The Numbers – Chiefs vs. Patriots

This isn’t going to be sexy, but one thing has become clear about the 2011 version of the Chiefs: they don’t have good enough offensive and defensive linemen.

Told you it wouldn’t be sexy because no one wants to hear about linemen. But the team’s inability to run efficiently, protect the passer, stop the run and rush the passer begins and ends with the lines. And this problem lies clearly at the feet of general manager Scott Pioli, the personnel guru running the show.

Whether it is an inability to accurately evaluate players or a reluctance to pay for them in free agency, he has populated the Chiefs lines with guys who aren’t physical enough to hold their own in the NFL.

And while there may be a point that the Chiefs offensive line might be better if Jamaal Charles were healthy and running behind it, don’t forget the final game against the Raiders in 2010 and the loss to the Ravens in the playoffs when both lines were dominated in disappointing losses.

Here are the numbers that illustrate that:

The Patriots rushed for 157 yards. The yardage is skewed by the 35 times they pounded the ball at the Chiefs. But in the critical third quarter, the Pats averaged 5.6 yards per carry. The Chiefs did get pressure on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, sacking him three times. But to do so, they had to sell out with the blitz, leaving them vulnerable in other areas.

The Chiefs gained 119 yards in 26 carries. That number is also skewed. Jackie Battle gained 19 rushing yards on the final play of the game. He had just one other run of more than 4 yards. Thomas Jones had his best game of the year with four of his eight runs good for 4 or more yards.

Opp. Rushing

Runs/Yds*

3-less

4-plus

Big play

Def. Succ.*

Avg.

Patriots

35-157

19

15

4

18

4.38

* Tom Brady’s 8-yard scramble is considered a passing play for purposes of the average.

Chiefs rushing

4 or more

3 or less

Big runs

Winning plays

Battle (8-33)

2

6

1

2

Jones (8-48)

4

4

1

4

McCluster (8-39)

5

3

0

6

Horne (1-5)

1

0

0

1

Palko (1-(-6))

0

1

0

0

Total (26-119)

12

14

2

13

The passing games

The Patriots are a pass-first team and the Chiefs tried to compensate for that by a blitz package to make Tom Brady uncomfortable. For most of a half it worked. Brady was two-for-seven in the first quarter and was sacked on three of his first five pass plays of the second quarter.
The Patriots adjusted. Midway through the second quarter, with the Chiefs leading 3-0, OT Nate Solder began checking in as an eligible receiver to help pass protect. Brady began gashing the Chiefs secondary, including a quick strike to TE Rob Gronkowski for the longest catch of his career. In the second half Brady completed seven of 11 passes with all but one of the completions going for more than 10 yards.

Passing

Total

Less than 7

7-10 yards

10-plus

Avg/Att*

Patriots

15-27-234-2T-0I

1

3

11

7.8

Chiefs sacks by down

Game

First

Second

Third

Total

Passing situation*

Patriots

1

0

2

3

2

Season

2

6

4

12

8

*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.

Chiefs passing

Tyler Palko had a nice start and I can’t even quibble too much with the Chiefs calling three pass plays in the first series. That’s a guessing game at best and New England probably thought the Chiefs would let him get his feet wet running. By the end of the first quarter Palko had completed five of the six passes, and the Chiefs had augmented his success with 18 running plays. They led 3-0.

Palko continued to be pretty efficient in the second quarter, completing five of his first seven attempts. With just more than 2 minutes in the half, he had completed 10 of 13 passes and the Chiefs were inside the Patriots 35 when the wheels began coming off. He threw late and behind Steve Breaston, and the ball deflected off Steve Breaston’s hands for an interception – the first of three in the game. His second interception was just as costly, coming when the Chiefs had driven to New England’s 41. His third came on first-and-10 at New England’s 13 when he was picked in the end zone.

He did a nice job of spreading the ball around to multiple targets, aiming for nine different receivers. But he also wasn’t afraid to keep the go-to guys in mind targeting Dwayne Bowe and Breaston more than any others in the game.

Passing

Total

Less than 7

7-10 yards

10-plus

Avg/Att*

Palko

25-38-236-0T-3I

9

8

8

5.24

* Includes sacks and subsequent minus yardage and scrambles and plus-yardage

Receiver

Target

Catches

Yards

Big plays

Bowe

9

7

87

2

Breaston

8

6

73

3

Pope

4

3

26

1

O’Connell

6

3

22

1

Baldwin

6

3

16

1

McCluster

2

2

9

0

Battle

1

1

3

0

Horne

2

0

0

0

Urban

1

0

0

0

Totals

38

25

236

8

Opponents’ sacks by down

Game

First

Second

Third

Fourth

Passing situation*

Patriots

1

2

0

0

2

Season

6

8

19

1

19

Turnover ratio by game

 

Chiefs

Opponents

 
Game

Interception

Fumble

Interception

Fumble

Ratio

Buffalo (L)

1

2

1

0

-2

Detroit (L)

3

3

1

0

-5

San Diego (L)

1

0

2

0

+1

Minnesota (W)

0

0

1

0

+1

Indianapolis (W)

0

0

0

0

0

Oakland (W)

2

0

6

0

+4

San Diego (W)

2

2

2

2

0

Miami (L)

0

0

0

0

0

Denver (L)

0

0

0

0

0

Patriots (L)

3

0

0

1

-2

Big picture

It’s dimming and seems to be growing dimmer with the Steelers, Bears, Jets and Packers looming in the next four weeks.

AFC WEST Vs. AFC East Vs. NFC No. Other Vs. AFC West
Raiders 6-4 L/Bills (R)
W/Jets (H)

L/Patriots (H)

At Dolphins

W/ Vikings (R)
Vs. Bears

At Packers

Vs. Detroit

W/Texans (R)
W/Browns (H)
W/Broncos (R)
L/Chiefs (H)

L/Broncos (H)

W/Chargers (R)

Broncos 5-5 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)

Chiefs 4-6 L/Bills (H)
L/Dolphins (H)

L/ Patriots (R)

At Jets

L/Lions (R)
W/Vikings (H)

At Chicago

Vs. Packers

W/Colts (R)
Vs. Steelers
L/Chargers (R)
W/Raiders (R)

W/Chargers (H)

L/Broncos (H)

Chargers 4-6 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)


One Response to “The Numbers – Chiefs vs. Patriots”

  • November 24, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Well put Bob. This is why “We are what we are!”




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