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Maybe we need to cut Bob Sutton a break when it comes to statistics

You’re here. You’re angry. At least hear me out.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs-Training Camp Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen talked all about his affinity for Andy Reid, the Eagles and his childhood sweatshirt, the rookie quarterback actually had some worthwhile comments that caught my attention when it came to the Kansas City Chiefs defense.

The Chiefs give up 427.4 yards per game (No. 31), 302.7 passing yards per game (No. 28) and 124.8 rushing yards per game (No. 25).

ROSEN: “I think a lot of those numbers are a little bit deceiving because they’re up by like 30 in half their games, so a lot of times they’re just playing back. They let the offense do what they want to do, try to bend not break, hold them to field goals, so I mean, I think they’re like 32nd in pass defense, but I don’t think you should read into that. They’re a very football team with a really good defense. I think a lot of that is just because their offense is scoring so many points.”

There is some truth to that, by the numbers, when it comes to the Chiefs’ margin of victory. The Chiefs lead the league in margin of victory, at 11.2 points. The Chiefs have also won their last three games by a league-leading average of 19.3 points.

So I asked Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton about Rosen’s thoughts.

“The objective in the end is to win,” Sutton said. “That’s kind of what it is. You can’t let your ego get involved. You’re trying to figure out the best way to help your team win this game. You’re only on this game—that’s the only game you can be on and go. And so, you’re playing a lot of different elements in that. You’re playing the opponent, sometimes you’re looking at the score or the clock, you’re doing all those things in there. I think there are certain things we still need to do a lot better no matter what the heck the score was.”

If you’re wondering, the Chiefs defense gives up 25.1 points per game (No. 19). Sutton continued.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Struttin’ Bob Sutton.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“A game has all these situations and critical situations that come up throughout the course of a game,” he said. “I really believe if you win enough of those, you’re going to put yourself in position to win the game. Just like the last game (against the Browns), a lot of things happen, but hey, fourth-and-2 in the fourth quarter, there was a big play.”

Sutton is referring to the play with 7:55 left in the fourth quarter, as the Chiefs led 37-21.

Out of a timeout, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield lined up in the shotgun. The call was a screen to Duke Johnson short to his left, but Breeland Speaks, Chris Jones and Anthony Hitchens were right there to stop him before the first-down marker.

“[The Browns] continue and they get it, it’s a different game,” Sutton said. “The two-point plays are huge plays. They’re either minus a field goal if you look on that side or from their perspective, they’re minus six points. So all those things add up. I’ve never been a big yards guy. I don’t think that really tells the whole thing. I think on defense, it’s first about points. That’s your number one way you can help your team win, so if you limit and reduce points, you really help yourself, and the rest of it is really about the ball. Anything that affects the ball—getting the ball back, takeaways, third downs and reduced points, red zone, all that stuff—to me those are the most important things.”

I may get killed for this, but you can see where Rosen and then Sutton have a point. Without their best defensive player in Eric Berry all year, a role player in Daniel Sorensen and adding in an early-season chronic tackling problem, the Chiefs have still managed to be 19th in points against and are 8-1.

All you want in your defense is enough to win, and to this point, Sutton and the Chiefs have done that, aside from the game in New England.


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