Kansas City Chiefs Front Seven Evaluation: Week 15 First Half

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Holy crap, the KPM is back! After a long hiatus, I'm here to bring you the KPM for the Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs game this week. The defense held the vaunted Green Bay offense in a very surprising effort, and I'm back to watch each play and tabulate the scores. As always, the rating system is located here, and as always (always), I am limited to the feed that the standard fan is privy, so please keep your "game tape" comments to yourself. Let's get to it!

I have decided to get a little more in depth with the play-by-play part of this, and after starting, realized how much longer this was going to take. Rather than miss the opportunity to get this out there, I'm putting the first half up, and I'm going to try to find some time to get the second half out of the way later this week.

  • 17.4% of the time, the Chiefs were lined up in a 3-4 defense.
  • 21.7% of the time, the Chiefs removed a lineman for a nickel defense.
  • 52.2% of the time, the Chiefs removed a lineman and a linebacker for a dime defense.
  • 8.7% of the time, the Chiefs removed two lineman and a linebacker for a quarter defense.
  • 21.7% of the time, the Chiefs blitzed an extra man or more.
  • First snap of the game, the Chiefs come out in the standard 3-4 defense with the usual personnel. SIDE NOTE: I paused the game right at this point, and I believe 'ol Tyson has packed on a little more weight. He appears to dwarf EVERYONE on the Chiefs line, and it's never stuck out before. Might be camera angle, but maybe he's put on some muscle.
  • The first play is a pass (no surprise there), and Dorsey is able to collapse the pocket somewhat. Tamba tries to go inside shoulder and gets nothing. Gregg is stood up at the line. Tyson, interestingly enough, gets some jam on the tight end at the line, allowing Houston to drop into the short flat to cover the slant, but after the release, Houston covers the tight end. Tyson also gets chipped by the fullback while driving the right tackle into the backfield. The result in a short out route in which Flowers gave too much cushion.
  • 2nd and 5, still in the 3-4, but this time, Houston isn't up on the line, instead lining up even with Belcher and DJ in the second level. Tamba still doesn't have his hand in the dirt, so it's still a 3-4. The play is a run to the strong side. Tyson immediately secures a double team and holds his ground. Gregg stops an extra blocker from achieving the second level, as well. The edge is held by Tyson, and a small gap is opened, which Belcher promptly shuts for a short gain. Solid run defense over the strong side.
  • 3rd and 3, the Chiefs are in the dime defense, with Bailey and Gilberry as down linemen, and a linebacking corps of Tamba, DJ, and Houston. For what it's worth, McGraw usually comes up to the line to play a safety/backer hybrid, but with him out, it's Daniels. The Packers drop back to pass on this play, and the Chiefs blitz DJ. Tamba takes his man outside shoulder and does get by, but a little after the pass. Houston waits a second to evaluate whether or not the running back is going to drop into coverage, then gets stymied by the tackle. Bailey takes on two guys, tries a couple moves, but results in little success. Gilberry looks incredibly tentative and doesn't engage a blocker until a couple "Mississippi's" after the snap, which is too bad, because DJ comes right up the gut with a blitz and runs into a blocker that could have been occupied by Wallace. DJ still drives his man into the backfield and throws a hand up to block the pass, but just misses. The pass results in an incompletion under tight coverage and a nice hit by Kendrick Lewis.
  • After a boneheaded special teams penalty grants the Packers a first down, the Chiefs come out in a nickel package. The down linemen are Gordon and Dorsey, while the linebackers are the standard 3-4 'backers. The called play is a run up the middle of the defense. Gordon immediately gets double teamed, but ends up getting shoved back a couple of yards. Dorsey tries to beat his man to the inside, and the blocker rides up Dorsey's movements so that Dorsey is in front of Gordon by about 5 yards. Houston recognizes Dorsey's positioning and tries to cut back across the defense, but now has to fight through two blockers (his and Dorsey's) and can't get to the back. Tamba is his usual self and gets incredibly far upfield and misses the running back. The gap for the back at this point is huge, and Belcher steps in to stack the fullback. It's not enough, and the result is 5 yard gain with DJ making the tackle downfield.
  • 2nd and 5, the Chiefs are still in the nickel defense. The call is another run up the gut of the defense. This time, Gordon and Dorsey block down, and Tamba and Houston block outside. Both the right tackle and left guard for the offense reach the second level, taking out DJ and Belcher. This results in Gordon and Dorsey collapsing on the running back 4 yards down the field. Hard to say where the "problem personnel" was in that situation...just looked like the gap scheme allowed the free men, because nobody was anywhere near those linemen. No KPM penalties for the free men on that play.
