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Lack of a running game, getting pushed around among factors in Chiefs’ loss

In the latest AP Editors Show podcast, Sweeney and Dixon addressed issues that stood out to them on Sunday.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

On the latest episode of the Arrowhead Pride Editors Show podcast, Pete Sweeney and John Dixon did their best to stay positive amid all the fallout from the Kansas City Chiefs27-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

John and Pete agree that after a game like that, it wasn’t very easy to do. But as usual, they discussed their marinated takeaways from the game. Here are two of them:

John: There was no need for the Chiefs to abandon the rush

While working through the snap count data for Sunday’s game, I discovered that Kansas City had passed the ball on 81% of its offensive snaps. In both this season and last, that was the highest percentage for any Chiefs game.

Of course, the top-level analysis of such a situation would be that the team abandoned the run because it was behind. But even as the second half began — when Kansas City had the first possession and was trailing Tennessee 27-0 — there was still enough time for the offense to run the ball at least some of the time. But by abandoning the running game — which had been reasonably successful over a very few iterations — the Chiefs made it easy for the Titans to defend against the pass on every snap.

Yes... running the ball on some plays takes additional time off the clock — but not nearly as much as drives that end without scores.

Pete: Lack of YAC is hurting the Chiefs

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell put together an interesting look at the Chiefs’ problems this week in an article entitled, “Time to panic about Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs? Separating fact from fiction, who’s to blame and what’s next”

The article explores the facts and fictions in the problem narratives of the 2021 Chiefs. One of Barnwell’s points jumped out to me — and it’s a point I’d like to add onto.

What is true, though, is that the Chiefs haven’t turned many of their short plays into bigger gains. They used to be the kings of YAC, and they haven’t been in 2021. From 2018 to ‘20, they averaged 6.2 yards after catch, which was the second-best mark in football. They’re down to 5.3 YAC this season, which ranks 19th. Part of that relates to the passes they are throwing. The average Mahomes pass before 2021 expected to generate 5.4 YAC; this season, that’s down to 4.7 YAC. Hill has been far more inconsistent with the ball in his hands; he has exceeded his expected YAC just 38.8% of the time, down from nearly 53% over the prior three seasons.

Hill’s inconsistency in his yards after the catch (and occasional drop) may stem from being beaten down all year. It’s just been a little less noticeable. Hill has started all seven of the Chiefs’ games, but did you realize he has received treatment going into five of those games?

  • Week 2 - toe
  • Week 4 - rib
  • Week 5 - knee
  • Week 6 - quad
  • Week 7 - quad

So I’m not sure Hill’s been all that comfortable. I’d contest this happened to tight end Travis Kelce after the Washington game, too. Kelce was limited in practice the first two days this week with what was described as a neck injury — and in Nashville, his frustration boiled over as Tennessee beat him up at the line.

Against the Titans, Mahomes and the offensive line played poorly — but it has not helped that Mahomes’ top explosive weapons are getting pushed around.

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