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The Chiefs finished off the Chargers by thinking big

Gus Bradley must be a huge fan of Franklin D. Roosevelt, because the Chargers were in dime personnel almost exclusively last week.

Wow, that’s ... just ... terrible. Uhhh...

Call the Chargers Steve Nash because of all the dime.

That’s worse.

Why do I have the Ying Yang Twins stuck in my head?

No idea.


This is a dime piece. Specifically, a piece about what the Chiefs did against dime personnel. After finalizing charting for the Chiefs win over the Chargers, I have the Chargers as playing with six defensive backs on the field for 86% of the snaps. That’s a huge number!

The Chargers lined up safeties and corners where you typically see linebackers. So while the boxes weren’t light (still between six and eight defenders on most looks), they were still light.

Regardless of defensive personnel, the Chiefs used 11 (one running back, one tight end) personnel for 80% of first half snaps. However late in the game, the Chiefs brought in the closer. Heavier offensive personnel.

That’s Demetrius Harris music! I don’t know what his walkout song would be, but whatever it is, the beat definitely drops.

In the second half, the Chiefs had at least two tight ends on the field for 45% of charted snaps. An obvious half time adjustment. It worked. Those last two quarters, they averaged 10.6 yards per carry on designed runs in 12 or 13 personnel.

Early in the fourth, the Chargers stayed in dime:

Tight view:

The Chiefs used a closed formation, meaning that no receiver is outside the tight end on the line of scrimmage. It forces cornerback No. 24 Trevor Williams to be more actively involved in the run game fits to that side. Demetrius Harris is able to handle him with ease. The only off-ball linebacker in the game (No. 57 Jatavis Brown) is lined up to the field (wide side of the formation). The Chiefs have less space to work by running to the short side of the field, but an advantage in size.

This is an outside zone run. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is able to cross the face of No. 92 Brandon Mebane and control him down the line of scrimmage with a one arm technique. Impressive. The lack of big bodied defenders can be best shown in what Mitchell Schwartz does to No. 31 Adrian Phillips. The impact he makes is enough to take Phillips out of the play.

Seeing the ineffectiveness of dime personnel against two tight ends in the run game, the Chargers mixed in a traditional 3-4 look on typical run downs. It didn’t matter:

Tight view:

This is the same formation as the play above, but this time they run to the field (wide side) away from the closed end of the formation. Watch Zach Fulton push No. 95 Tenny Palepoi into Witzmann’s path so he has better control of him. Fulton then gets to the second level to #56 Korey Toomer.

We’ve seen steady doses of RPOs as the base run concepts since Matt Nagy started calling plays. They still ran them 11 of the first 47 plays. All but two RPOs were run out of 11 personnel.

But late in this game, the Chiefs thought big. They finished off a tired defense with bigger bodies and forced them out of their game plan. What I love about this week’s game was the Chiefs had answers and displayed more depth to what they’ve built off of the last few weeks. It wasn’t just RPOs. They lined up and dominated a good football team with smart schematic decisions. I look forward to seeing the next phase of the offensive build leading up to the playoffs.

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