  • It's 3rd and 1, and the Chiefs are back in the 3-4 with standard personnel. The play is yet another run up the middle. Right off the bat, Gregg has two interior lineman that pancake him, and one of the lineman is able to stuff Belcher, taking him out of the play. Complete breakdown by the center of the defense. Dorsey is singled up, and doesn't really do a lot more than ride out his block. Tyson begins to achieve a double team, but seeing the play go back inside, throws one man outside (who then takes out an edge sealing Houston) and makes contact with the back at the line of scrimmage. DJ has to go all the way around the blocker occupying Belcher, and he and Tyson make the tackle just beyond the line of scrimmage, but it's a first down.
  • 1st and 10 from the 38 yard line, 5:45 left in the first quarter, the Chiefs are back in the nickel formation. A pass play is called, and Tamba and Houston explode off the line. Both drive their linemen into the quarterback's space, with Houston opting for the inside route, and Tamba taking the outside. Tamba gets a hand to the facemask, then gets chokeheld by the left tackle, but Rodgers finds himself in a situation with nobody open and nowhere that he can move. Backing up a bit to avoid Houston's pressure, Tamba crushes him with a sack from behind, forcing a fumble that the left tackle recovers. DJ then manages to put a hit on the running tackle, forcing ANOTHER fumble that is recovered for good this time by Green Bay. Excellent outside linebacker demonstration by the Chiefs there.
  • Gilberry commits a penalty on the next lineup, resulting in a 2nd and 13, instead of a 2nd and 18.
  • It's 2nd and 13, and the Chiefs are in the QUARTER FORMATION! DJ, Tamba, Houston, and Gilberry are the only front seven players on the field for this play, leaving a whopping SEVEN men in coverage. The call is pass, and predictably, the pass rush doesn't result in much, but Rodgers tries to pick on the short center of the field, and DJ comes up with fantastic coverage, resulting in an incompletion.
  • 3rd and 13, the Chiefs are lined up in the nickel formation. The call is another pass. Houston gets good pressure with the right tackle being shoved well into the pocket. Gordon and Dorsey don't give much of anything inside, so Rodgers is able to move up into the pocket. Tamba drops momentarily after the snap, and gets a jam on the tight end, then rushes after the quarterback without a blocker. Rodgers lets loose a long ball that is ruled not a catch on the sidelines, and an offensive pass interference call that is declined. The Packers then miss a field goal, resulting in a successful drive from the defense.
  • With 11 seconds left to go in the first quarter, the Packers get the ball back at the 20 yard line. The Chiefs are in the dime with Gilberry and Bailey as the down linemen. Bailey comes right up the center and lays a big hit on Rodgers just after his gets the ball away. An offensive pass interference penalty is called, and first down will be replayed.
  • 1st and 20, the Chiefs are in the dime again. The call is a play action pass. DJ, Gilberry, and Bailey bite on the play action, and Bailey takes a spill at the line of scrimmage. Tamba gets sealed out by a double team, and Houston cuts back into the flat to try to cut off the short throw. Rodgers throws into the short flat to a well covered wide receiver who drops the ball.
  • 2nd and 20, Chiefs are still in the dime. Another pass play is called, and DJ drops into short coverage. Tamba goes outside with his rush, as does Bailey. Both are stuffed. Gilberry and Houston run a stunt, and Houston cuts back inside. The stunt unfortunately does not fool the right guard, who meets Houston at the line. Gilberry isn't able to get much pressure, and it's a solid pocket for Rodgers. He throws a sideline out, and it results in a 13 yard completion.
  • It's 3rd and 7 to start the second quarter, and the Chiefs show their modified dime for the first time of the game. Gilberry is the lone down lineman, with Sheffield coming on the field for Bailey. The offensive line is quite confused as Sheffield does a lot of pre-snap movement, even putting his hand in the dirt for a bit. It's a called pass play, and the confusion shows immediately, as Tamba, Houston and Sheffield all collapse the pocket right off the snap. Sheffield takes a spill, which unfortunately trips up Tamba, but Houston and a blitzing DJ both get right in Rodgers' face, laying a two-person hit just after the ball is gone. The play results in a first down pass, but the pass rush wasn't to blame on that one.
  • The resulting 1st and 10 sees the modified dime staying on the field due to a hurry up offense by the Packers. The play is a well designed delayed run that catches the Chiefs a bit off guard. Sheffield, Tamba, and Gilberry end up stacked up on the weakside of the defense, and Houston sticks with Rodgers a bit longer than he should. DJ, Sheffield, and Houston all convene on the running back 4 yards down the field. The Chiefs were beaten by the perfect play call there.
