Numbers After Game No. 12

Another quarter of the season is finished and the Chiefs numbers have come rolling in. Let’s take a look

OFFENSE

Offensively, the team continues to put up better and better numbers each quarter. More points, more first downs and more yardage.

The passing yardage (258.3 yards per game) is skewed by the first Denver game. Interesting note: eight of the top 10 passing games in the league this year came in a loss. So celebrating Matt Cassel’s 469-yard game against the Broncos is folly other than to note that it was the first evidence that he might be able to carry a team if necessary.

Rushing yardage is down from the second quarter of the season, but that’s also skewed by the first Denver game. The Chiefs continue to be the No. 1 rushing team in the league and the only team with more than 2,000 yards rushing at this point of the year. On the Kent scale, that is critical. A winning team must be able to run the ball.

Coach Todd Haley’s strategy of four-down football was less effective in the third quarter of the season than in the first half of the year. He should consider re-evaluating some of his decisions. As the season winds down – and if the Chiefs get into the playoffs – points are so dear that he needs to consider taking them when he can get them rather than rolling the dice on a fourth-down play.

Case in point was last Sunday’s Denver game. Kicking a gimme field goal when the Chiefs had 4th-and-2 at the Broncos 2 would have put them ahead two scores. As it was, the Broncos could continue to be a two-dimensional team (running and passing).

Rather than say his team should have grasped the situation and made a play to put the Broncos behind the eight ball, the coach sometimes needs to make the smart decision and put the opponent behind the eight ball.

Chiefs offense 

First 4 games

Second 4 games

Third 4 games 

Wins-loss 

3-1

2-2 

3-1 

Points scored per game

19.3

26.5 

28

First downs per game

15.5

23.8

24

Rush first downs per game

6.75

10.5 

8.25

Pass first downs per game

8.25

10.5 

14.5

Pen. first downs per game

0.5

2.75 

1.25

3rd down conversion

28 percent

38.6 percent 

47.3 percent

4th down conversion

50 percent

50 percent 

33.3 percent

Yardage per game

306.8

390.3

424.5

Average yards per play

5.1

5.68 

5.98

Rushing yards per game

148.8

210.5 

166.2

Yards per carry

4.5

5.3

4.8

Passing yards per game

158.0

179.8

258.3

Yards per attempt

5.9

6.7

7.4

Red zone scoring 

50 percent

62 percent

75 percent

Goal-to-go scoring 

83 percent

66 percent 

75 percent

The running game is effective. But by the Kent figures, even Jamaal Charles was less effective in the third quarter of the season than the first half of the year. Yes, he gained more yardage and he’s over 1,000 yards for the second straight season. But the percentage of winning runs in the third quarter of the season was less than the first two.

Thomas Jones’ carries and yardage diminished in the third quarter of the season – as did his efficiency. But for the most part, when the Chiefs need to run the football they can run the football. Their most impressive drive of the second Broncos game was the start of the third quarter when 11 of the 14 plays were runs and they jammed it down the Broncos throats. They need to do that more often.

Player 

First 4 games

Second 4 games 

Third 4 games 

Jamaal Charles carries-yards

50-325

63-394

69-418

Charles winning runs

28

41 

41

Thomas Jones carries-yards

60-236

77-334

50-195

Jones winning runs

30

39 

22

Winning runs are runs that gain 4 or more yards or result in a first down or touchdown.

In the 2010 season, Matt Cassel will not have gaudy numbers – unless you consider eight wins in 12 games gaudy (I do). Or unless you consider 23 touchdowns and four interceptions gaudy (I do).

The only horrendous play I saw Cassel make in the third quarter of the season was the 4th-and-goal play from the Denver 2 on Sunday when he was sacked for a 13-yard loss. I attribute that to coaching. Cassel wanted to make a play and held the ball. The Chiefs coaching staff wanted to score but if not, they wanted the ball at the 2 where the Broncos would have to drive 98 yards. They didn’t communicate that to Cassel. So in his attempt to make a play, he lost 13 yards and gave the Broncos breathing room.

