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4 Chiefs’ stats on offense to remember from 2022 season

Let’s look back at some significant numbers from last year, and what they can tell us about the upcoming season.

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By the time the 2023 season kicks off in early September, nearly everything about last year will have faded from the memories of players, coaches and fans. Everyone will be looking forward, touting their team’s strengths while embellishing any lacking features.

That’s why I’ll use numbers to keep fans of the Kansas City Chiefs honest. Statistics can tell the story of the sport; the positive ones can be built around, while the negative ones have to be addressed in some capacity.

I went back through the 2022 season to find notable stats, and added how they relate to the current team. I looked at some defensive stats in a previous piece, but I’ll be highlighting the offense here:

Chiefs averaged 10.9 yards per pass attempt, earned 125.2 passer rating on plays from under center

NFL: DEC 18 Chiefs at Texans Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chiefs have the ultimate football weapon in quarterback Patrick Mahomes — and everyone in the NFL knows it. It’s why so many defenses began using soft, deep coverage schemes against Mahomes to limit big plays through the air.

To counter, the Chiefs had to force defenses to respect the other aspect of football: the run game. They did that by adding individual players like center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith, and running back Isiah Pacheco, but it’s even more important that the play calling matches the initiative. Play action is key, but doing it from shotgun doesn’t grab the attention of off-ball defenders like it does coming downhill from under center.

In general, starting from under center in formations that feature two, three tight ends will force defenses to play closer to the line of scrimmage, and with heavier personnel. The Chiefs cranked that up in their play calling last year, and I’d expect that to continue this year. Tight end Noah Gray could be an even bigger piece of the offense than he was last year.

Travis Kelce caught 10 touchdowns in red zone, three more than any other NFL player

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images

The future Hall of Fame tight end tortured opponents up and down the field last year, but especially once the Chiefs’ offense go within striking distance of the end zone. He was also the league leader in receiving touchdowns on plays from inside the 10-yard line (8).

Even in Kelce’s first season without wide receiver Tyreek Hill to pull attention away from him, defenses struggled to stick to him in these short areas. When he was manned up, he’d break down the defender with his route and get open. If he faced zone, he’d manipulate coverage rules and sit in the perfect window.

On top of that, he has the world’s best quarterback delivering him the football. Kelce’s big-play ability may decrease as he ages, but his intelligence and feel for space in the red zone will continue to be one of the league’s hardest skills to stop.

Chiefs ranked 31st in Power Success percentage, converted only 55% of situational short handoffs

Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

While the Chiefs’ run game has seemed more purposeful and impactful in the last two years, the unit has struggled to convert short-yardage scenarios on crucial downs.

In Football Outsiders’ Power Success metric, an offense is measured by how often they convert runs that need two yards or less on third down, fourth down, or any goal-to-go down. The team converted only 55% of those opportunities last year, the second-lowest rate in the NFL.

The interior of the Chiefs’ offensive line have proven themselves as one of the best in football at holding the front of the pocket and giving the quarterback ample time, but they could improve on their pure strength and physicality to push the line on short handoffs. A third offseason of NFL strength training for Humphrey and Smith could make a difference.

When targeting Skyy Moore, the Chiefs’ pass offense generated a 61.7 passer rating

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The second-lowest passer rating owned by a wide receiver for the Chiefs last season came in at 93.2 for Justin Watson.

The rookie play maker had plenty of miscues to remember, but the most memorable came on special teams. It’s easy to forget the failed plays on offense where it appeared Mahomes and Moore were not on the same page. His best plays came when the ball got quickly into his hands.

On passes traveling 10-19 yards downfield, Mahomes only completed 47% of his attempts to Moore; in those situations specifically, Moore generated a passer rating of only 38.3. It’s something that the breakout candidate will have to improve on if he wants to take a step up in 2023.

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