Kansas City’s Struggles on offense can be attributed, in large part, to their refusal to adjust and attack defenses based on how they are being played. They have been a high powered aerial attack for the better part of 3 seasons and they aren’t willing to concede that identity even when teams sell out to play them according to their strengths.
Unlike the Cowboys and Kellen Moore, whose mantra is to "aggressively take what the defense gives us", the Chiefs seem more akin to aggressively force their will on their opponent regardless of success or lack thereof.
Defenses are generally playing soft zones with two deep safties (I’m talking 15 – 20 yards deep) versus Mahommes and crew while sending only four rushers, as evidenced by the fact that they are the least blitzed team in the league at 13%. The occasions when teams have given Dallas looks similar to that Zeke and Pollard were used heavily to make those defenses pay. The Chiefs, on the other hand, refuse to run even when teams are essentially daring them to do so.
Forcing the Chiefs into more check downs and underneath passes has lead their offense to stall on many drives. The reason for this is obvious…they weren’t built to play this way. Sure they can be successful, as many teams are, on 11 – 15 play drives. The reason they typically aren’t is because that isn’t their scheme.
Their ace in the hole in the underneath game is, of course, tight end Travis Kelce, but he’s struggled more this year versus press than in years past (evidenced of a 1.14 yard average route run versus press this year, lowest of his career). They don’t feature a well-established run game that has to be respected regardless of the rate of success it is having ala Dallas. So their dink and dunk game really seems like an afterthought only when there isn’t a big play to be had. Going on extended drives that are less orchestrated, but more circumstance driven is a recipe for failure.
So teams are taking away the deep shots to Tyreke and manhandling Kelce underneath. The other receiving threats for Kansas City aren’t exactly threats per se; I don’t think defensive coordinators lose sleep thinking about how to guard Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson or Byron Pringle. Add in a run game that is ineffective and underutilized and you have an offense that is going to struggle unless they adapt.
We see many instances were Pat Mahommes is sacked, pressured or scrambling around because the deep plays, that are already long developing, aren’t getting open, and by the time he’s given up on the deep shot the routes underneath have already been run. Then he is forced to make a late throw in a tight window, hit one of his guys after they adjust and re-route, or try to scramble to salvage what he can from the play. Oh, and by the way, as soon as the timing between WR and QB falls apart guess what goes next? Of course, the timing between QB and OL, no lineman loves their QB holding on to the ball and scrambling around forcing them to block longer or try to reset and block different angles. It leads to penalties on the OL and also them just getting beat.
All of that said, if I were the Chiefs I would 100 percent plan to flip the script this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Not only is our run defense still somewhat suspect, but we are missing key members of our front 7 as well. Our DBs aren’t world beaters but are extremely opportunistic and are coming off a 3 interception game that is sure to have their confidence levels up. Attacking this defense on the ground makes sense also because if you achieve enough success you’d be doing your own defense a favor by keeping the Dallas offense - one that is capable of attacking on air, on ground and at various depths - on the sidelines.
Do the Chiefs take this approach? What if they do and then also play soft coverage against us in order to avoid being torched like the Falcons were last week? Their pass defense has been horrible, so they'd have to really sell out and now that the whole Broncos blueprint garbage has been laid to rest, I wouldn’t expect the Chiefs to man us up and allow our WRs to scorch the turf on Sunday.
If they do focus on running the ball on offense and slowing our airiel attack on defense do we actually see these two high powered offenses play a low scoring game as a product of each team running the ball heavily? Vegas has the Over / Under for this game set at 56.5. I, for one, am betting on the under...wish me luck.