Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) reacts after running an interception back for a touchdown during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

How Good Was The Kansas City Chiefs Defense Against The Jacksonville Jaguars?


The Kansas City Chiefs had a dominant performance to start the 2013 season against the Jacksonville Jaguars. After overcoming an early blocked punt for a safety, the Chiefs completely controlled the game from that moment on in route to a 28-2 victory.

Despite the one sided road victory, there will continue to be questions about the KC offense. Some will say that they were a perfect 3 for 3 in the red zone and then took their foot off the gas pedal once the game was in hand. Others will say that they benefitted from great field position in the first half and then couldn’t get anything going in the second. You can’t really argue with either side. That’s why I’m just taking a wait and see approach with the offense. You can worry if you want, or you can feel great if you want. I’m just going to wait and see what next week brings before I pass judgement. That’s why I’m going to focus this week on the best defensive performance that KC has seen in a long time.

There is absolutely no question that the Chiefs had an amazing defensive performance on Sunday. The only question is just how excited KC fans should get about this performance. Pessimists will say:

“The Jags are terrible, Blaine Gabbert was banged up, Mercedes Lewis was injured, and Justin Blackmon was suspended, so this doesn’t really mean anything.”

Those are all valid points and should be taken into consideration when evaluating this defensive performance. However, if your opinion is that “everyone does that to Jacksonville”, you are incorrect.

Just like the Chiefs, the Jags were bad last season, REALLY bad. Like KC last season, they didn’t get great QB play, but unlike the Chiefs who had Jamaal Charles all season, the Jags were without their star player Maurice Jones-Drew for most of the season. Despite being without Jones-Drew for much of the year, the Jags offensive season averages looked a lot better than what they put up against KC on Sunday.

Below is a chart showing what Jacksonville’s offense averaged in 2012, what KC’s defense averaged in 2012, and then what KC held Jacksonville to on Sunday.

So if this was the same old bad Jacksonville offense against the same old bad Kansas City defense, you would expect the numbers to split the difference between what they averaged last season. However, what that chart shows is that every single area was a clear upgrade in KC’s favor. So either the Jags offense got significantly worse over the offseason, the Chiefs defense got significantly better, or some combination of the two.

The safe bet is that it’s some combination of the two, but there are some signs that point in KC’s favor. First off, the 6 sacks that they put up was the most by the KC defense since week 13 of the 2011 season when they sacked the Bears’ Caleb Hanie seven times in the Tyler Palko to Dexter McCluster hail mary game. That means they put up the most sacks that they’ve had in 20 games in the first game with Bob Sutton’s new attacking defense. That to me points to that being more about the Chiefs than the Jags. Yes, rookie Luke Joeckel had a rough day blocking Justin Houston, but does anybody think it would have been much different if Guy Whimper was still playing RT for them?

While we’re on the subject of sacks, over the past two seasons combined the Chiefs have had only 12.5 total sacks from their defensive linemen. That’s an average of 0.4 defensive line sacks per game. On Sunday they had 2.5 (that’s 50% of their defensive line sack total from 2012). Dontari Poe looks like an All Pro defensive lineman in the making, and it started in the preseason so that can’t be put on Jacksonville either. This is another sign that this performance may have been more about KC being improved than it was about Jacksonville being worse.

If you’re still not convinced that this was about KC, I’ve got a couple of more numbers for you. While a lot was made going into the game about the Jags not having Blackmon and Lewis, they did get their best offensive player back from injury in Jones-Drew. While Jones-Drew only played a handful of games last season, he was still a Pro Bowl caliber player for them when he last played. If you go back to 2011, Jones-Drew has basically played in 21 games. The Jags were a bad team over that span, going 6-15 in those games. Despite the poor performance of his team, Jones-Drew rushed for 2,014 yards at 4.7 YPC, and an average of 95.9 YPG. On Sunday the Chiefs held him to 15 carries for 45 yards and a 3.0 yards per carry average. So the KC defense successfully stopped an elite running back and put constant pressure on the QB.

