The Kansas City Chiefs need to ignore their bread and butter running game this Sunday if they hope to defeat the Denver Broncos.
But just for a little while.
The last time these two teams met, the Broncos came out with a very clear game plan. They wanted to stuff the Chiefs run early and score fast to neutralize KC’s rushing attack.
It worked. The Chiefs became one dimensional very quickly and Matt Cassel was forced to throw a billion times in a futile comeback attempt.
This Sunday, the Chiefs need to come out throwing.
Now don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want the Chiefs to get into a shootout with the Broncos. As good as Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe have been playing, a shootout does not favor the Chiefs, even at home. The Broncos have way too much experience chucking the ball around the field like maniacs and if the Chiefs try to play like the Broncos, they’ll lose.
Yet the Chiefs have to come out and test the Broncos through the air. The Broncos defense is terrible. They can’t stop the run and that aren’t much better at stopping the pass. In fact, they would probably be worse against the pass if they weren’t so dang easy to run on.
The reason the Broncos were able to “shut down” the Chiefs running attack a few weeks ago was because they completely sold out to stop the run early. They knew the Chiefs would come out trying to pound the ball so they put everyone, and I mean everyone in the box to slow KC down. Any team, save the 2009 Chiefs, can stop the run if they put enough men in the box. The problem with that strategy is that if the other guys have a decent QB, he’ll burn you in your man coverage. Unfortunately, the Chiefs didn’t test the Broncos D early and by the time they started throwing, it was too late.
Thus Sunday, the Chiefs need to start by opening things up through the air. The Broncos secondary is old and injured so Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe should be able to have a field day on the first couple of drives. That will force the Broncos to back off and it will open back up the running lanes.
The Chiefs already used this strategy against the Seahawks last week. Check out their first drive play chart.
1st and 10 at KC 28M.Cassel pass short right to D.Bowe to KC 42 for 14 yards (M.Trufant, D.Hawthorne).
1st and 10 at KC 42M.Cassel pass incomplete short right to V.Tucker.
2nd and 10 at KC 42T.Jones left tackle to KC 46 for 4 yards (D.Hawthorne).
Timeout #1 by SEA at 13:33.
3rd and 6 at KC 46(Shotgun) M.Cassel pass short right to D.Bowe to SEA 35 for 19 yards (A.Curry, L.Milloy).
1st and 10 at SEA 35T.Jones right tackle to SEA 31 for 4 yards (K.Balmer).
2nd and 6 at SEA 31M.Cassel pass deep middle to V.Tucker to SEA 7 for 24 yards (E.Thomas).
1st and 7 at SEA 7(Shotgun) M.Cassel pass short middle to D.Bowe for 7 yards,TOUCHDOWN.
R.Succop extra point is GOOD, Center-T.Gafford, Holder-D.Colquitt.70
That is 7 plays, 72 yards in 3:29. 5 passes, 2 runs, 1 touchdown.
Only 8 yards of that drive came on the ground.
KC’s next play on offense?
Jamaal Charles up the right side for 27 yards.
The Broncos can’t stop the run without stacking the box. They have no other choice. The Chiefs should send Cassel to the line with a pass play and a package of run audibles just in case the Broncos get cute and play more coverage.
The Chiefs have the upper hand either way. The Donkeys can’t play balanced defense so as long as the Chiefs take advantage of whatever advantage Denver gives them, they should be able to move the ball. Chances are, the advantage will be a soft pass defense in favor of stopping the run.
Thus throw early, run later.
The only question is, do the Chiefs have an answer on defense? We’ll be back later with a theory on that. Until then, what do you think Addicts? Should the Chiefs come out throwing?