Half-Time Comparisons …Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

The overtime loss in Oakland took the wind out of the sails of Chiefs players, coaches and their followers.

But 5-3 record at the halfway point of the season exceeds what anyone expected from this group in the second year of the Pioli/Haley regime.

They still lead the AFC West, they still control their own destiny, they still have four division games left, including Sunday’s visit to Denver to play the Broncos.

It’s time to look at the Chiefs and their production at the halfway point of the season. Just as we did after the season’s first quarter was completed, we are comparing the basic numbers for the ’10 Chiefs against the last four Kansas City teams to make the playoffs: 1995, 1997, 2003 and 2006.

The numbers indicate that the ’10 Chiefs are just a step behind those post-season teams. That’s at the halfway point, so it will be the numbers from here that will separate the Chiefs further from those teams, or put them back in good comparison to teams that made the NFL tournament.

Here are the numbers:

OVERALL

Category 

2010 

2006 

2003 

1997 

1995 

Record 

5-3

5-3

8-0

6-2

7-1

At Home 

4-0

3-1

4-0

3-0

4-0

On Road 

1-3

2-2

4-0

3-2

3-1

NFL Rank in Offensive Yrds 

13

14

7

18 

16

NFL Rank in Defensive Yrds 

15

13

27

26 

15

Opponents Record 

27-39

31-33

23-35

34-30

28-36

Avg. Opp. Rank in Off. Yards 

14

13

18

13

14

Avg. Opp. Rank in Def. Yards 

19

18

16 

13

20 

Point Differential 

+38

+14

+116

+48

+61

Turnover Differential 

+6

+2

+18

+7

+11

Penalties/Yards 

47/420

40/308

43/354

61/513

58/423

The ’10 Chiefs have the worst road record of the five teams; winning on the road is key to putting up at least a double-digit victory total. Remember the ’95-’97-’03 teams finished the season with 13-3 record. The ’10 Chiefs would have to win all their remaining games to reach that record.

The point differential is pretty low, evidence of what Todd Haley has been saying all season about the Chiefs playing tight, not always pretty games.

OFFENSE

Category 

2010 

2006 

2003 

1997 

1995 

TDs Scored 

18

20

25

17

21

First Downs 

157

154

153

155

149

Total Offensive Plays 

515

497

487

523

532

Avg. Net Yards 

348.5

322.9

350.1

320

336.6

Avg. Rushing Yards 

179.6

121.4

128.4

120

135

Per Carry 

5.0

3.8

4.4

4.1

4.3

Avg. Passing Yards 

168.9

201.5

221.8

200

201.6

Avg. Per Attempt 

6.6

7.72

7.59 

6.35

6.14

Attempts/Completions 

214/125

225/145

242/143

271/158

273/160

Completion % 

58.4%

64.4%

59.1%

58.3%

58.6%

Sacks Allowed 

11

17

10

16

10

TD Passes 

12

11

11

11

15

Had Intercepted 

4

4

7

5

4

Total Giveaways 

6

14

9

9

8

Third-Down Percentage 

33.6%

41.3%

37.7%

39.1%

35.8%

Avg. Time of Possession 

30:18

30:52

29:00

29:57

30:21

Offensively, the ’10 Chiefs have put up numbers that are as good as the previous post-season teams. That’s remarkable given the fact the offense has stumbled in the last two weeks in points and production. But the running game far exceeds what any of those other four teams were able to do at mid-season. The flip side of that is this edition of the Chiefs gets less out of the passing game than those other teams. Long term, that’s not a good sign.

Also take a look at the total giveaways for the ’10 squad – that’s a remarkably low total for eight games on a team that is just in the second season of a rebuilding project.

Items like rushing yards, touchdown passes, lack of interceptions and a low giveaway total are all well-known parts of the Chiefs personality for the 2010 season. To continue their success they must continue those elements.

DEFENSE

Category 

2010 

2006 

2003 

1997 

1995 

TDs Allowed 

15

17

13

13

13

Defensive TDs scored 

2

3

First Downs Allowed 

147

146

157

149

159

Total Defensive Plays 

529

491

538

518

547

Avg. Net Yards Allowed 

331.3

314.4

348.1

348.4

317.5

Avg. Rushing Yards Given Up

98.4

113.4

128.1

99.6

94.4

Per Carry 

3.8

4.0

4.8

3.8

3.4

Avg. Passing Yards Allowed 

232.9

201

220

248.8

223.1

Avg. Per Attempt Against 

6.5

6.97

6.27

7.43 

6.62

Attempts/Completions 

305/173

245/153

304/182

288/152

297/174

Completion % 

56.7%

62.4%

59.9%

52.8%

58.6%

Sacks 

19

18

21

19

26

TD Passes Against 

10

11

8

8

8

Intercepted 

7

7

18

12

8

Total Takeaways 

12

16

27

16

19

Opp. Third-Down Percentage 

35.9%

34%

32.4%

38.1%

41%

Avg. Time of Possession 

29:42

29:08

31:00

30:03

29:39

It’s really extraordinary over NFL history how many times a team surprises everyone and makes the playoffs thanks to an offensive defense. Scoring with interception and fumble returns can really help a team separate from those around them. The ’10 Chiefs have two defensive scores and they need more. The winning percentage for teams that score a touchdown on defense is something like 85 percent over the years. The Chiefs have won eight of their last 10 games where the defense scored.