  • 2nd and 6 with the same modified dime, the Packers call a quick strike pass play. Sheffield was supposed to have coverage on the tight end, but the receiver drops the ball just shy of the first down marker. No time for pass rush to do much of anything there. DJ is seen talking to Sheffield, pointing out what he should have done immediately after the play.
  • 3rd and 6, still in the same dime seen all drive, but the Chiefs are pressing Sheffield, Piscatelli, and Daniels up near the line. Piscatelli and DJ blitz, with Daniels dropping into coverage, but Rodgers changes the play and takes advantage of the open space opposite the blitz for a 7 yard slant pickup. The Packers have seemingly switched to a more up tempo, quick-out gameplan at this point in the game to try and stymie the pass rush of the Chiefs.
  • 1st and 10 from the Chiefs 49 with 13:14 left in the first half, and the dime can't get off the field. The call is a pass play with Gilberry, Tamba, Houston, and Sheffield rushing the passer. Tamba and Houston go up the corners of the line, and Sheffield recognizes the running back setting up for a delayed screen pass. Tamba beats his man and forces Rodgers to throw the ball into the dirt in front of the running back who was completely covered up by Sheffield. Great play by Cameron to read and react, because there were very few Chiefs that could have stopped that from being a big gain.
  • 2nd and 10, same formation, and the Chiefs are a little more spread out this time around. Sheffield is even with DJ in the second level, and the Tamba/Houston combo are lined up outside of their respective offensive tackles. Rogers fakes the run, and Tamba ends up triple teamed. Gilberry doesn't get much rush, and Houston pushes his man into the backfield. Rodgers rolls to his right and goes deep, where a receiver has beaten Piscatelli, but the quarterback just barely overthrows his receiver near the endzone. Chiefs dodged a bit of a bullet there.
  • 3rd and 10, same dime formation, and Rodgers spreads out his receivers. The Chiefs show blitz, and sure enough, they blitz DJ. The offensive line once again picks up the entirety of the Chiefs pass rush, including the blitz. Rodgers once again has a short drop and gets the ball out quickly to a wide open receiver who drops yet another pass. Arenas had bad coverage on that play, but the dropped pass bails out the Chiefs and forces a punt.
  • After a ridiculously long drive by the Chiefs offense (thanks, guys!), the Packers take over on their own 3 yard line with 3:28 left in the half. The Chiefs are in the nickel formation, with Gordon and Dorsey's hands in the dirt. The Packers try a quick hand off to the full back, but both Gordon and Dorsey form a HUGE wall, and Belcher slams into the back after shedding a block to prevent any yardage. Great reaction by the linemen when they were understaffed on that play, and great shed by Belcher to get to the ballcarrier for the stuff.
  • It's 2nd and 10, still from the 3 yard line, and the Chiefs are still in the nickel. It's a play action pass by Rodgers, and the Chiefs blitz DJ, with Belcher dropping back into coverage. Tamba blows by his man AND IS BADLY HELD!!! Wow, he was mugged in the endzone on that play! That's a supremely bad miss by the refs there. The linemen have gained zero ground on the blockers, but Houston's got his man right in Rodgers' grill again, trapping Rodgers in the pocket. Tamba gets free, then has his jersey pulled by the tackle, preventing him from getting to the quarterback. Rodgers overthrows his receiver on the sideline for an incompletion, but that was Tamba's safety, no question. HUGE oversight there (and yeah, I know there's a worse one coming).
  • 3rd and 10, with 2:40 left in the first half, the Chiefs are in their standard dime defense with Bailey and Gilberry as down linemen. Kansas City calls a timeout. Coming back out, Bailey is on the sidelines, with Sheffield on in his place. DJ lurks, showing blitz, then reconfigures and drops into the center of the field after Rodgers changes the play. Rodgers throws a quick slant, and the receiver is stopped short of the first down. Great stand by the defense on that drive, and sadly, two points that aren't on the board.
  • After a conservative drive by the offense, Colquitt punts for the first time, and the Packers have the ball and their 9 yard line with 47 seconds left in the first half. The Chiefs trot out the "Sheffield Dime" on 1st and 10. The Packers call a run play up the gut, and Gilberry gets absolutely run over by the center of the line, being the only defensive lineman. Tamba cuts back inside to try to make the tackle, but is too far up the field at this point to get to the back. DJ and Sheffield dropped deep into coverage, and didn't do a good job of reacting to the play. It results in a big gain.
  • Rodgers spikes the ball with 32 seconds left.
  • 2nd and 10, the Chiefs switch to the Quarter defense for the second time today. Rodgers throws a quick out, with the pass rush making sure they just contain the QB. It's completed just short of the first down.
  • Rodgers hurries the offense to the line, and tries to throw a quick slant to a receiver. The timing isn't there, and the pass goes whizzing by the receiver. With that, it's 4th down, a defensive stop, and the end of the half for the defense.
KPM Rankings (1st half)

