Chiefs Defense Keeps Tebow Uncomfortable

From Sports Authority Field, Denver

The idea was a simple one, the execution of the idea was not.

As the Chiefs prepared to play the Broncos last week, they discovered every day that in his role as defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel was adding new wrinkles to what they were going to do against Denver.

Vanilla was not what this defensive game plan was all about. The idea was to keep young QB Tim Tebow guessing. But the only way that could work was if the Chiefs defenders came out and played assignment sound football.

That hasn’t always been the case with the 2011 Chiefs. Frequent breakdowns in coverage have allowed receivers to roam through the secondary unencumbered by anyone in the other colored jersey. If this kitchen sink approach was going to work, it would require the Chiefs defense taking a step forward.

Consider it done. Changing their defensive face as many times as they could, the Chiefs had Tebow at times befuddled and at other times unable to make anything happen with his offense. Denver did not score a touchdown, found the red zone just twice and totaled only 266 yards of total offense.

And Tebow was not a factor, whether it was rushing or passing.

“It was really bend but don’t break out there,” said ILB Derrick Johnson. “You try to get Tebow to beat you with his arm. By the time we got past the 50-yard line, we kind of shut them out a little bit. We didn’t allow them to get anything going with any consistency.”

Denver had 71 offensive plays and had 266 net yards. Only 17 of those plays and 50 of those yards came on the Chiefs side of the field. They averaged just 2.9 yards a play once they got past midfield.

The shifting face of the defense in this game featured:

  • The team’s base 3-4-4 defense that had Sabby Piscitelli starting at strong safety.
  • The sub-defense they’ve used all season, the 2-3-6 with Wallace Gilberry, Allen Bailey, Travis Daniels and Javier Arenas coming on the field, with the entire defensive line and ILB Jovan Belcher coming off.
  • They used a 3-3-5 nickel defense, something they’ve not done a lot of over the season as Arenas and Daniels came in, while Belcher and Piscitelli left.
  • When the Broncos brought an extra offensive linemen in to block for a running play, the Chiefs went with a 4-4-3 defense, as Amon Gordon came in and replaced Piscitelli.
  • Later, the Chiefs used a different version of the 4-4-3, as Gordon and OLB Andy Studebaker came in, while Piscitelli and OLB Tamba Hali came out.

All of it was designed in part to keep Tebow in a box.

“I think we were able to contain him a little bit and with Tim Tebow if you don’t contain him, he runs and he makes plays,” Crennel said. “So we were able to contain him and he wasn’t able to make the plays that he made against us the last time. That’s what helped us today.”

The Chiefs were not happy with the fact RB Willis McGahee ran for 145 yards. He did that on 28 carries and averaged 5.2 yards an attempt. But no other offensive player for the Broncos had more than the 76 yards picked up by Tebow rushing and passing.

It was the passing game where Tebow struggled and Denver was unable to keep anything going. He completed 8 of 22 throws for 36.3 percent and totaled just 60 yards, or 2.7 yards per attempt. He finished with a passer rating of 20.6 and only one receiver had more than one catch.

On their own legs, the Broncos did not have a play that went for more than 17 yards.

“We feel very comfortable with our defensive backfield to match up with their receivers,” said FS Kendrick Lewis. “Our plan was to come in, stack the box and let him beat us passing if he does.”

He couldn’t and that defensive effort was the story of the game for the Chiefs.

One Response to “Chiefs Defense Keeps Tebow Uncomfortable”

  • January 2, 2012  - Tim says:

    It appears Bailey is beginning to step up. Tyson Jackson just isn’t going to cut it as a starter. He has close to zero rush skills & gets stood up too much. Our DEs have to have at least some skills/motor to get there. TJ has none & Dorsey just doesn’t have the body for it. That’s why all the pressure has been on essentially one guy. Houston is now coming around. Next season he’ll help out a lot…gives us more options.

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