There are some nice numbers in the comparison for the ’10 defense, like its handling of opponents running game and average yards per attempt in the passing game.

But the ’10 defense does not compare with the ’95 unit; that team had a dominating & big-play defense with 26 sacks at mid-season and 19 takeaways. They finished that season with 47 sacks and 33 takeaways.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Category

2010 

2006 

2003 

1997 

1995 

Touchdowns 

4

2

Touchdowns Allowed 

1

FGA-FGM 

15/12

15/12

10/8

15/14

14/11

PATs 

21-21

20/19

31/30

16/15

22/22

Gross Punting Avg. 

43.9

46.8

40.7

44.2

46.1

Net Punting Avg. 

37.5

40.8 

34.4

39.4

38 

Kickoff Return Avg.

20.8

22.2

26.9

36.6

24

Punt Return Avg. 

12.5

10.2

21

10.1

Kickoff Coverage Avg. 

20.6

21.3

23

22.3

22.2 

Punt Return Coverage Avg. 

8.2

9.3

6.3

7.3

11.3

Blocked FG-PAT-Punts For 

Blocked FG-PAT-Punts Against 

2

The ’10 Chiefs started strong in almost all facets of the kicking game, but there has been backslide in the last four games. They gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown, and the numbers for P Dustin Colquitt have trended downward recently, with a very pedestrian 37.5-yard net average. Kickoff coverage was the best in the league until last Sunday, but it’s still the best of the five teams.

HALF-TIME CONCLUSION

After four games, the numbers for these teams showed that the ’10 Chiefs matched up favorably across the board with the franchise’s last four post-season teams. After eight games, the same cannot be said. The ’10 Chiefs went backwards in too many categories and with their last two performances they have started a downward trend that must be stopped in Denver on Sunday.

If not come the end of the season’s third quarter, they will likely be on the outside looking into the playoffs.

FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

The NWS computers and weather folks have posted the following as their prediction for the conditions on Sunday afternoon between the Chiefs and Broncos in Denver:

  • Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22.
  • Sunday: A slight chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 39.

Nothing unusual in that forecast; this time of year on the front range; it can be 70 and sunny and then snowing like crazy six hours later. But it’s definitely another potential bad weather game for the Chiefs to prepare for this weekend.

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10

  • BILLS – signed WR Paul Hubbard off their practice squad; signed LB Mike Balogun from the Buccaneers practice squad;
  • BRONCOS – signed RB Lance Ball off their practice squad; released TE Daniel Coats.
  • COLTS – signed RB Brandon James off their practice squad; claimed RB Joique Bell off waivers from the Eagles.
  • COWBOYS – signed DE Jimmy Sadder-McQueen; placed KR-CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah on the injured-reserve list (ankle) ending his season; placed DE Marcus Spears on the injured-reserve list (calf) ending his season.
  • DOLPHINS – announced that Chad Pennington would start at quarterback this Sunday, rather than Chad Henne; signed CB Al Harris, last with the Packers; released CB Jason Allen.
  • EAGLES – signed S Colt Anderson off the Vikings practice squad.
  • PATRIOTS – placed K Stephen Gostkowski on the injured-reserve list (quad) ending his season.
  • SEAHAWKS – re-signed OL Chris White; re-signed QB J.P. Losman; released DB Josh Pinkard.
  • STEELERS – placed LT Max Starks on the injured-reserve list (neck) ending his season; activated OT Chris Scott from the reserve/PUP list.

5 Responses to “Half-Time Comparisons …Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • November 11, 2010  - el cid says:

    The Chiefs are 5-3 and, so far, Denver is just there with nothing much going on…..YET…..to many are “comparing the Chiefs and broncos”. Even Haley, with his coach speak, supports this conversation. It is just so much bs. The Chiefs are better, period. If they do not kick the bronco’s rear sunday, then the Chiefs are pretenders. I do not believe it. Yes, we have not beat anyone with a winning record but that was who was on the schedule. Also we look to be without McCluster again but, come on, the Chiefs are better at every position except for WR, even at QB. Tired of coachspeak, how about “we should win over teams we are better than”.


  • November 11, 2010  - Allan says:

    Bob, Thank you for these great articles based upon statistics comparing Chiefs playoff teams. This 2010 team is such an improvement over the recent years including the 2006 team as that team was in the process of spiraling downward. On offense I think we need to get better on our third down percentage while maintaining our tightfisted giveaways; on defense I think if we could continue to increase quarterback pressures we would have a corresponding increase in interceptions with our active DBs. And finally on special teams I have been very surprised by our pedestrian stats-we need to get better return stats as I think we have the players to get it done.


  • November 11, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Bob, thanks for the stats, very interesting comparisons!


  • November 11, 2010  - Justin says:

    Bob, excellent effort. I was amazed to see how closely we compare in many of the categories. I had felt we had been so much more effective in the other seasons but perhaps it is selective memory.


  • November 11, 2010  - Gerardo says:

    I look at this numbers and I’m more and more convinced this team resembles in many ways the Marty ball years. Hopefully it won’t take 10 years or more to get to the SB




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