Since Coach Haley arrived at Arrowhead, he has been preaching the mantra of conditioning. And I have been left to wonder if it was working. Conditioning is subjective, so it's hard to chart. Some have pointed to recent late game rallies by the Chiefs, but it was easy for me to dismiss those as flukes, as the boys in red and gold were playing from far behind and against prevent defenses. However, in the Chiefs victory over the Steelers, it became clear to me that our team's conditioning played a major factor.
During the first half of the game, Pittsburgh was simply the better team. And my hat is off to them. They dominated us in nearly every stat category, with the edge only going to the Chiefs for special teams.
Total yards. Time of possession. And the all-important stat of 3rd down efficiency. The Steelers went 3 of 7 on 3rd down attempts for a respectable 43%, while the Chiefs only managed to complete only one 3rd down attempt the entire half. If it weren't for a few heroic plays, like the opening runback by Charles and the momentum changing strip by Flowers, the game could have been an early blowout. Instead, KC went to the locker room only trailing by 10.
But something magical happened in the second half. The Steelers defense no longer looked invincible. For lack of a better word, they looked TIRED! Suddenly, Cassell had time to find his receivers. And while Big Ben continued to tick, our defense was adjusting to him, picking him off and applying pressure.
So how tired were the Steelers in the second half?
The most telling stat may be 3rd down efficiency. In the second half, the Chiefs outclassed the Steelers on 3rd down, banging 5 of 9 3rd down attempts, while the Steelers managed just 1 of 4. Earlier dominated, the Chiefs turned the tables, finishing 6 of 15 on 3rd down for a 40% rating, compared to the Steelers who went 4 of 13, finishing at 31%.
Did you hear that, Kansas City fans? We beat the defending Superbowl champs on 3rd down efficiency! In my mind, there is no doubt that conditioning was a major factor in our victory last Sunday.
First fan post, and advice appreciated. Any bets on us out-gassing the Chargers?