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Big Plays Prop Up Chiefs' Offense in Loss to Rams

When you take a look at the box score for the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams, the first thing that will pop out at you is that the Chiefs had 402 total yards!

I know what you're thinking, "It's been so long since the Chiefs produced that many yards."

Well, no it hasn't been that long. The Chiefs put up 492 yards of offense last December in a loss to the Miami Dolphins. But it does seem like a lot of yards for an offense who hadn't produced more than 300 yards so far this preseason.

So did the Chiefs turn the corner on offense last night? Not exactly. Despite solid numbers in the box score, any observer of the game will tell you that the Chiefs still have big problems on offense. Don't believe the box score on this game.

One exercise I like to do after each game is if the team or a player has a big offensive performance, I take the yards away their one or two top gaining plays and see where they stand after that. It's an interesting way IMO to view how effective this quarterback or running back is for most of their plays.

Now if you're consistently making big plays and that accounts for a lot of yards, well then that's what we call good. The Chiefs' offense has not been good.

I take a look at the big plays after the jump. Let us know if you think these plays were flukes or if the Chiefs are on their way to becoming a real NFL offense.

Four Big Plays

You'll probably hear the local media talk about the four big offensive plays by the Chiefs last night. Those four plays accounted for 184 yards of offense - 46% of the total yards gained.

Here's how they went down:

Dantrell Savage - DS had the run of the preseason last night. The Chiefs had the ball on their own 2-yard line early in the second quarter when Brodie Croyle handed the ball off to Dantrell Savage. Savage broke through the middle of the line, spun around, bounced off of a couple of Rams to the right side of the field and just broke the run wide open. Savage wasn't able to outrun a couple of Rams defenders but he got pretty far. If he broke that for a TD, it would have been the play of the entire NFL preseason. Check out the highlight video of Savage's run here.

Sean Ryan - TE Sean Ryan is fighting for a roster spot and he got some big help from Brodie Croyle in the first quarter. Croyle hit Ryan for a 20-yard pass on the Chiefs' second drive of the game and then on the next drive hit him for the big one - a 40-yard catch and run down the middle of the field. You can watch that highlight here.

Larry Johnson - The next play after that Sean Ryan 40-yard catch was Larry Johnson busting through a big hole the o-line created for a 41-yard run. The Chiefs were at the Ram's 47-yard line and LJ almost had a TD but his football barely stepped out of bounds as he tiptoed the sidelines around the 5-yard line. That highlight is here.

Ashley Lelie - So the third quarter starts and it's all crazy Tyler Thigpen play. With about ten minutes to go and the Chiefs yet again starting inside their own 20-yard line, Thigpen gets about 12 seconds to throw the ball and flings a wounded duck 43-yards to Ashley Lelie. Could Thigpen do that again? Probably not. It was a heave and a lucky one at that.

So there's 184 yards of the Kansas City Chiefs offense in just four plays. The team had a total of 62 offensive plays.

My question to you this morning is: Can we say these plays were the result of our solid offensive play? Or were they just lucky plays and we should discount them in the team's overall offensive performance?

That's how I'm looking at these big plays this morning. Savage's run was more the result of poor tackling by the Rams than anything else. Sean Ryan's 40-yard pass did help set up a Ryan Succop field goal. Larry Johnson's efforts were soured near the goal line after his run. The Chiefs committed offensive holding and then a delay of game penalty pushed them back from the Rams 6-yard line to the 21-yard line. Thigpen's pass to Lelie was just slop.

As many players and media types are saying, this team has not found it's identity, especially on offense. We're inconsistent and downright amateur looking at times.

So AP readers, can the Chiefs survive the season on the random, lucky big play?

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