The Numbers – Game No. 5/Indianapolis

You know how I love the running game as it relates to winning in the NFL.

So it was a delight to see that Jackie Battle stepped forward – at least for one Sunday – to be the answer for the Chiefs. It was the first time this season any runner had a 100-yard rushing game. Of his 19 carries, 12 were for more than 4 yards. He had a 2-yard run for first down, giving him 13 winning plays. Lest you get the idea that he was the entire reason for success, note that Thomas Jones was successful on 50 percent of his runs as well, gaining more than 4 yards on four runs and getting a 3-yard first down run.

That is the most consistent rushing performance of the season on a team that needs to run the ball to be successful.

@ Indianapolis

4 or more

3 or less 

Big runs 

Winning plays 

Battle (19-119) 

12

7

5

13

Jones (10-55) 

4

6

2

5

McCluster (4-8) 

2

2

0

2

Cassel (5-12) 

2

3

0

NA

Total (38-194) 

20

18

7

20

* Matt Cassel had two scrambles (called pass plays) and three kneel-downs.

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

Season (primary runners)

4 or more

3 or less 

Big runs 

Winning plays 

McCluster (32 for 172)

17

14

17 of 32

Battle (29 for 155)

15

14

6

15 of 29

Jones (49 for 166)

17

32

4

16 of 49

The passing game

For the second straight game quarterback Matt Cassel was up above 8 yards per attempt (including sacks and scrambles). That’s a winning level. But his 12 pass plays of 10 or more yards is one-third of his total for the season. In the first three games of the season Cassel had just 15 pass plays of more than 10 yards. In the last two he’s had 21 completions of more than 10 yards.    

His passer-efficiency rating for the game was 138.9, his third straight of 100-plus quarterback rating. Count that in as a huge result of four TD passes and no interceptions and a 68.9 percent of his attempts.

Taking nothing away from Cassel’s accuracy, the efficiency of the running game is a big factor in Cassel’s recent success.

Passing

Total

Less than 7 

7-10 yards 

10-plus 

Avg/Att 

Vs. Indy.

21-29-257-4T-0Int

4

5

12

8.19*

Season 

93-130-925-8T-5Int

42

15

36

6.76*

* Includes sacks and scrambles.

The receivers:

@ Indianapolis

Target

Catches

Yards

Big plays

Bowe

11

7

128

4

Breaston

5

4

50

4

Colbert

2

2

24

1

Battle

2

2

21

1

Pope

3

2

8

0

Jones

3

2

7

0

McCluster

2

1

10

1

Copper

1

1

9

0

Totals

29 

21

257

11

Season

Target

Catches

Yards

Big plays

Bowe

42 

23 

420 

16 

McCluster

22 

18 

62 

Breaston

20 

14 

229 

Pope

16 

11 

77 

Colbert

11 

65 

Charles

McClain

19 

Urban

Battle

23 

O’Connell

21 

Cassel

-4 

Jones

Copper

 

141 

93 

943 

34

DEFENSE

If the best defense is a good offense, there was no better example than the third quarter of the Chiefs-Colts. Indianapolis ran five plays in the quarter. The defense got a three-and-out series after the first drive (non-scoring). The next series the Chiefs ran off nearly six minutes off the game clock and pulled within a field goal with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.

Aided, perhaps by the injury to Colts top runner Joseph Addai, the Chiefs defense held the Colts to an average of just 2.9 yards per carry on rushes. Of the 18 carries the held the Colts to 3 yards or less, 16 of them were successful defensive plays (not counting a kneel down and a 3-yard touchdown run).

As good as the run defense was, however, the pass defense continues to be suspect. The Chiefs allowed an average of 10.26 yards per pass play (including sacks – oh wait, there weren’t any).

The defense was particularly susceptible to big pass plays in regular down-and-distance formations – IE first downs.

With quarterback Curtis Painter starting just his second game, the Colts ran the ball every first down play of the first quarter. With that trend established Painter completed passes of 37 yards, 21 yards and a big 67-yard touchdown pass on first down.

The Chiefs also struggled in putting pressure on Painter, recording no sacks for the second time this season.

Rushing

Runs/Yds 

3-less 

4-plus 

Big play

Def. Succ.*

Avg.

Colts

27-78

18

9

0

16

2.9

Season

186-749

90

66

12 

83

4.03

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

Passing

Total

Less than 7 

7-10 yards 

10-plus 

Avg/Att 

Colts

15-27-277-2T-0I

4

3

8

10.26

Season 

98-150-1275-12T-4I

30 

14 

39 

8.23

First down plays    

Opponent

Runs

Avg.

Pass

Avg.

Detroit 

11-43

3.91 

17-114 

6.71 

Buffalo 

30-150

5.0

25-193 

7.72 

San Diego 

17-60

3.8* 

11-68 

6.18 

Vikings 

20-97

4.85 

5-55 

11 

Colts 

16-59

3.93 

6-125 

20.83 

* Does not count kneel-down at end of game.

Sacks by down

Game

First

Second

Third

Total

Passing situation*

Colts

0

0

0

0

0

Season 

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.

 

Chiefs Average

Scoring drives 

Opp. Average

Scoring drives 

Buffalo 

K20

K21 

B43 

K43 

Detroit 

K22

K20 

D42

K45 

San Diego 

K36

K35 

SD28 

SD22 

Minnesota 

K31

K36 

M24 

M35 

Indianapolis 

K26

K26

I20 

I24

BIG PICTURE

As the schedule unfolded, there was much talk about the increased difficulty and how it would be hard for the Chiefs to duplicate the success they had in 2010. The embarrassing losses in the first two weeks are impossible to defend.

But the Chiefs three losses have come at the hands of teams that are 13-2 collectively. The Chiefs wins are against teams that are 1-9.

The Chargers, sitting in first place in the AFC West, have played only one opponent with a winning record (a loss to the Patriots) and have faced the easiest schedule in the West so far with opponents being 8-16. The Raiders, just a game ahead of the Chiefs, have faced three winning teams and beaten one of them. The Broncos have faced the most difficult schedule, all opponents with winning records.

So far the AFC West has just two wins over any team in the league with a winning record: the Raiders win over the Texans (3-2) and the Broncos win over the Bengals (3-2).

AFC WEST  Vs. AFC East  Vs. NFC No.  Other  Vs. AFC West 
Chargers 4-1  L/Patriots   W/Miami   W/Vikings  Jaguars      Ravens  W/Chiefs   W/Broncos 
Raiders 3-2  L/Bills   W/Jets   L/Patriots  0-0  W/Texans   Browns W/Broncos 
Chiefs 2-3  L/Bills L/Lions   W/Vikings  Steelers   W/Colts  L/Chargers 
Broncos 1-4  0-0  L/Packers  W/Bengals   L/Titans  L/Raiders   L/Chargers 

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