Last night the Kansas City Chiefs became one of only five teams in NFL history to get off to a 3-0 start after losing 14 games the previous season. Andy Reid won another game at Lincoln Financial Field from an unfamiliar place, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 26-16 from the visitor’s sideline. Reid had this to say in a post-game interview with NFL Network’s Alex Flanagan:
We are 3-0. It makes the plane ride easier, but we’re still early in the year. We’ve got so much room to improve, I can’t tell you.
Let’s take a look at the numbers from the game and see what they can tell us about Thursday night’s victory for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Turnovers: 5 (Kansas City)
Kansas City Chiefs had a +5 turnover differential in their TNF game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Michael Vick threw two interceptions (the first was a pick-6 to Eric Berry that put Kansas City up 10-0). Philly’s generosity didn’t end there. Cornerback Sean Smith later picked off a pass intended for wide receiver Riley Cooper. The Eagles also put the ball on the ground four times (the Chiefs recovered three of those four fumbles). Studies suggest that teams who have a +3 or greater turnover differential in a given game win about 93% of the time. On the season, the Kansas City Chiefs are +9 in the giveaway/takeaway category.
Sacks: 5 (Kansas City)
Bob Sutton did a masterful job of putting pressure on quarterback Michael Vick on Thursday night. Sutton’s defense dumped Vick five times in the game. Justin Houston, Kansas City’s emerging superstar at outside linebacker, had his second three-sack day of the season, posting 3.5 sacks in the game. The other 1.5 sacks came from two other Chiefs’ linebackers: Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali. Kansas City as a team leads the league in sacks with 14 on the year.
Net Yards Rushing: 260 (Philadelphia)
Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy were quite the headache for the Chiefs’ run defense last night. Together they ran the ball 25 times for 253 rushing yards at an eye-popping 10.1 yards per clip. Coming into the “Thursday Night Football” matchup, the Chiefs had only surrendered 54 rushing yards per game. The bulk of Vick’s yardage came on a 61-yard scamper eight minutes into the first quarter. McCoy was a more consistent presence throughout the evening. He left the game late in the second quarter with what appeared to be a very serious injury to his right leg. McCoy returned in the second half and on his first carry burst through the middle of Kansas City’s defense for a 30-yard gain. Overall, the Eagles’ run game accounted for more than 60% of their total offense on Thursday night.
Time of Possession: 39:07 (Kansas City)
Kansas City dominated the ToP battle, possessing the football for close to 40 minutes. Roughly 20% of that total can be attributed to a 15-play fourth quarter drive (with a shade over 11 minutes to play in the game). The Chiefs had the ball for 12:35 of the final frame, limiting offensive opportunities for Philadelphia. The Eagles had just 12 offensive plays on three drives in the fourth quarter.
Penalties: 9 for 65 yards (Kansas City)
This is the second consecutive week that the Chiefs have committed at least 9 penalties (they were flagged 10 times in the game against the Cowboys). Over half of those yellow flags were simple mental errors. Kansas City was thrice penalized for illegal formation, Alex Smith was responsible for a delay of game penalty, and Brandon Albert contributed a false start. Those infractions point squarely to a lack of focus. The Chiefs committed only one penalty defensively, when safety Eric Berry was dinged for a third quarter illegal contact penalty. Andy Reid likes a disciplined football team so I suspect he’ll work on minimizing these mistakes as the season wears on.
Donnie Avery: 141 receiving yards (Kansas City)
Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator Billy Davis made a concerted effort to take Dwayne Bowe away last night. For most of the evening, Bowe was bracketed and unable to help Kansas City’s passing offense. In situations like those, it’s up to your secondary and tertiary receivers to take advantage of 1-on-1 matchups. Five-year veteran receiver Donnie Avery did exactly that hauling 7 passes in for 141 yards. He did most of his damage on crossing routes. Three of those catches helped convert key third down situations. Avery was one of just two offensive skill position players (the other being Charles) to make a real contribution last night.
DeSean Jackson: 62 receiving yards (Philadelphia)
Jackson was relatively quiet through the opening two quarters of the game. By halftime, he had just one catch for nine yards. He finished the game with only three. The longest of his three receptions came on a third down play where he beat Brandon Flowers up the right sideline for 40 yards. Jackson benefited from Flowers playing man coverage and Kendrick Lewis, the single high safety, not having time to get over and help. For the most part, Bob Sutton was able to keep Jackson in check. If you take away the big play, DeSean Jackson catches only 2 balls for 22 yards.
The numbers tell two very different stories about this football team, but it’s clear that Reid was ultimately right about them. There’s plenty of room left for the Kansas City Chiefs to grow. Time will tell if they can continue to mature and learn from the mistakes they’ve made through the early part of the 2013 season.
Are there any particular stats, from last night’s game, that got your attention? Use the comment section below to tell us about them. As always, we appreciate your readership and support!
Until next time, Addicts!