This week I was watching the game thinking we were maintaining the consistency we had established over the prior six weeks. The team has consistently been inconsistent. Whether it was the offense playing well and then not. Or, the defense holding the other team out of the end zone in one half and then giving up all kinds of yardage and points in the second half. Or scoring too quickly and scoring all kinds of points the week after we barely hit double digits. It seems we are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.
ASSORTED GIFT BOX: OFFENSE
This week I was happy to see the kind of offense I think suits our personnel groupings. There was a balance of rushing (33 attempts) and passing (34 attempts). A nice balance of 7 (I think I counted that many) deep pass attempts out of 34, which is over 20%. Hit 5 different receivers, with 3 of them over 70 yards on the game and an overall average of 13.4 yards per reception. Although the rush was Kareem Hunt heavy, the team averaged 5 yards per carry. The only thing I didn’t like offensively was the 5 of 13 third down conversions. With the average per rush and reception, we should have been able to covert more third downs. This is our offensive identity. Balanced attack with a reasonable percentage of risk. Stretch the defense with our speed and use it for misdirection.
After a two week sample size, I would like to officially declare the Nagy offense a success. Yup, that is all we need to see to declare victory. Seriously though, we might be seeing the early returns of Matt Nagy knowing more about what plays will work because he is closer to the players than Andy Reid. It might also be because Nagy is less conservative than Reid. Who knows? Whatever it is, I like it more than the dumpster fires of the five losses with Reid calling the game.
MIXED NUTS: DEFENSE
For more consistent inconsistency, the defense seemed to play on a completely different script from weeks prior. The guys were tackling, 31 of 39 tackles were solo. There was an aggressiveness that seems to fit the Chiefs identity better than “Bend Don’t Break”. You could see it in the 3 sacks, 5 tackles for a loss, and 9 passes defensed. That is a total 17 plays that were 0 to negative yards on the play, out of 55 Raider plays (about 31%). On top of that there were 5 more plays where we got a hit on the QB. Those contribute to disrupting timing, accuracy, and in this case lead to an INT. So, while not just a 0 positive yards, it gave us back the ball (although we did give it right back).
The defense was producing sacks and turnovers, which we haven’t seen that often recently. It was fun to see Chris Jones and the D Line getting a nice bull rush for a sack and our secondary hauling in some INTs. Those turnovers are part of being more aggressive with our defensive scheme. They are, obviously, beneficial in taking the ball away from the opposition so they have lower odds of scoring. I think this is the identity Bob Sutton needs to scheme with going forward. We aren’t a sit back and wait for a mistake defense. We are a force a mistake and take advantage defense.
SIGNATURE COLLECTION: SPECIAL TEAMS
The Special Teams also contributed this week. Harrison Butker continues to split the uprights, going 4 for 4 with a long of 53 yards. Punt returns don’t really look that stellar from a return yardage perspective, however we should consider what Marquette King has been doing this season. His average yardage per punt, prior to the KC game, was 49.2 yards per punt. In this game he averaged 40.9 yards per punt. That is a drop of 17% per punt. Tyreek Hill on returned 3 of the 7 punts, as King was trying to kick the ball to the moon and not give Hill a chance to return. Despite these attempts, Hill took a couple of close call returns and picked up some yardage. Dustin Colquitt did the same thing he has done for years. He punted the ball 3 times, with 0 returned and 2 dropped inside the 20. His average was only 34.3 yards per return, but he punted from the Oakland 46 twice and the KC 33 once. So, not many yards available for him if he put it into the end zone.
The Special Teams unit should be counted on for putting points on the board with field goals, but maybe more importantly creating better field position for the offense because other teams are afraid to kick to Hill. Picking up 9 yards per punt on King is almost a free first down (and he punted 7 times). They provide the field position needed for better offense and defense play calling options. The punting units will typically flip the field.
BERTIE BOTTS EVERY FLAVOR: UP NEXT
We have another big game coming up this week versus the Los Angeles Chargers. It is a home game on Saturday night. And most important of all, I will be there with my sons. This is the game we picked to attend, not knowing the implications for the division and playoffs. Win, lose, or tie, it will be an exciting game. Hoping we get some good weather for the tailgate.
Late breaking perspective…the Miami Dolphins are playing a very strong game versus the New England Patriots. They are currently up 27-10. I wasn’t expecting the Dolphins to be this good. However, it could be a one game surge against a rival. It could result in an emotional let down game versus a big win. It could be any number of things this week that won’t translate to the game versus the Chiefs. Let’s hope that is the case and hope our coaching staff digs into this tape once the Charger game is over.
What units are going to show up for us this week? High scoring offense? Shutdown defense? Big return special teams? We just don’t know. I am really hoping the next 3 games will be consistent with this last one. A victory on Saturday night significantly increases the odds of winning the division. Not a lock, but makes it much more likely.
Have you seen more consistency than me? More inconsistency? What team do you think will take the field at Arrowhead? Will the weather be good for tail gating?
Until next week, there’s The Rub!
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