Cassel is currently the fifth-rated passer in the league with a quarterback rating of 98.4. That trails only Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers.

Matt Cassel 

First 4 games

Second 4 games 

Third 4 games 

A-C-Yards-TD-INT

106-58-650-4-3

108-67-762-8-1 

140-87-1,091-11-0

Yards per attempt

6.13

7.06 

7.79

Passer rating

74.0

104.0

112.5

In the third quarter of the season we saw what a potent combination Dwayne Bowe and Matt Cassel could be. Cassel has by far become Cassel’s favorite target – aided by the fact that Tony Moeaki and Dexter McCluster missed some time. That allowed Jamaal Charles to be a bigger factor in the passing game. Getting him – or McCluster – the ball in space usually means big gains for the Chiefs.

Chris Chambers has become an afterthought – at best – in the passing game. If McCluster and Moeaki remain healthy the remainder of the season the Chiefs passing game should do nothing but improve.

The thought of Bowe being held without a catch and the Chiefs winning was unheard of early in the year. But in the second Denver game, that’s exactly what happened.

First four games

Receiver

Target

Catches

Moeaki 

23

15 

Bowe 

23

Chambers 

16

McCluster 

14

Charles 

11

Castille 

7

Jones 

5

Copper 

3

Pope

2

Second four games

Receiver

Target

Catches

Bowe 

31

17 

Moeaki 

19

15 

Charles 

17

13 

McCluster 

9

Copper 

7

Pope 

7

Tucker 

4

Chambers 

3

Jones 

3

Cox 

2

Vrabel 

1

Horne 

1

Third four games

Receiver

Target

Catches

Bowe 

46

32 

Charles

19

13 

Copper  

14

Tucker 

13

Moeaki 

12

Chambers 

10

Jones 

9

Pope 

5

McCluster 

3

Cox 

2

O’Connell 

2

Vrabel 

1

DEFENSE

The defensive numbers are troubling. For the second straight quarter, the defense was less effective than the previous quarter. It allowed more points, more total offense, more yards per play and more yards per rush.

You should know by now how important I think that last figure is. The Chiefs rank a very mediocre No. 19 in the league in rushing yards allowed per attempt. In the third quarter of the season they allowed more than 5 yards per carry.

When a team is in close games (ahead or behind), its ability to stop the opponent from running is critical. In the second Denver game, Haley’s goal was to make the Broncos one dimensional. It didn’t work. When the secondary focuses on taking away the big play, the run defense suffers. Of the Broncos 23 rushing attempts Knowshon Moreno gashed them for winning runs 13 times. Of those 13, six were for 10 or more yards.

Haley said he didn’t think it was accurate so say that teams have learned how to attack the Chiefs run defense. But it appears to me that there is only so much you can do with smoke and mirrors. Romeo Crennel does not have a player in the front seven who would make the Pro Bowl as a run stuffer.

As the Chiefs enter the final quarter of the season, they face San Diego (No. 19 in rushing yards per game), St. Louis (No. 20), Tennessee (No. 12) and Oakland (No. 3). Take no solace in that. The Broncos team that gashed them for 161 rushing yards now ranks No. 29.

I can’t stress this enough – if the Chiefs reach the playoffs, they will be facing teams that can run the ball. The AFC’s top teams against the run are Pittsburgh (1 in the NFL), the Jets (2), San Diego (5) and Baltimore (6). Three of those teams have a better record and bigger Super Bowl hopes than the Chiefs. The Steelers (2), Baltimore (4), Jets (5) and Tennessee (8) all allow fewer points per game than the Chiefs.

