Numbers Going Into The Playoffs

There are two quickly-forgotten games, the final game of the pre-season and the final game of the regular season of a team going to the playoffs.

Todd Haley says he wants to look forward, so let’s dispense with the fourth quarter of the season and look forward to the Baltimore Ravens. We’ll call it “overtime” in honor of Haley’s practice of breaking down the season into four quarters.

But we’ll also look at some comparative numbers for the four quarters of the season. The disturbing thing about that is the downward trend in the offense. The encouraging thing is that against non-division opponents the Chiefs continue to be more effective than they are against the guys who see them twice each year.

Chiefs on offense

The chart will show apples to apples – the Chiefs offense compared to the Ravens offense. In nearly every category, the Chiefs offense has an advantage over the Ravens offense. The only significant category in which the Ravens offense is better than the Chiefs is in passing – which is a product of the Chiefs emphasis on the run.

But it’s not a significant advantage and illustrates that the Ravens are more balanced. The four games the Ravens lost were by a total of 16 points. QB Joe Flacco had just one 300-yard passing game (301 vs. Carolina in a 33-13 win). Chiefs QB Matt Cassel had two 300-yard games – his 459-yard effort in a lopsided loss at Denver and 314 in the win over Tennessee.

Obviously offenses don’t play against other offenses. So how do the defenses match up?

Kent’s first rule is that a team must have a solid run defense. That’s what the Chiefs will be facing on Sunday against the Ravens. The No. 1 run offense in the country, averaging 4.7 yards per carry and 164 yards per game will be facing a top-five defense against the run. The only other top five run defense the Chiefs faced this season was San Diego – and we know how that turned out when the monsoon factor wasn’t involved. The Ravens also allow just 3.9 yards per rush, another top five number.

That shouldn’t change the Chiefs emphasis. Much of the Chiefs’ passing success has been predicated on the threat of run. So the Chiefs have to be physical against one of the NFL’s most physical defenses. They must punch the Ravens in the mouth with the run game. And if they hold a lead – however tenuous – in the fourth quarter, they must be able to gain yardage rushing and keep the clock moving.

Category 

Chiefs offense 

Ravens offense 

NFL average 

Advantage 

Total yards 

349.69 (12) 

322.9 (22) 

336.0 

Chiefs 

Yards per play

5.26 (18) 

5.1 (23) 

 

Chiefs 

Rushing yards

164.19 (1) 

114.4 (14) 

114.5 

Chiefs 

Average run

4.7 (4) 

3.76 (28) 

4.2 

Chiefs 

Passing yards

185.5 (30) 

208.4 (20) 

221.5 

Ravens 

Yards per attempt

5.79 (23) 

6.79 (13) 

6.56 

Ravens 

Sacks per pass play

13.5 (16) 

13.28 (25)

16.3 

Chiefs 

First downs 

19.9 (11) 

18.94 (18) 

18.9 

Chiefs 

Third-down eff. 

36.7 % (20)

39 % (16)

na 

Ravens 

Fourth-down eff. 

43.5% (19t)

40 % (21t)

na 

Chiefs 

Punt return avg.

10.1 (17) 

7.4 (24) 

9.6 

Chiefs 

Kick return avg.

19.7 (28) 

24.7 (6) 

22.3 

Ravens

Gross punting 

43.8 (14) 

43.6 (16) 

43.4 

Chiefs 

Net punting 

37.3 (17) 

39.2 (4) 

na 

Ravens 

Points per game 

22.88 (27) 

22.32 (16) 

22.0 

Chiefs

The Chiefs defense

On the defensive side, the Ravens hold the advantage in most cases. As good as the Chiefs defense against the run has been this year, allowing just 110.25 yards per game, the Ravens have been even better. The Chiefs have been gashed for 72 big plays in the run game.

The Chiefs can pressure Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. He has been sacked 40 times this season (once every 13.2 pass attempts). The Chiefs have 38 sacks (one sack for every 19 opponent passes). Flacco has tossed 10 interceptions. But he has the third best QB rating in the league. So he’s not likely to get flustered.

Category 

Chiefs defense

Ravens defense 

Advantage 

Total yards 

330.19 (14) 

318.9 (10) 

Ravens 

Yards per play

5.138 (6) 

5.066 (6) 

Ravens 

Rushing 

110.25 (14) 

93.9 (5) 

Ravens 

Average Run

4.3 (18) 

3.91 (8) 

Ravens 

Passing 

219.94 (17) 

224.9 (21) 

Chiefs 

Yards per attempt

6.23 (5)

6.03 (7) 

Ravens 

Sacks per pass plays

19.16(11) 

23.1 (32) 

Chiefs 

First downs 

18.3 (14) 

17.75 (10t) 

Ravens 

Third-down eff. 

