The Kansas City Chiefs were middle of the pack last season completing about 38 percent of their third downs, which ranked 18th in the NFL. No one will mistake the Chiefs for a good third down team but they weren’t that awful.
Knowing that stat, I find this note from Pro Football Focus pretty interesting:
These QBs saw the least amount of pressure on 3rd downs pic.twitter.com/ukgxj5y2Co— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) July 10, 2017
Why did they do so well with pressure on third down last season? The Chiefs offensive line took a step forward last year. They improved in pass protection throughout the season and should be even better this season. The other part is Andy Reid calling plays where Alex Smith would either throw it short of the sticks (which he has frustratingly been known to do) or where he would get the ball out quickly (usually one in the same with throwing short of the sticks).
As Chiefs fans learned playing against Peyton Manning and Tom Brady over the years, you can have as good of a pass rush as you want but if the quarterback gets rid of the ball that quickly there’s not much you can do. The pass rush suffered at the hands of Manning and the Broncos this year for years.
We should also point out that the quarterbacks ranked next to Alex Smith here appear to perform much better than him. That’s where some frustration with Chiefs fans and Alex Smith comes from.