From the FanPosts -Joel
The Andy Reid Era has gotten off to a good start in KC. That first win of the season is always an important one, especially because it came on the road. So let's look at the Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 1:
1. We have to start with the obvious: the Chiefs won. The most important thing for Andy Reid to begin moving on from the previous regime was to start the season off with a win. Wins came few and far between under Scott Pioli and Todd Haley/Romeo Crennel, so this was a symbolic turning of the page. Even though this win came against the Jaguars, a win is a win. The Chiefs are, as of today, tied atop the AFC West standings with Denver (and the Raiders are last). But what else went right for the Chiefs?
2. The Defense. I'll start with the numbers: 6 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, 2 interceptions, only gave up 12 first downs (most of those on two drives in the 4th quarter) and a touchdown. The stats don't really tell the whole story, because sheer dominance doesn't translate to a box score.
The Jags didn't cross midfield until eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs had a nice goal-line stand to end the game. Gabbert never looked comfortable, he was hurried and knocked around the entire game. The Chiefs crushed Jacksonville's running game, holding Maurice Jones-Drew to 45 yards (Jamaal Charles had more yards rushing than the entire Jacksonville team). We knew the defense was going to be good, just maybe not this good. One qualification: this was the Jaguars. They're going to have about the same record this year as they did last year, and compete with the Raiders for the "worst team in the NFL" crown. So while a great start to the season is important, the Giants, Cowboys and Texans will be much truer tests of the defense's real quality.
3. The special teams. The Chiefs had one hiccup on the first series of the game, resulting in the Jaguars' only points of the game. Overall though, Dave Toub's group acquitted themselves well: they pinned the Jaguars back deep in their own territory for the defense, and gave the offense great field position to work with. Colquitt did a great job pinning the Jaguars back, their best starting field position of the day was their own 26 yard line. (Also, Knile Davis didn't get his promised kick return in this game. That wasn't a coaching decision in-game, it was because the Jaguars only kicked the ball once the entire game; that was the start of the 2nd half.)
4. Dontari Poe. We're starting to see why Piloli drafted him. He dominated the Jags' offensive line all day, collapsing the pocket and forcing Gabbert into bad decisions. He could be ready for a breakout season.
6. Anthony Sherman. Sherman was probably the Chiefs' best player on offense today. He paved the way for Charles, was very good in pass protection, and turned out to be a legitimate check-down options for Alex Smith on offense. He was the Chiefs' leading receiver with 44 yards and caught all four passes Smith threw his way. A lot of us (myself included) thought Charles would get a lot of catches out of the backfield in Reid's offense (and he will, he had six targets today), but Sherman will get his fair share as well it looks like.
7. The Red Zone TD percentage. Last year the Chiefs were last - by a large, large margin - in Red Zone TD% at 27% (no one else was below 40%). Today the Chiefs RZTD% was 100%. That's right, every time the Chiefs were in the Red Zone they came away with a TD. Obviously that won't be the case this season, but turing trips into the Red Zone into TD's will be key to the Chiefs' success this year.
8. Very few penalties. The Chiefs only had 3 penalties for 20 yards today. Two of the penalties for 10 yards came on one drive (a false start followed by a delay-of-game which led to a dropped pass by Donnie Avery on 3rd-and-14). If the Chiefs keep this up, they'll be one of the least penalized teams in the NFL this year.
1. The Offense. Listen, the offense did some things well today: the RZTD%, they didn't turn the ball over, Alex Smith was only sacked once, very few penalties. But we shouldn't confuse what they did with a good offensive performance. Here's what went wrong:
2. Time of possession. Looking at the final score, you'd think the Chiefs dominated the possession. However, that's not the case at all. The Chiefs only won the possession battle 31:30 to 28:30. The reason for that is...
3. Couldn't sustain drives. The Chiefs had 13 possessions today, and only one of them went for more than 50 yards (the 57 yard drive that resulted in a TD). They only had 17 first downs in the game, had three three-and-out drives, and were forced to punt 9 times. Had the Chiefs not been handed such excellent field position by the defense and special teams this game likely would have been much closer than it was. It's safe to say the Jaguars are the worst team the Chiefs will play this year (other than the Raiders), and field position won't be as easy to come by. The Chiefs have to start moving the chains, or the offense won't score much more than it did last year. One area in need of immediate improvement is...
4. 3rd down efficiency. The Chiefs were just 5-for-15 converting 3rd downs, which isn't going to cut it. This is pretty much football 101, but the Chiefs have to avoid 3rd-and-long situations. Today the Chiefs were 0-for-9 from 3rd-and-6 yards or more, but were 5-for-6 on 3rd-and-5 yards or less. They need to be more successful on first and second downs to get into 3rd-and-managable instead of 3rd-and-hopeless.
5. Unbalanced offense. Joel brought this up in a post this week, but it bears mentioning again: can Andy Reid save the Chiefs from himself? Alex Smith is at his best when he's throwing about 25 times a game. That's his sweet spot. In this offense, with as many safe throws as Smith makes and with his running ability, you could probably bump that number up to about 30 and still be ok. But 35 times (Smith had 34 pass attempts today) is too much. The Chiefs had 34 passing attempts and only 28 rushing attempts today. If Reid can reverse the ratio of passes to runs, something along the lines of 40-60 pass-run, the Chiefs will be more successful. This ties into staying out of 3rd-and-long downs, so finding those "easy" yards on first and second downs will allow the Chiefs to not have to pass on third down.
6. Dropped passes. Chiefs receivers dropped a lot of balls today. Next week I'll try to do a better job of counting drops, but the main culprits today seemed to be Fasano, Avery, and Charles. I don't have numbers this week, but watching the game it felt like there were a lot of drops. We'll keep an eye on dropped passes as the season progresses.
1. Dwayne Bowe. Here were his numbers: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 30 yards, 0 TD. A couple qualifiers here: obviously the "W" is the most important stat from the game. Second, Bowe was double- and triple-teamed on most of the Chiefs' offensive possessions. However, Bowe is the Chiefs' best receiver. Reid and Smith have to find a way to get him the ball. The Chiefs aren't going to have very much offensive success this season if Bowe only has 4 catches for 30 yards every game. And I'm not blaming Bowe, just so we're clear. This is squarely on Reid and Smith's shoulders to get him involved in the game.
The Big Picture
Overall, it was a good game for the Chiefs. It was about what we expected coming in: the defense can be dominate, the special teams will be good-to-great, and the offense has a way to go.
Here are the big takeaways: The Chiefs beat a bad (inferior) team. That's what they need to do. Reid brings the stability and game planning to the Chiefs for them to beat the teams they should. The Chiefs, also, have a quarterback. Obviously there were some hiccups today, but those should get ironed out as the season progresses. There is a lot of room for improvement this year, and all of them are fixable. We'll see what happens as the season progresses.
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