37.7% (13)

38 % (15)

Chiefs 

Fourth-down eff. 

35% (5)

50 % (17)

Chiefs 

Punt return average

8.6 (12) 

8.1 (11) 

Ravens 

Kick return average

20.2(6) 

26.0 (32) 

Chiefs 

Gross punting 

45.2 (29) 

43.5 (17) 

Ravens 

Net punting 

36.4 (11) 

39.1 (27) 

Chiefs 

Points per game 

20.38 (11) 

16.88 (3) 

Ravens 

The four quarters

We won’t spend much time here, since Todd Haley didn’t.

The Chiefs failed in the fourth quarter, primarily because of their play against the Chargers and Raiders. Almost every offensive statistic was significantly down from the third quarter of the season and some to their lowest levels of the season. That’s not the trend you want heading into the playoffs.

Chiefs offense 

First 4 games 

Second 4 games 

Third 4 games 

Last 4 games 

Wins-loss 

3-1 

2-2 

3-1 

2-2 

Points scored 

19.25 

26.5 

28 

17.75 

First downs 

15.5 

23.75 

24 

16.5 

By rushing 

6.75 

10.5 

8.25 

6.75 

By passing 

8.25 

10.5 

14.5 

8.5 

By penalty 

0.5 

2.75 

1.25 

1.25 

3rd down conversion

28 percent 

38.6 percent 

47.3 percent

32.8 percent

4th down conversion

50 percent

50 percent 

33.3 percent 

40 percent 

Yardage 

283.25 

390.25 

424.5 

277.25 

Avg/play 

4.95 

5.68 

5.98 

4.20 

Rushing yardage 

148.75 

210.5 

166.25 

131.25 

Yds. Per carry 

4.58 

5.29 

4.82 

4.10 

Big runs (10-plus) 

14 

25 

19 

14 

Passing yardage 

158.0 

179.75 

258.25

146.0 

Ydg. Per attempt 

5.9 

6.66 

7.38 

4.83 

Att. per sack 

35.33 

13.5 

23.33 

8.07 

Big passes (20-plus) 

17 

Red zone scoring 

50 percent 

62 percent 

75 percent 

60 percent 

Goal-to-go scoring 

83 percent 

66 percent 

75 percent 

100 percent 

Figures are average per game

Defensively the Chiefs reduced the points and yardage they allowed in the fourth quarter of the season. But they did allow opponents to convert more than 45 percent of their third-down opportunities. Opponents also rushed for more yards per game in the final four of the season than at any other point of the year. That also doesn’t bode well for playoffs where run defense and running are critical.

What became apparent in the final four games is that the bigger threat a team was passing the ball, the more vulnerable the Chiefs were against the run because the front seven is not good enough against the run without the support of the safeties. If the safeties have to be concerned about a quarterback who can go deep, then the Chiefs struggle to stuff the run.

