The Good Stats from the Kansas City Chiefs Second Preseason Game

Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback Matt Cassel (7) looks to pass after he was almost tackled by Minnesota Vikings' defensive tackle Fred Evans, background, during the first half of a NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

So I'm toying with the format of an overall game recap and I haven't really a way I want to do it yet. So, Joel and I will be delivering various tidbits of info we find interesting over the next couple of days and then maybe I'll get my act together and figure out the best way to do a game recap and make it interesting.

Third Down Percentage

The Chiefs did a really solid job on offense last night converting third downs. They were 8/15 (53%) compared to the Vikings' 4/11 (36%). And some of those third downs were the best plays of the day for the Chiefs:

  • 3rd & 8, Cassel to Bowe for 13 yards
  • 3rd & 15, Cassel to Charles for 20 yards
  • 3rd & 10, Croyle to Toomer for 16 yards

I just really like seeing a 3rd down conversion percentage above 50% because it means drives aren't dying like they have been around KC for the last couple of years. It means an offense actually has the means to move the ball when they want to.

The Shotgun, 3 & outs and balance are after the jump...

The Shotgun

The Chiefs ran 75 offensive plays yesterday and 35 of those plays came out of the shotgun. Here's how the shotgun formation broke down by QB:

Compare Cassel's numbers last year - 516 plays and 405 were from the shotgun - and it's clear that he's going to be comfortable taking as many snaps out of the shotgun as possible. The Chiefs are ran the shotgun ~50% of the time yesterday so Brodie better get more comfortable in that formation. He's probably had the least exposure to the shotgun out of any of the Chiefs' QBs.

I like this stat because I feel like the shotgun is a lot more versatile than lining up directly under center and because I think the more the Chiefs run the shotgun, it might be a good barometer of where the coaches think the offensive line and Matt Cassel are progressing in this offense.

No Three and Outs on Offense

One of my big frustrations with the Herm Edwards' offenses over the last few years was that they seemed to get stopped after three plays a lot. Not so with the new offense.

The Chiefs never went three plays and punted, although they did turn the ball over after three plays on Jackie Battle's fumble in the third quarter. And Brodie Croyle did basically have a three and out at the end of the third. But still, that is a vast improvement over the last couple of years. Huge improvement.

The offense had drives of 16, 13 and 9 plays which would have been great over three games for Herm Edwards' Chiefs.

Defensive Three and Outs

Even though the Chiefs forced a couple of three and outs against Brett Favre and a Vikings' offense that really had no idea what they were doing with him, the Chiefs' defense had moments that made me hopeful.

The Chiefs started off the game by stuffing Adrian Peterson on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs. Then, they forced two consecutive three and outs against Favre and co. In the second half, they forced drive of three plays, four plays and five plays in the second half.

Sure, the defense had it's moments of weakness but at least one of those weaknesses wasn't a swiss cheese defensive line. The defense didn't have a consistent pass rush either but we'll save that for the stats we didn't like from the game.

Balancing the Two Halves of Football Out

I know that there were lots of different combinations of players playing together at different times but it was still nice to see a balanced football game. The Chiefs spread their 298 total offensive yards well over the game - 133 yards in the first half and 165 in the second.

Remember last season, when the other team had our offense completely figured out by the third quarter? I don't think we're going to have that problem this season which should be a normal thing but for the Chiefs it's huge.

Penalties Went Down

The Chiefs had 8 penalties last week against the Texans and only 5 this week against the Vikings. This is a stat I really like to see improve during the preseason, especially when you have a lot of new guys playing together. As long as this number doesn't go back up by 4 or 5 penalties next week, I'd hand it to Todd Haley for instilling proper discipline early on in this team.

Check out the game center and let me know if you come up with anything else interesting. I'll come out with the stats I didn't like soon.

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