Chiefs defense 

First 4 games

Second 4 games

Third 4 games 

Points allowed per game

11.8

22.0 

23.0

First downs allowed per game

16.8

20.5 

17.5

Rush first downs allowed per

4.3

5.3

Pass first downs allowed per

11.3

12.5 

11.5

Penalty first downs allowed per

0.75

0.75

3rd down conversion rate

32 percent

38.2 percent

30.6 percent

4th down conversion rate

42 percent

60 percent 

20 percent

Yardage allowed per game

320

342.5 

342.3

Average yards per play

4.9

5.2

5.7

Rushing yards allowed per game

80.5

116.3

108.8

Yards per carry allowed

3.2

4.4 

5.1

Passing yards allowed per game

239.5

226.3

233.5

Yards allowed per attempt

6.2

6.1

6.4

Red zone scoring allowed 

57 percent

66 percent 

70 percent

Goal-to-go scoring allowed 

40 percent

75 percent 

100 percent

KICKING GAME

After a first quarter of the season when a punt return for touchdown helped secure the win over the Chargers, the Chiefs are pretty average in punt return, ranking No. 10 in the league. The absence of Dexter McCluster for three of the games in the third quarter of the season may account for some of the lack of productivity.

They rank 27th in kickoff return average. On kickoffs, the Chiefs average starting position is their 23-yard line; on average opponents start on the 28.

Special teams 

First 4 games

Second 4 games 

Third 4 games 

Punt return average

15.4

8.1 

8.6

Punt return average allowed

4.2

12.1 

9.6

Kick return average

21.0

21.8 

18.6

Kick return average allowed

14.1

24.6 

19.5


11 Responses to “Numbers After Game No. 12”

  • December 7, 2010  - RW says:

    Impressive stats, Bob and a question for you:

    What are the Chief’s top 3 priorities in the off-season in terms of player acquisitions? Is it,
    1) Blazer WR
    2) NT
    3) Edge rusher

    Or, what order do you place the needs at this point?


  • December 7, 2010  - Kiowa says:

    One stat that would be nice to show is our lack of offensive turnovers which I believe is best in the league at 9. That will help a lot in the playoffs if they can run the rock and not turn it over. That being said, the D also needs to create more turnovers.


  • December 7, 2010  - Clarence says:

    Nice article Bob, but….. “Cassel has by far become Cassel’s favorite target” You must not have had your coffee yet. :-)
    ” They didn’t communicate that to Cassel.” How do you know that? Besides, you shouldn’t have to communicate that to an intelligent, thinking, QB. I noticed from the beginning of the game that Cassel’s mind and attitude seemed to be somewhere in space.


  • December 7, 2010  - Zac says:

    wow, this was awesome. Hope we can keep seeing things like this occasionally throughout the year


  • December 7, 2010  - aPacificChief says:

    That was some GOOD SH!+


  • December 7, 2010  - Michael says:

    The stats are interesting, but the only one I’m really interested in the end is the W-L record, which is 8-4. You do what you must to get the win. This last quarter of the season just finished the D gave up too many yards. But for the most part, except for the first Denver game, they shut it down at critical times, keeping the opponent out of the end zone. That’s what is most important.

    As Bob points out, though, the run D must tighten up from here on out if the Chiefs are to do well down the stretch or in the playoffs.


  • December 8, 2010  - Jan in Kabul says:

    And they say baseball was good for statistics…

    Thanks Bob…great article.


  • December 8, 2010  - Chuck says:

    This is a “SUPER ARTICLE BOB”. I love all these stats and it tells you alot about what we do best or need some improvement in. I’ve said this before, we are about 4 or 5 players away from being a truly great team. I hope we can get these guys all healthy.


  • December 8, 2010  - Doug says:

    Great in depth article, Kent. How did the Chiefs do on plays over 20 yards, both offense and defense? I’m guessing that their offense improved as they began to pass more, while this has been an Achilles Heel for their defense.


  • December 8, 2010  - Kent Pulliam says:

    Doug:
    I’ll get you the numbers for 20-plus on both sides, probably posted back here on Thursday (in transit today) in the comments section.

    Kent


  • December 8, 2010  - Kent Pulliam says:

    Here’s a quick breakdown:

    10-plus runs
    First four games:14 made, 5 allowed
    Second four games:25 made 11 allowed
    Third four games:19 made, 17 allowed

    20-plus pass plays
    First Four: 8 (0 vs. San Diego) made, 12 allowed
    Second four: 9 made, 13 allowed
    Third Four: 17 (9 vs. Denver)made, 11 allowed




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