Chiefs defense 

First 4 games 

Second 4 games 

Third 4 games 

Last 4 games 

Points allowed 

11.75 

22.0 

23.0 

22.25 

First downs 

16.75 

20.5 

17.5 

19.0 

Rushing 

4.25 

5.25 

5.4 

Passing 

11.25 

12.5 

11.5 

11.25 

Penalty 

0.75 

0.75 

1.25 

3rd down conversion

32 percent 

38.2 percent

30.6 percent

45.6 percent

4th down conversion

42 percent 

60 percent 

20 percent 

40 percent 

Yardage allowed 

320 

342.5 

342.25 

316.0 

Avg/play 

4.85 

5.21 

5.70 

4.88 

Rush yardage allowed 

80.5 

116.25 

108.75 

135.5 

Yds. Per carry allowed 

3.19

4.4 

5.05 

4.63 

Big runs allowed 

11 

15 

15 

Pass yardage allowed 

239.5 

226.25 

233.5 

180.5 

Ydg. Per attempt 

6.14 

6.07 

6.40 

5.55 

Big passes allowed 

11 

13 

11 

Sack every attempt 

18.3 

17.55 

19.0 

11.83 

Red zone scoring allowed 

57 percent 

66 percent 

70 percent

87.5 percent 

Goal-to-go scoring allowed 

40 percent 

75 percent 

100 percent 

100 percent 

         
Special teams 

First 4 games 

Second 4 games 

Third 4 games 

Last 4 games 

Punt return average

15.4 

8.1 

8.6 

8.3 

Punt return avg. allowed 

4.2 

12.1 

9.6 

8.9 

Kick return average

21.0 

21.8 

18.6 

17.5 

Kick return avg. allowed

14.1 

24.6 

19.5 

20.3 

The Raiders game

The numbers sort of speak for themselves here. The Jamaal Charles had five winning plays in 14 carries. Thomas Jones had one in 10. The Chiefs offense was stuffed by the Raiders defense.

vs. Oakland

4 or more 

3 or less 

Big runs 

Winning plays 

Charles (14 for 87 yards) 

5 

9 

2 

5 of 14 

Season (230-1,467) 

132 

98 

44 

123 of 230 

Jones (10 for 17 yard) 

1 

9 

0 

1 of 10 

Season (245-896) 

93 

152 

20 

101 of 245 

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

The only saving grace of the passing game was the Haley pulled quarterback Matt Cassel from the game, saving him from two additional sacks. As it was, he was sacked five times as the Raiders rush overpowered the Chiefs. After giving up only 15 sacks the first 12 games, the Chiefs have given up 14 in the last four – one every eight pass attempts.

Cassel

Total

Less than 7 

7-10 yards 

10-plus 

Avg/Att 

vs. Oak.

11-33-115-0-2 

3 

2 

6 

3.48 

Season 

262-440-3,116-27-7 

73 

52 

137 

7.19 

There was not much development in the passing attack from the Raiders game. But for the season, Dwayne Bowe illustrated that he can be an effective, big-play receiver. He finished the year with a career-best 1,162 yards receiving. It was the seventh highest yardage total in team history (on a team that ran first and passed second), and his 15 touchdown catches were the most in franchise history.

Tight end Tony Moeaki had 47 catches (the most ever for a Chiefs rookie) for 556 yards (3 yards short of the rookie tight end record). That is the most yardage for a rookie tight end since the 1975 season.

Receivers

Oakland

Season

 

Target

Catches

Target

Catches

Bowe 

10 

5 

133 

72 

Charles 

4 

2 

64 

45 

Chambers 

3 

2 

43 

22 

Moeaki 

6 

1 

73 

47 

McCluster 

7 

1 

39 

21 

Pope 

1 

0 

19 

10 

Jones 

1 

1 

19 

14 

Battle 

1 

1 

3 

1 

The Chiefs run defense was a mixed bag against the Raiders, who were playing without leading rusher Darren McFadden. The Chiefs stuffed them for 3 or fewer yards on 21 of the 36 (not counting the final play kneel down.)

But it gave up eight runs of more than 10 yards, one of 21 yards to a quarterback scramble. If you subtract scramble yardage, the Chiefs still allowed the Raiders 176 yards in 33 carries.

Overall, for the season, the Chiefs run defense was close to middle of the pack, ranked No. 14 against the run. It was successful less than half the time in holding opponents to runs of less than 4 yards or denying a first down or touchdown in short-yardage situations.

Opponent

Runs/Yds 

3-less 

4-plus 

Big play 

Def. Succ.* 

Avg. 

Oakland 

37-209 

22 

15 

8 

20 

5.65 

Season 

408-1,764 

223 

185 

44 

195 

4.32 

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

Pass rush

Tamba Hali had another big day, getting 2.5 sacks and bringing his season total to 14.5, putting him in the top five in Chiefs single-season history. But an underlying problem on Sunday was the inability to contain the quarterback. The four sacks for 25 yards were offset by three quarterback scrambles on passing plays that gained 34 yards.

First down 

Second down 

Third down 

Total

Passing situation* 

11 

11 

17 

39 

23 

*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.


3 Responses to “Numbers Going Into The Playoffs”

  • January 6, 2011  - Kiowa says:

    We will win the game with turnovers, and lots of them!


  • January 6, 2011  - el cid says:

    Don’t you feel it more about taking advantage of turnover, as opposed to creating them. With Crennel’s bend, don’t break, you do not create much but wait for one to happen. Then we need points off them if and when they occur.


  • January 8, 2011  - Gerardo says:

    what happened to the comparison between playoff chief teams? i think the last one was at the 3rd quarter of the season?




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