My confidence level for the Kansas City Chiefs offensive line entering Sunday's game against the zone blitz Pittsburgh Steelers was very low. Based on how much Alex Smith has been pressured this year (37 percent of his drop backs) and how often he has been sacked (24 percent of those pressures), I expected the Chiefs to lose this game based on Smith and the offense's inability to score.
But that didn't happen! Andy Reid and the Chiefs coaching staff unveiled a new offensive line that saw Eric Fisher switch from RT to LT, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif replace Zach Fulton at RG and Jeff Allen finally getting some playing time at RT. LG Ben Grubbs and C Mitch Morse were the only two positions that remained the same from the previous week while LT Donald Stephenson hit the bench.
That offensive line actually did pretty well. Smith was pressured and sacked twice but overall he had time to make the throws he needed to. The Chiefs offense responded with 23 points, the most they've had since Week 3 when they put up 28 (in garbage time) against Green Bay. Clearly, there's a correlation here. The Chiefs play better when the offensive line plays better.
Interestingly, two Chiefs players after the game chalked up their success to a solid week of practice.
"I could have told you this was going to go this way on Friday, the kind of week of practice we had," C Mitch Morse said.
"Every look that we saw in practice we ended up seeing in the game," RT Jeff Allen said. "We knew it like the back of our hands and that's how we were able to protect a lot better today and make some big plays."
This is a credit to the Chiefs coaching staff for not only making changes on the line but also coaching them up to the point where they were prepared for the Steelers complicated zone blitzes. Also, it's good to see Allen crediting the coaching staff considering it would be very easy for him to be frustrated for not playing yet this season.
Maybe this Chiefs team has some life to it after all.