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Chiefs offensive trends after five games

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As the sample size grows on the 2017 edition of the Kansas City Chiefs offense, defenses are starting to catch up a little with what they are doing. I’ve really liked a lot of the things that both Houston and Washington have done to try to slow this team down. They’ve been showing a lot of looks, mixing things up, disguising well, blitzing timely.

There’s not a ton of indicators in the box score, and there’s one reason for that. It’s Alex Smith. We probably would not have had the last five years of angry threads if he always played like this. Most of the improvement comes with his work out of structure. He’s finding yards where he hasn’t before. Houston had some great calls on Sunday, and Alex worked out of it into yards on more than one occasion. It’s fun to watch.

Here’s trends from the Houston game.

The First 15

I’ve had a couple people ask so as a refresher, the first 15 plays of the game is scripted by Andy Reid. They run a lot of formations, shifts, personnel and plays to get a feel for how they will be defended. Teams will run their script until they run into special situations like third and short or and goal plays. But this is how they build their intel for the rest of the game. Some teams even script more than 15.

If this was titled the first 14, it would have covered only one drive. Great start, wish it would have ended with six, though.

The Chiefs rolled out four different personnel groups (credit to KelceKrazies for suggesting we link to this info every week) in the first 15 plays. All four were used within the first four plays.
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The Chiefs ran the ball on eight of the first 15 plays, and started with three straight outside zone plays from three different formations and personnel groups.

Tyreek Hill did not motion in the first 15 plays. Those who did were Travis Kelce, Anthony Sherman, Demetrius Harris and Kareem Hunt.

Houston ran five different coverages in the first 15 plays.

Within the first 15 plays, Houston rushed two, three, four and five guys at least once. Again, really mixed things up.

The Chiefs used 13 different formations in the first 15, including splitting the running back out twice.

Chiefs Offense vs. Houston

The most used formation was this bunch set:

From this formation they ran the same run-pass option (RPO) six times. It’s an outside zone with a bubble screen to the inside bunch man. They ran it twice, threw it three times and got a holding call once.

There was almost some eerie foreshadowing occurring right in front of our eyes. I mentioned in my article about how the Chiefs can replace Chris Conley that he had lined up as an X receiver 81 percent of the snaps I charted. Pre-injury, Conley was only at X for a season low 72 percent.

Hill lined up at X for 13 snaps with 11 of them in the first half. He did not catch one pass in that position.

The Chiefs were in 11 personnel (one tight end, one running back) only 37 percent of the snaps.

Suprisingly. Charcandrick West had more snaps in 11 personnel than Kareem Hunt did.

Anthony Sherman had a heavy workload, seeing 27 charted snaps (one was a penalty).

The Chiefs didn’t create an explosive play (20-plus yards) vs. five or more rushers.

The Chiefs generated four explosive plays. Two runs (both Hunt), two passes (Kelce and Hill).

Not charts, but this play design was cool:

I’m pretty sure this was supposed to be a shovel pass to Wilson coming back across the formation. Alex looked to try and elected not to. Wilson may have been a tad late, or the backer played it well enough that he didn’t think he could execute it.

Houston Defense vs. Chiefs

Houston sent five or more rushers 27 percent of the time.

Houston was in quarters (Cover 4) 33 percent of the time.

They used a combo coverage (quarter, quarter, half) about 10 percent of the time.

Houston was in man coverage 10/16 third downs I charted.

If you think of something, please ask

If there’s something you think my charting may have captured, please ask. I can’t guarantee I did, but I’d be glad to check.