If you’re STILL not sold that the KC defense is for real, let me try to put into perspective just how dominant their performance was. The 2 points scored by Jacksonville was their lowest point total since October 11, of 2009 when they were shut out in Seattle. That covers a span of 59 games. In order to find a home game when they scored that few points you have to go all the way back to December 26, of 2004 when they were shut out at home by Houston. That’s a span of 8 seasons and 64 home games.

In terms of yardage production there were only two teams last season that shut down the Jags like KC did. The Bears held them to 189 total yards and the Texans held them to 117 total yards. Those are two of the better defenses in the league, finishing in the top ten in both yards and points allowed. That would put KC in pretty good company.

We will have to wait and see what will happen with the Kansas City offense this season. Next week against Dallas we should get a better idea. I do feel confident in saying that KC is going to be much improved on defense this season. Every game won’t be as dominant as it was Sunday, but I think its safe to say that the Chiefs defense may finally live up to the individual talent that we’ve known was on this roster.

All I can say is….

Watch out Tony Romo, the Chiefs are coming for you!

As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Addicts, if you enjoy reading my weekly musings on all things Chiefs, check out my new weekly NFL column on, “The Armchair Quarterback’s Guide To The NFL”. The first one premiered last Thursday, and you can look for a new edition every Thursday morning.

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Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars Kansas City Chiefs

  • berttheclock

    Is Mr Meester still back pedaling against Poe? Meester has been playing that position for 14 years and I doubt if he ever had such difficulty trying to block a legitimate NT.

  • chiefridgy

    Great breakdown Lyle. Our defense definitely looked the part on Sunday and I believe they can only improve from here. We did get burned on a couple long throws which has been a bit of an achilles heel for us and has me worried with the cowgirls coming to town.

  • berttheclock

    One thing the great defense did was to allow Anger to work on his punting game for the Jags. Eleven punts and he averaged over 50 yards per punt due to being forced to kick from his end of the field.
    BTW, Colquitt punted 9 times, with one blocked, but, five of them ended up being inside the twenty. One of them took a very strange bounce forward into the end zone. Ending up inside the twenty is very much part of the defensive scheme. One other point. The Chiefs beat the spread on the road with a great deal of room to spare. That really is not that simple in the NFL. Loved the comment in the Jacksonville paper where the writer said the Jags had kept it simple as they were simply beaten all over the field of play.

  • test

    was it not time to bring in tebow, jags?

    • Michael Shaw

      Ha Ha!! Tebow.

    • berttheclock

      With apologies to Wadsworth. “My Tebow shot a pass into the air. It fell upon the earth, I know not where.”

      • Calchiefsfan

        Oh that is sooo bad Bert, lol.

    • RepOurChiefs

      Too soon! Lmbo!

  • Chris Tarrants

    Dallas is for sure a better team but we have another week to gel as a team. That means our defense is only going to get better! That my friends has to scare some offensive coordinators around the league. Also on the offensive side we get Asomoah back hopefully and that will just make our offense even better. Can’t wait to see Arrowhead packed next week it is going to be electric in there

    • Michael Shaw

      SO wish I could be there!!!!!!!!!!! :(

  • freshmeat62

    The D was as expected, especially the front 7. The secondary didn’t get much of a test, but I expect them to be fine, at least better than last year.

    The offense – ummmm. Only 291 total yards against a horrible defense. According to the ‘box’ Colquitt punted 10 times. Way to many times considering the opposition. But it’s a W and now they can concentrate more on their offense. Every weeks experience will be helpful for this new offense.

    Go Chiefs!

    • Michael Shaw

      I think the total yardage is a bit of a mirage considering they absolutely took the foot off the pedal. Their offense went almost inept after the INT by Tamba for the last of the 28 points scored. I am wondering if Andy just wasn’t trying to add insult to injury, because they even backed off on the defense a little in the second half. There was a clear difference between the offensive and defensive play calling in the first and second half.

