, Fangio said, “Those other three teams have top-shelf quarterbacks, which is obvious to everybody.”
Which may seem like a shot at Drew Lock, but is also just the blatant truth.
If one had to guess whether or not Fangio will be retained for 2022, it seems more likely he will be let go. But, maybe 60/40 at this point?
There’s a definite possibility Fangio is the Broncos head coach for a fourth straight year next season, so prepare yourselves for that. And if he is, it may end up in the team’s favor considering how his defense has slowed the Chiefs.