This won't be the same kind of post that you've come to know from this weekly series. It's not a drastic change but the original idea was to use video clips to try and breakdown some aspect of the game. It kind of turned into a highlight reel display, and while that's good to see our guys doing good things it wasn't necessarily the original idea. There will still be some good plays on here but the setup will be a little different.
Over at SB Nation Kansas City this week I've started a new series on breaking down the Chiefs offense by charting the plays in the game. It's not necessarily going to be anything like what the KPM used to be or what Bewsaf gives us each week. It's not a scorecard per say, it's more of a gameplan/tendencies idea. Charting the game gave me a way to organize all of the information that I'm looking for to make this post, and those on SB Nation Kansas City, which are more along the lines of what I want to talk about (and hopefully some of you want to read). In case you missed those this week you can find the posts here and here. Those give you the meat and potatoes of what the Chiefs were doing (or attempting) on offense.
While going through the information that I collected I found a few patterns of what the Chiefs were doing and that manifested itself into these clips and this post. It's by no means a perfect system but there were a few things that stood out to me while going over this and hopefully by talking about it now and showing this information, it's something we can all pay attention to in the Chiefs upcoming game against the Patriots. Since this is the first time I've collected this information I don't yet know if it's a pattern on offense, or if it was a specific gameplan against the Broncos. But it was still interesting nonetheless.
Check out the clips after the jump....
One of the first things that I noticed while going through the information was that 12 of the 13 times the Chiefs went into motion it was either Jake O'Connell or Jon Baldwin motioning into the backfield to line up at fullback. There were only three times that O'Connell motioned to the backfield when Dexter McCluster was in at running back, all three times the Chiefs ran the ball. You can see two of those plays right here and here. It definitely seems like a 'tell' if you go 3-3 on a certain tendency, but that still wasn't the most obvious in the game.
I'm sure we can all remember the two deep passes to Jon Baldwin. One in which we went all ESPN-Top play on and the other he gave us his best cornerback impression. The interesting thing about those two plays are that the Chiefs only ran the basic Power I formation three times in the game, and two of them were on those passes, which were the same exact play. I also feel as if that was a tendency. Because the defense notices how you're lined-up and if 2/3 times you run a play-action deep pass in the same formation, it's not going to fool anyone, and if you'll remember, it didn't.
If you don't remember you can see the first time the Chiefs ran the play here. This is the first time the Chiefs had run this formation in the game so the Broncos defense wasn't 'set-up' to expect the run. That was at the end of the second quarter. At the end of the third quarter the Chiefs ran the formation again, this time actually running the ball with Jackie Battle, that play can be seen here. Two minutes later the Chiefs were in that same formation that had recently 'ran' the ball and attempted the same play-action deep-pass to Baldwin. That play can be seen here. I'm not an expert by any means but I think play-action passes need to be set-up with the defense expecting a run. So when you run a formation once and chuck it deep, then the defense knows that certain play is out of that formation. So even though the Chiefs had recently run the ball in the Power I, the defense was aware that the play-action pass in the repertoire. Good plays, wrong order of using them in my opinion.
This next set of plays is also how one play can set up another but this was a lack of execution by the quarterback, the play call was perfect. If you read my other stuff you'll know that Cassel went 1-13 from the shotgun formation, not including the last drive in the 4th quarter. (Didn't want to skew numbers with us passing every down). In this first play you'll notice Baldwin motioning to the backfield and setting up on Cassel's right side, notice Dexter McClusters route when you watch this play.
This was with 9 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter and was the only completion Cassel had from the shotgun, and on third down it set up our only touchdown of the game. Four minutes later the Chiefs used that same formation and same motion by Baldwin to setup a wheel route for McCluster. Seen here. It was used perfectly and Cassel just missed the pass. It's a touchdown if that pass is laid-up better and that safety coming into the screen would have had a broken ankle trying to come back after DMC would have planted his left leg and cut-back inside. This play would have changed the game.
The next nine plays I'm going to bunch together for this reason. Every time that Le'Ron McClain was lined up in the backfield and offset to either the right, or left, it determined whether or not we were passing the ball. He lined up 12 times as a fullback in this game, we've already discussed three times he was lined up in the basic Power I and what that entailed. He lined up three times to the left and we always ran the ball, seen here and here and here. He lined up on the right side here and here and here and here. You'll notice that after a while the Broncos started blitzing when McClain was lined up to the right, shown here and here. I know the plays jump around a bit in the game but twice they blitzed after we showed them this tendency five times with the run/pass depending on where McClain was lined up.
I'm assuming it was to help Richardson in pass protection when McClain lined up to the right. But if we have to telegraph our play calls in order to help in pass protection, that's a HUGE problem. You can throw blame around everywhere from Haley not figuring out a better way to solve this problem (Gaither?), or Richardson for struggling, or even Pioli for not upgrading the position, or even to Joel and Chris for not figuring this out. I hope this thread doesn't become a blamestorming session, but these are the things I noticed while watching the game and going back through the information that I had collected. Hope you all got something out of it.
Thanks again to Clay for cutting up these clips.