Numbers: Post-Seattle

This one was strictly “by the numbers” as the Chiefs put together their best performance of the season.

Let’s start with the passing game, which came under fire early in the season for inconsistency. QB Matt Cassel continued a string of strong performances. WR Dwayne Bowe, in a game where passing was not dictated by the score, turned in another terrific game, grabbing 13 of the 17 passes thrown his way.

And Charlie Weis should get some kudos as well, opting to open up the game passing as Seattle tried to stuff the box tighter than a Thanksgiving turkey. On the Chiefs opening drive of the game, the Chiefs had passes on five of the seven plays and four of the first five first-down plays.

Three of Cassel’s four touchdown passes were first-down plays.

I believe what this illustrates is the Chiefs’ brain trust becoming more and more confident that Cassel can carry the load, and Cassel becoming more and more confident that his top target is putting in the time to completely understand the team’s passing game.

The average-gain-per attempt is a bit lower than you would like. But you can’t question the efficiency of the passing game against the Seahawks. If you factor in Cassel’s 29 yards of scrambles on called pass plays, it would bump up the average per attempt.

Passing

Att-Cmp-Yds-TD-Int

Less than 7 

7-10 yards 

10-plus 

Avg/Att 

@ Seattle

22-32-233-4-0

6 

7 

9 

7.28

Season 

195-323-2,307-22-4

51

32

91

7.14

 

Receiver

@ Seattle

Season

 

Target

Catches

Target

Catches

Bowe 

17

13

98

58

Charles 

3

2

45

32

Jones 

3

3

12

8

Copper  

2

1

21

13

Moeaki 

2

1

47

32

Tucker 

2

1

13

4

Pope 

1

0

13

6

Cox 

1

1

4

4

Chambers 

0

0

29

13

McCluster 

DNP

 

23

15

Vrabel   

 

2

1

Castille     

7

6

Horne     

1

0

O’Connell¬†


 


 

3

3

The Running Game

For those moaning about Jamaal Charles’ lack of opportunity in the running game, this is precisely the reason the Chiefs limited his carries earlier in the season. He is much fresher now and not nicked with injuries. Against the Seahawks, he ran the ball 22 times for 173 yards and caught two passes. The 24 touches puts him in his comfort zone. He had winning runs on 19 of the 22 carries. He also made tough runs inside the tackles and Coach Todd Haley was pleased about that.

Thomas Jones carried 20 times for 68 yards. His percentage of successful runs wasn’t as high, gaining 4 or more on nine of the 20 carries. He also caught three passes, giving him 23 touches for the game.

But here’s the important statistic for both runners and the offensive line – when the Chiefs were in the lead in the fourth quarter and trying to gain yardage and use clock, the Chiefs were successful on 10 of their 13 runs. It is precisely the time in the game where a running team has to be able to pound the ball, and the Chiefs did.

“That’s where it all started,” Haley said of an offensive line missing starting left tackle Branden Albert. “Those guys had the mindset that they were going to out-physical them.”

@ Seattle

4 or more

3 or less 

Big runs 

Winning plays 

Charles (22 for 173 yards) 

18

4 

4 

19 of 22 

Season (161-1,021 yards)

94

67 

32 

97 of 161 

Jones (20 for 68 yards) 

9

11 

0 

9 of 20 

Season (176-712 yards) 

74

102 

15 

81 of 176 

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

On Defense

Everyone is praising the run defense. I’m less charitable.

Seattle ran the ball 12 times. Two of those were kneel-downs at the end of the game by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Of the remaining 10 runs, half of them were for 4 or more yards.

The Seahawks, who have had trouble running the ball all season, didn’t even attempt a run in the second quarter. And until late in the fourth quarter, when the final four runs were for minus-1, minus-1, kneel and kneel, the Seahawks were successful rushing the ball on 62 percent of their plays.

So I would credit the Chiefs run defense less and Seattle’s play selection (and of course the big lead) for the gaudy run-defense statistics.

Haley was more charitable on Monday, saying: “We wanted to make them one dimensional, and I think we did.”

Meanwhile, the Chiefs were gashed for pass plays of 52 and 87 yards by Ben Obomanu. The Chiefs sacked Hasselbeck twice, one by Shaun Smith and one by Derrick Johnson. Both came in passing situations ‚Äď almost every play for the Seahawks. That translates to one for every 18 passes.

Defense against the run

Opponent

Runs/Yds

3-less 

4-plus 

Big play

Def. Succ.*

Avg.

Seattle 

12-20

7

5

0

5

5.1 

Season 

268-1,061

153

115

24 

137

4.0

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

Opponent’s first-down plays

This stat is skewed for two reasons: Seattle chose to run the ball just 10 times in the game (don’t count the kneel-downs at the end.) After gaining 4 yards and 5 yards on their first two first-down plays, they ran the ball just twice more on first down the remainder of the game.

Opponent

Runs

Avg.

Pass

Avg.

Seattle

4 

4.8 

18 

12.1

Chiefs’ sacks by down for season

For the season, the Chiefs have 23 quarterback sacks, surpassing their total from last season with five games remaining. All but five have come in passing situations. That gives the Chiefs one sack every 18.4 pass attempts. In 2009 the Chiefs sacked the quarterback once every 23.1 pass attempts.

