The Kansas City Chiefs head to Denver to take on the Broncos on Thursday Night Football. Desperate for a win after back-to-back losses, here are some numbers that should provide a little insight on whether or not they can get back on track:
48 penalties, 455 yards
The Chiefs are fourth worst in the league when it comes to committing penalties, and it has cost them plenty of yards — 78.8 yards a game, to be exact.
A defense that is already on its heels in the run game can’t afford to give up easy yards, and a team that struggles to protect its quarterback can’t lose yards and be forced to develop long plays. The Chiefs will have to be more disciplined in order to recover in Denver.
4 rushing touchdowns for quarterbacks
It’s no secret that the Chiefs have not been able to defend the run well, but it’s not just running backs that are getting in on the action. In the last four games, the Chiefs have given up four rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks.
That stat may not be as surprising when you consider they were scored by the likes of Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson and Jacoby Brissett, which could bode well for the Chiefs on Thursday. Joe Flacco isn’t exactly known for being able to make plays with his feet, giving the defense one less thing to worry about.
6 forced turnovers in three games
While the Chiefs defense hasn’t been great, it has been able to do one thing right: force turnovers. Over the last three games, the defense has forced six turnovers (including at least one in each game). They were even able to force the Texans to cough the ball up three times last Sunday, giving the offense plenty of chances to score. Speaking of which...
10 points scored from those 6 turnovers
This is perhaps the most important stat over the last three games. The Chiefs had a chance to score a maximum of 42 points (technically 48 with a 2-pt conversion) off of their six turnovers and managed to walk away with only 10, seven of which were scored by the defense.
What’s even more astonishing is that at least once in each of the three games, the Chiefs responded to forcing a turnover by... turning the ball over themselves — specifically, fumbling the ball away. This cannot happen to a team leaning so heavily on its offense. They are expected to convert on the few chances that the defense gives them and during this stretch, they haven’t been able to do that.
89 rushing yards in last two games
The Chiefs not only have been unable to stop the run but they also have seemingly been unable (or unwilling) to run the ball in their back-to-back losses. In the past two games, the Chiefs have rushed for a total of 89 yards on 25 total attempts.
The Chiefs have two options: run the ball more in hopes that one of their backs gets into a rhythm or abandon the run entirely because of how ineffective it’s been. Whatever it is they decide to do, pretending like they are a threat on the ground with a low amount of carries is not working.