Numbers Game: Bills & Chiefs

As expected, the Chiefs’ numbers are almost exactly as bad as you would expect after a 41-7 gobsmacking from the Buffalo Bills in the opening game of the season. The Chiefs couldn’t run, couldn’t pass, couldn’t defend and couldn’t hang onto the ball.

So where to start? With the quarterback and the offense, although the defense wasn’t exactly stellar either.

QB Matt Cassel had an abysmal day, one that will have an impact on his statistics for the remainder of the season. His opening game against the Bills was almost a carbon copy of his opening game in that deluge against San Diego last year. In that downpour, Cassel completed 10 of 22 passes for 68 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. His average gain per pass play was even lower than this year’s horrific performance.

TE Tony Moeaki was missing in action, but replacement Leonard Pope was a nice-enough sub for at least one afternoon with three catches and more big plays than any other receiver on the roster. WR Dwayne Bowe was Cassel’s favorite target, but the quarterback’s inability to connect with his big-play receiver led to only two completions in eight throws in Bowe’s direction. Of the 38 pass plays (including the two sacks as pass plays), the Chiefs had just six completions of 10 or more yards.

The Passer

Passing

Total

Less than 7 

7-10 yards 

10-plus 

Avg/Att 

vs. Buff.

22-36-119-1-1 

15 

1 

6 

3.13* 

* Includes sacks.

The Receivers

Receiver

Target

Catches

Yards

Big plays

McCluster 

5

25 

Charles 

6

Pope 

6

24 

Breaston 

2

26 

Bowe 

8

17 

Colbert 

3

O’Connell 

1

15 

Battle 

1

-1 

Cassel 

1

-4 

Urban 

2

Copper 

1

Totals 

36

22 

119 

The Runners

This is the part of the offense that Coach Todd Haley would like to hang his hat on – as he did a year ago when the Chiefs made their run to the playoffs. It failed abysmally as well – though you could interpret the numbers as skewed because the Chiefs were playing from behind the whole game.

But even in the first quarter the play-calling was skewed to the pass with seven pass plays and just five runs. For most of the first quarter, when Buffalo led just 7-0, the Chiefs ran seven pass plays and just three runs – two 4-yard gains and a 3-yard gain. The Chiefs did not call a running play in the third quarter. They opened the quarter trailing just 20-7 and stopped the Bills on the first possession. Four pass plays later the Chiefs punted and soon trailed 27-7. Three pass plays later and they soon trailed 34-7. The two possessions took a total of 2 minutes, 45 seconds. Meanwhile the Bills had the Chiefs defense on the run for 12 minutes.

Perhaps the play calling was dictated by Buffalo’s attempt to shut down the Chiefs rushing attack. But good teams stick with their bread and butter, and that’s something that offensive play caller Bill Muir and Haley failed to do. The Chiefs only consistent winning runners (4 yards or more) were Jamaal Charles (who also fumbled) and scatback Dexter McCluster (whose opening fumble may have set the tone for the game).

vs. Buffalo

4 or more

3 or less 

Big runs 

Winning plays 

Charles (10 for 56 yards) 

5

5 of 10 

McCluster (4 for 42) 

3

4 of 4 

Battle (2 for 7) 

1

1 of 2 

Jones (2 for 3) 

0

0 of 2 

Team*

9

9 

5 

9 of 18 

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

THE DEFENSE

Lest you get the idea the offense was entirely responsible for this debacle, consider that the defense couldn’t get itself off the field either. The Chiefs defense had just two three-and-out series in the game – though one limited the Bills to a field goal after Charles’ fumble on the 21.

The run defense was more effective than I would have figured, stopping the Bills for 3-yards or less on 21 of the Bills 39 runs.

Opponent

Runs/Yds

3-less 

4-plus 

Big play

Def. Succ.*

Avg.

Buffalo 

39-163

21 

18 

21 

4.2 

* Defensive success does not include short runs for a first down or kneel-downs at the end of a half or game.

But the pass defense allowed 10 passes of 10 or more yards and made TE Scott Chandler look like the next coming of Tony Gonzalez. He rang up the Chiefs for an average of 12 yards per reception and a couple of touchdowns. The loss of Eric Berry to a torn ACL (he’s out for the season) was a contributing factor, certainly. But Scott Chandler?

Passing

Total

Less than 7 

7-10 yards 

10-plus 

Avg/Att 

Buffalo 

17-25-208-4-0

10 

7.43 

The real culprit on the Chiefs defense was first-down defense. While the defense held the Bills to 3 yards or less on 21 of the 39 runs, on first down the Bills gashed them for 5.8 yards per carry. When the Bills passed on first down they averaged 8.6 yards per attempt. That left the Bills in third-and-6 (on average) in the first quarter. Twice they scored touchdowns on third down. They also converted a third-and-11 and a third-and-9.

And while the defense didn’t have many opportunities for a sack, the only sack came on a third-and-8 play. But on five obvious passing third-downs (third-and-8 or more) the Chiefs had a sack, two incomplete passes and two first-down passes.

First down plays    

Opponent

Runs

Avg.

Pass

Avg.

Buffalo

19

5.63

9*

8.6

* Includes one quarterback scramble.

Sacks by down

First down

Second down

Third down

Total

Passing situation*

0

0

1

1

1

*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.


One Response to “Numbers Game: Bills & Chiefs”

  • September 13, 2011  - MarkInTexas says:

    So, you’re saying we suck? :) )




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