First down

Second down 

Third down 

Total

Passing situation*

6

8

9

23

17

*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.

Special Teams

In this category, the numbers belie the Chiefs success. Seattle blocked two kicks ‚Äď a field-goal attempt and a punt. One was returned for a touchdown. The NFL average for field-position following a kickoff is the 23. Following kickoff returns Seattle started on its 35 on average ‚Äď even higher than its league leading average of starting every drive on the 31 following a kickoff.

Haley says he doesn’t have a hard-and-fast target number. On Sunday the kickoff plays were dictated by his respect for Seattle returner Leon Washington. Washington ranks third in the NFL, averaging 28.1 yards per return. He has two for touchdowns.

“Leon Washington is a game changer,” Haley said. “I did not want Leon Washington to make a play. It backfired on us, and we have to be better. But each game (the target) is different, and each returner is different.”

Punt coverage was better as Dustin Colquitt put three of his four punts inside the 20.

Turnover ratio

During the Marty Schottenheimer years, we were schooled that takeaways were a critical part of the game. That’s not quite as critical if you don’t give the ball away yourself.

Right now there are 22 teams with more takeaways than the Chiefs total of 15. But the Chiefs have given up the ball just eight times and are tied for sixth in the league in turnover ratio at a plus-7.


14 Responses to “Numbers: Post-Seattle”

  • November 30, 2010  - PAChiefsFan says:

    Bob, as a result of limited opportunity to see Chiefs games I am wondering what has happened with Tamba Hali getting to the QB. Is he drawing extra attention because of his sack success earlier in the season? Don’t have his game stats at the ready but it seems like he has been missing from the sack area. Yes or no?


  • November 30, 2010  - Justin says:

    Nice crunching of the numbers Bob. I also noticed the guys getting back there to hurry the qb a few times. I do not recall any of those leading directly to a TO – am I mistaken?


  • November 30, 2010  - RW says:

    Excellent report and I’m not even a stats type guy! How sweet would it be to find another elite type pass rusher to complement Hali? Question for Bob: What defensive stat, from your experience, ranks highest in terms of winning a game?

    In other words, if you’re looking ONLY at the stat sheet at game’s end without knowing the outcome, which one would almost always tell you which team won?


  • November 30, 2010  - Brad says:

    Great stuff Bob, as usual. I wonder if you could do a break-down of playoff scenarios? I know it is early, but we have been craving meaningful games late in the season for years. I fear that we might go 11-5 (losing only to the Chargers from now on) and not make the playoffs as they will have the tie-breaker on us. That would be a bummer, esp. considering that the 2005 team – probably the best of the Vermeil era – went 10-6 and missed the playoffs.


  • November 30, 2010  - Robert says:

    Rushing yards RW. 65 or less and the chiefs are assured a victory. 65-0 all-time according to a recent article from bob.


  • November 30, 2010  - Robert says:

    89-0 my bad.


  • November 30, 2010  - Fleaflicker34 says:

    Bob, you are the wind beneath my wings


  • November 30, 2010  - Niblick says:

    Brad-I feel the same way. I wonder how the team would respond next year if they go 11-5 and miss the playoffs. Maybe because they are basically a young team it would just motivate them in the future. I know as a fan it would be a complete bummer. It seems like they have worked so hard and played very good football with the exception of the Broncos game and losing their composure in the Raiders game. It would be especially tough to swallow if an NFC west team makes the plyoffs with a sub 500 record. I guess that’s life in the NFL.


  • December 1, 2010  - Milkman says:

    A little off the subject but- Isn’t it nice to be having these discussions instead of “Do we want to lose out from here so we can get a higher pick?” It’s starting to feel like the Marty years again. I just hope if we get to the post-season we can surpass the “Marty years”.


  • December 1, 2010  - Patrick says:

    Bob,
    Why is Charles’ season “Winning Play” count lower than his “4 or more” count? I saw this last week as well and just assumed it was a typo. Do fumbles count as a -1 on winning plays talley? (And does Charles have that many? I was thinking he only had ~4).

    Thanks,
    -Patrick


  • December 1, 2010  - Kent Pulliam says:

    Patrick, I’ll look at my numbers again. At first glance, it should not be. I did change the order of things I put in there, so I may have made a clerical mistake. Thanks.

    Kent


  • December 1, 2010  - Kent Pulliam says:

    That would be my mistake, not Bob’s.

    Kent


  • December 1, 2010  - Kent Pulliam says:

    After checking, it was an addition mistake.

    Charles 4+ is 94
    Charles winning is 97
    Charles plus-10 is 32
    Charles for season 161-1,021
    Winning for season is 97 of 161.

    Rechecked Thomas Jones also, and his numbers should be adjusted to

    Season 176-712 yards
    Plus-4 should be
    Plus 10 should be be 15
    Winning for season should be 81 of 176

    I’ll get a new chart to Bob and let him repost. Thanks for the heads up.

    Kent


  • December 1, 2010  - Patrick says:

    It happens to the best of us…
    ;)
    Thanks for the quick response.
    I’ve enjoyed these weekly stat updates. The “winning play” concept is an great perspective. Keep up the good work!
    -Patrick




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