Numbers – Chiefs vs. Steelers

New number this week: points off turnovers.

The Steelers got 10 of them against the Chiefs Sunday night, and even if the Steelers hadn’t an additional field goal that would have been enough to win.

Coach Todd Haley praised the Chiefs defense for playing its “backside” off and keeping them in the game. And it did accomplish the absolute most important thing a defense must do – it limited the Steelers to 13 points. In the NFL, that needs to be good enough. Out of 180 games played so far this season, only five have been won by a team scoring 13 or fewer points.

Thanks to turnovers (more about that later), the Steelers not only outgained the Chiefs rushing (108-90) and passing (193-167), they obliterated the Chiefs in field position. The Steelers average field position was their 37. More damning is that on two of the scoring drives the Steelers started on the Chiefs 7 and 24-yard lines. In three scoring drives the average starting position was the Chiefs 37.

Compare that with the Chiefs average field position of their 21 and average field position of their own scoring drives was their 19.

Field Position

Kansas City

Pittsburgh 

Overall

Scoring Drives 

Overall 

Scoring drives 

K 21

K 19

P 37 

K 37 

Defense

As mentioned before, the Chiefs accomplished the most important thing a defense does by limiting the Steelers’ points. But the run defense was little better than average, allowing the Steelers 12 runs of 4 or more yards, including three of more than 10 yards. Subtract the two kneel-downs at the end of the game and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s scrambles, and the Steelers averaged 4.16 yards per carry.

Opp. Rushing

Runs/Yds*

3-less 

4-plus 

Big play 

Def. Succ.* 

Avg. 

Steelers

28-108

11

12

3

11

4.16

* Ben Roethlisberger’s 8 yards of scrambling and two kneel-downs at the end of the game are not considered in the rushing average making 24 runs for 100 yards for average purposes.

While the Steelers rushed efficiently more than half the time, they remained a pass-first team. On Pittsburgh’s opening drive of the game (it resulted in a fumble into the end zone) Roethlisberger passed six of the eight plays. Three plays were for more than 10 yards. In a testament to the Chiefs defense, the Steelers had just four more pass plays that gained 10 yards the remainder of the game. The pressure on Roethlisberger, while making just one sack, forced him to look underneath much of the game with nine completions of less than seven yards.

Passing

Total

Less than 7 

7-10 yards

10-plus 

Avg/Att* 

Steelers 

21-31-193-1T-1I

5.28 

Chiefs sacks by down

Game 

First

Second

Third

Total

Passing situation* 

Steelers 

0

Season 

2

13 

*Passing situation defined as second- or third-and-long (more than 6), two-minute drill or second half when down by more than two scores.

Offense

If you believe offense begins and ends with the quarterback, the one thing you can’t ignore is Tyler Palko’s second straight three-interception game. His passer rating in two weeks as a starter is a paltry 43.93. Once again, he got off to a good start, completing five of his first six passes before the wheels fell off. The Chiefs were well-balanced in the first quarter, running the ball seven times and passing six. On Palko’s seventh attempt he tossed the first of two consecutive interceptions, setting up the Steelers in scoring position each time.

Whether that is enough to get him benched this week in favor of Kyle Orton remains to be seen – and whether Orton is appreciably better at leading the Chiefs to a win is questionable. The Broncos were 1-4 with him starting this season.

Here’s how the numbers sort out:

  • Palko completes 65.3 percent of his passes; Orton 58.7
  • Palko averages 6.17 yards per attempt; Orton 6.32 yards per attempt.
  • Palko has 0 touchdown passes; Orton has 8.
  • Palko has six interceptions; Orton 7 (in 84 more attempts)
  • Palko’s passer rating is 47.5; Orton comes in at 75.7.

Orton is far more like Matt Cassel than Tyler Palko – though at this point that is probably much better for the Chiefs.

Passing

Total

Less than 7 

7-10 yards 

10-plus 

Avg/Att* 

Palko 

18-28-167-0T-3I

5.40 

Starts 

43-66-403-0T-6I

16 

15 

12 

5.15 

* Includes sacks and scrambles as called pass plays.

Receiver 

Target

Catches

Yards

Big plays

Bowe 

11

69 

Breaston 

8

44 

Pope 

1

Baldwin 

2

26 

McCluster 

2

11 

Jones 

1

Maneri 

1

Battle 

2

Becht 

1

Totals 

28

18 

167 

Opponent’s sacks by down

Game

First

Second

Third

Fourth

Passing situation* 

Steelers 

0

Season 

6

20 

20 

The Chiefs rushing attack remains sick. It had no run of 10 or more yards against the Steelers. It averaged just 2.7 yards per running play

The Chiefs are proud of the statistic that they are 14-9 when running the ball 25 or more times since the start of 2010. Since the start of 2011, they are 4-5. Enough said: the backs aren’t good enough and the line is not good enough to mount enough of a rushing attack to protect an inexperienced quarterback.

Chiefs rushing 

4 or more

3 or less 

Big runs 

Winning plays 

Battle (9-20)

2

7

0

2

Jones (13-37)

3

10

0

5

McCluster (9-28)

4

5

0

4

Arenas (2-5)

0

2

0

0

Palko (1-0)

0

1

Total (34-90)

9

25

0

11

Turnover Ratio

 

Chiefs

Opponents

 
Game

Interception

Fumble 

Interception 

Fumble 

Ratio 

Buffalo (L) 

1

-2 

Detroit (L) 

3

-5 

San Diego (L) 

1

+1 

Minnesota (W) 

0

+1 

Indianapolis (W) 

0

Oakland (W) 

2

+4 

San Diego (W) 

2

Miami (L) 

0

Denver (L) 

0

Patriots (L) 

3

-2 

Steelers (L)

3

1

1

1

-2

Big picture

I have always been a believer that all an NFL team needs to do to reach the playoffs is protect home field and steal a win or two or three on the road. That gets you 9 or 10 wins and usually a spot in the playoffs.

The Chiefs, this year, have lost four games at Arrowhead already this season. Overall, they are 2-4 at home with games against the Raiders and Packers remaining at Arrowhead.

Not looking good.

AFC WEST  Vs. AFC East  Vs. NFC No.  Other  Vs. AFC West 
Raiders 7-4 L/Bills (R)

W/Jets (H)

L/Patriots (H)

At Dolphins 

W/Vikings (R)

W/Bears (H)

At Packers

Vs. Detroit 

W/Texans (R)

W/Browns (H) 

W/Broncos (R)

L/Chiefs (H)

L/Broncos (H)

W/Chargers (R)

Broncos 6-5 W/Dolphins (R)

W/ Jets (H)

At Buffalo

Vs. Patriots 

L/Packers (R)

L/Lions (H)

Vs. Chicago

At Minnesota 

W/Bengals (H)

L/Titans (R) 

L/Raiders (H)

L/Chargers (H)

W/Raiders (R)

W/Chiefs (R)

W/Chargers (R) 

Chiefs 4-7 L/Bills (H)

L/Dolphins (H)

L/ Patriots (R)

At Jets 

L/Lions (R)

W/Vikings (H)

At Chicago

Vs. Packers 

W/Colts (R)

L/Steelers (H)

L/Chargers (R)

W/Raiders (R)

W/Chargers (H)

L/Broncos (H) 

Chargers 4-7 L/Patriots (R)

W/Miami (H)

L/Jets (R)

Vs. Bills 

W/Vikings (H)

L/Packers (H)

L/ Bears (R)

At Lions 

At Jaguars

Vs. Ravens 

W/Chiefs (H)

W/Broncos (R)

L/Chiefs (R)

L/Raiders (H)

L/Broncos (H) 

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