    • Danny W

      I agree. I don’t think the sky is falling or anything but Smith needs to improve his third down percentage throws. Step in there and let it go. He’s pretty accurate if he would just trust himself and Dwayne Bowe he could complete some passes he’s apprehensive about making.

      • Patrick Allen

        The offense is not particularly explosive. Then again, it was just game one and defense are usually ahead of the game this time of year. KC isn’t going to be a dominant offense but if we see them show improvement over the next few games that will be a huge plus, considering the potential of the defense.

        Here is the other thing about the offense “backing off the gas”. I am not sure if that is the case. There is really no evidence to suggest that, other than taking JC out. But I DO imagine Smith was even more conservative than normal late in the game, which is what you want out of your QB. So while he may have tucked the ball or checked down some on third down in the 2nd half, he was also making sure that nothing dumb happened, like a senseless pick six.

        • Danny W

          I’m hoping that’s the case. Dallas should be a real test of what this team has.

  • PunjabiPete

    One thing I did NOT like about the game was how KC fell into “KC Syndrome” from the late 90s, where you get a decent lead, and then not only ease up on the accelerator, but put the car in cruise and climb into the back seat for a nap. The offense settled NOTHING for me yesterday. 2 touchdowns vs. the Jags is a joke. The defense played fantastic, and Dontari Poe is only going to get better (remember it’s been established that DL usually “flourish” in their 3rd year, that’s how long it takes to really get all the technique and stuff), and the defense will keep us in a lot of games we don’t deserve to be in, but the Offense needs to step it up and then keep stepping on it. Dallas, Denver, Houston, none of those teams are going to let you just coast an entire half and win.

    On the positive side, sources with very good insider knowledge told me Gabbert woke up sweating and had his wife check the closet for Justin Houston 4 times last night. He wouldn’t sleep unless she also checked under the bed for Tamba Hali.

    • Chris Tarrants

      In all fairness it was three touchdowns before they backed off the gas. How would people feel if we had played all out and we got Charles, Bowe, or Smith hurt? Then it would be everybody questioning Reid as to why he didn’t pull guys in a blowout. Personally I am glad that we didn’t show all of our cards this week because them cowgirls are saddled up and riding into arrowhead and I feel better knowing that we still have a trick or two up our sleeves

      • PunjabiPete

        I understand that, really, I do. I just wish we had played a little harder the entire game. I would have felt terrible if one of our (or even their) players got hurt, but to me there’s no difference. You’re out on the field, you give it 110%. You play the best you can without fear of injury or what-ifs the SAME way against the Broncos as you do against the Jaguars.

        I like our chances against the Cowboys, someone tell Poe not to shower all week to add insult to injury!

      • Megan Schied


    • berttheclock

      One thing not noted by anyone is the temp on the playing field was in the nineties. It began to take a toll on every player.

    • Michael Shaw


    • Megan Schied

      If we dont have to show our plays and can get away with vanilla play calling, why shouldnt we. Chiefs have not even shown their small pair that matches their 3 of a kind for a full house on Sunday.

    • Vaughn Morris

      She also checked the Kitchen to see if POE was raiding the fridge for leftovers, only to find T JAx bent over with his ass out digging in the cookie jar

  • stephan costa

    The D was awesome! Totally overpowered the happless Jags and netted me a cool 26 points to help me outdistance my league in week 1! Another performance like that would be awesome against the cowboys!

  • Michael Shaw

    I have KC’s defense in one league and my roommate has them in another and he got 32 points and I got 40 points for the defensive effort against the Jags! Fantasy points aside, I think, despite being against the Jags, this team might be a contender with Denver this year. The offense looked good on the two TD pass plays and the one TD run to JC. After that, you can clearly see that they pulled back some. I can only guess that Andy didn’t want to embarrass the rookie coach too much since our guys were dominating them on the field of play so much. Sounds odd to me too, but that seems to fit the character of Andy Reid. I was hoping they wouldn’t stop until they scored 56 points, just to make Peyton’s Bronco’s think twice about playing us, well, twice!!