Defensive Line:

Linebackers:

KPM/Snap Rankings (1st half)

Defensive Line:
Amon Gordon 0.60
Tyson Jackson 0.50
Glenn Dorsey 0.11
Allen Bailey 0.00
Kelly Gregg 0.00
Wallace Gilberry -0.07

Linebackers:
Jovan Belcher 0.78
Tamba Hali 0.43
Derrick Johnson 0.30
Justin Houston 0.17
Cameron Sheffield 0.11

*****************************
First Half Observations

The pass rush was solid in the first half. Green Bay completely changed up their offensive gameplan based on the first half pressure brought by the outside linebackers. Instead of being able to go through his progressions, Rodgers was forced to throw quick slants/outs, making things a little easier for the secondary to cover. Romeo had the linebackers and in the one instance, Tyson, roughing up the tight ends coming off the line, trying to throw the safety valve's timing off just a bit. The plan worked well.

Bailey, Tyson, and Gregg all received less than 5 snaps, and Belcher wasn't on the field much, either. Belcher shot the gap well in the first half, Tyson showed as well as you can in 4 snaps, and Gregg/Bailey didn't do a whole lot in the first half. Tamba was a menace, as usual, and they dual level rushing that he and Houston were doing made it very hard for Rodgers to move in the pocket, limiting his ability to string plays along and find the open man. DJ was quietly effective, and I enjoyed what Sheffield showed, for the most part. Gilberry was too often found lacking in pass rush and run defense for my tastes, but I do know that he got better in the 2nd half. Gordon was okay, but wasn't able to do much in nickel pass rush.

Well, that's all 3000+ words of the first half, and that's limited drives by the Packers. I'll continue working on the 2nd half later this week, but I'd like your input on this one. Do you like the in-depth play-by-play better than the quick hit highlights/lowlights that I typically do? Or was the old way good enough for your liking? Let me know in the comments, and I'll keep working. Thanks for reading, and GOOOOOOO CHIEFS!
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