Last week in the film room, we talked about the Kansas City Chiefs and their issues in the red zone, mainly Andy Reid's questionable playcalling. This time around, the Chiefs are coming off a 34-15 victory over the Miami Dolphins, despite being without Jamaal Charles, De'Anthony Thomas and Eric Berry.
So, how did Kansas City do it? Let's take a look at two touchdowns and another crucial play from Sunday's contest in South Beach.
Play 1: Knile Davis' 21-yard touchdown run
Kansas City is in a very interesting formation here. Donnie Avery is split wide right, with A.J. Jenkins lined up as the tailback. Knile Davis is in the fullback position, with Anthony Fasano a step off the line of scrimmage next to Eric Fisher and Dwayne Bowe even with line, outside of Fasano. It gives the appearance of a power formation and yet it is three receivers with a tight end and back.
As Davis begins to hit the hole created by the offensive line's trap motion, check out Fisher, who I have assigned the blue arrow. Fisher (#72) has pulled with effectiveness and sealed the right side. Over at the green arrow, Bowe is creaming his man at the 18-yard line, while safety Louis Delmas is headed for Jenkins. The yellow arrow showcases a nice block by Ryan Harris.
Harris is much-maligned and deservedly so, but he makes a great play here. Harris goes all the way across the field to wall off the strong-side linebacker. In the next frame, you will see the best part of Harris' effort.
Look at Harris, highlighed by the the orange arrow. This would have been a 6-yard gain if Harris makes an average play, but instead he turns and seals his man while pushing him into the previously unblocked Philip Wheeler. Wheeler has nowhere to go, and Davis now has a path to the end zone.
As a side note, Bowe is blocking Cortland Finnegan to Mexico.
The end result? Chiefs lead, 7-0.
Play #2: Travis Kelce's 20-yard touchdown catch
The Chiefs are in a two-tight end set, with Fasano on the left end of the line and Kelce on the right. Junior Hemingway is split wide right with Avery left, and Joe McKnight in the backfield. This play is beautifully designed and works great because of a combo route.
Avery's route sets up everything. He's driving on a Go route to the end zone, taking the corner (just beyond the film edge, refer to below or above picture) in deep zone coverage with him. Avery is essentially clearing out the space that Kelce is about to occupy. Kelce is running a drag route, as shown by the orange arrow.
The linebackers are in short zone coverage and aren't equipped to handle Kelce going at full-speed. By the time Kelce's route is realized, he's already beaten everyone to the spot with room to roam.
Kelce has just caught the ball and is easily past the linebackers. As you can see, Avery's route has brought Finnegan to the edge of the picture, creating a huge hole on the left side of the field.
This is where Kelce shows why he could be a player we all remember for a long time. Most tight ends make this a 10-yard play, setting up 1st-and-Goal. Kelce is not most tight ends.
Finnegan has recovered and has the angle. Kelce should be meat at the 8-yard line, but a man who is 6'5 and 260 pounds turns on the jets and heads for the corner.
The result? Chiefs, 14-0. I detest the term "special" because it is thrown around constantly. Still, Kelce might be a very rare talent who proves to be a serious steal in the third round.
Play #3: Chris Owens steps up on third down
This play comes on 3rd-and-6 with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter and the Chiefs leading 21-13. Despite Kansas City holding the advantage, the Dolphins have the momentum, having scored on their last three possessions.
On this down, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton shows a single-high safety look. Going from the top of the screen to the bottom, we see Sean Smith, Chris Owens, and Husain Abdullah in man-to-man coverage on the left side. Smith has Mike Wallace, Owens is matched up with Jarvis Landry and Abdullah draws a tough assignment in Charles Clay. On the bottom of the picture we see Marcus Cooper lined up opposite Brian Hartline. Ron Parker is the single-high safety.
Alright, let's assess the scene. Up top, Wallace is looking to get toward the sideline and head vertically. Smith is in perfect position, using the sideline as another defender. Landry is showing an outside route, but Owens is not biting. Look at Owens' hips. He's waiting for Landry to come back toward the middle of the field. Clay is running a deep crossing route, but Abdullah is in his hip pocket. Lamar Miller is also accounted for with Josh Mauga keeping tabs on him.
However, Cooper is in trouble. Cooper allows a free release and Hartline takes advantage, beating him on a shallow cross. This is where the ball should have gone, as we will see in the next frame.
Owens has opened his hips and is in great position to take away a throw to Landry. It would take a perfect pass by Ryan Tannehill to fit the ball into this window. Abdullah and Smith have blanketed their men and Miller hasn't left the pocket. The third-year quarterback has two options; a tough throw to Landry or a quick-hitter to Hartline.
I'm a huge Cooper fan, but he got torched here. If Tannehill sees Hartline, this is easy money. Cooper is now about to run around Mauga, who is doing his job and watching Miller.
The ball is crossing over the 44-yard line headed towards Owens (lime green circle). Across the board, there could not be better coverage. Owens is all over Landry without taking a penalty, showcasing perfect technique. Again, the throw should have been to Hartline, with Wallace's route clearing out the space needed for a first down.
However, credit should be given here. The Chiefs are mostly in perfect position and force a punt here. Owens came up large here and throughout the game, helping Kansas City earn a victory.