    As for the Dallas game, I am simply ecstatic to watch that game last night. #1 they won against a team that has owned them in their own building, which means they might be over-confident coming up against our boys. #2 Tony Romo got hurt. We will never know how much as the kid is a tough kid, but I am thinking Tamba, Justin, DJ, Jordan or NJ and Poe/Jackson are going to have a BLAST against that O-line, especially when they find out that Brian Waters is going to be possibly playing right tackle (?? thought the dude retired??). I am worried about covering Dez, Austin and Witten, but hopefully when we pressure Romo it won’t matter. I am concerned about the pass rush from DeMarcus Ware. He looks great in their new 4-3!!

    • Chris Tarrants

      If Ware is coming on the left side I feel confidant that he will be held in check, if he goes right side then our new fish haha <— see what I did there :) lol any ways Fisher will have to learn quickly to slow him down but it won't matter as long as Alex makes quick and smart decisions in the pocket

  • berttheclock

    The Seahawks have shown they have a potent offense, yet, on the road, they barely escaped with a five point win over the Panthers. If it had not been for their great defense, they may have started the season trailing the Niners.
    The Chiefs beat the spread handily on the road. It became an entire team effort.

  • tm1946

    Just a side matter, if OL have to remove T Jackson’s pants to slow him down this year, I better send him some suspenders. Defense was feeding off each other

  • Arrowhead Magic

    This defense played on fire but the one thing that I loved more was the fact that even though we got down early, the team did not fold and begin making mistakes. And last year that happened to us nearly every game. The difference between this year’s team and last year’s team is huge. I look forward to seeing where this team could go.

  • Norman Gunn

    Great article for a great game. Both sides of the ball played excellent. I would have loved to see a few more shots down field just so the Jaguars wouldn’t sit on the short routes so hard. Against a good D we would have saw a pick 6.

  • RepOurChiefs

    Im going to go so far as to say the Def is better than real…they are genuine! Poe is beasting and (not so tin-man) finally got the memo! Romo, you have a series of up close and personals with the ground buddy. #youaintseennothingyet #gochiefs

    • tm1946

      Dallas needed 5 turnovers to get past Giants, Could, no will, be a different story at Arrowhead.

  • Priest4Prez

    This game was well played and there were points where I felt the play calling and execution on the offensive side was lacking. Against the Cowboys, we can NOT let up on the gas pedal; I’m all about putting your opponent into the dirt and shoveling a couple piles of dirt on him. Our offense at this rate will struggle extremely against the Cowboy D. These 5 yard pass plays will not get us any points in regards to a solid defense.
    I was concerned that when we had to go the length of the field to score; it didn’t happen…not even field goal range. I get the heat, I get the lead, I get that we’re “not showing all our cards(?)” thing but that is unacceptable. One, maybe two passes over 12 yards attempted. Where was Bowe? The Jags secondary wasn’t stellar; but when Charles was gone neither were we.
    Let’s get this straight; I’m excited for the win. I haven’t jumped, screamed, and high fived that much in a while but we’re supposed to beat the Jags. Andy Reid alone coaching the Chiefs got that win. We beat the Cowboys and then I’ll feel we’re ready for a shot at the playoffs.

    • tm1946

      To me, Reid figured Jags were not coming back, went vanilla on offense, no point giving game film to the league (hide a little something for later), and did not want to show up the Jags any worse than necessary at that point.

    • micah stephenson

      I agree. Glad you said it for me becuse I’m just being negative when I say it. When you say it, you just keeping it real. Thanks for keeping it real.

  • Tanner Cobb

    Going into last year, I thought that our Defense had a great chance to excel and even be placed in the elite category. *Unfortunately that didn’t happen…
    I do think that Jacksonville’s terrible offense contributed to our success, but how many teams really dominated Jacksonville like that last year (6 sacks, 2 int, 2 points allowed). Dallas better watch out, this D is good.

    *Cassel’s fault along with bad coaching