Oct 13, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) and defensive back Quintin Demps (35) during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Sutton’s Historic Chiefs Defense

AA - Crowd Noise final

The Houston Texans come to town this Sunday for an afternoon game at Arrowhead against the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m certain the Texans scouts scour AA for insider tips that can help their team, so here’s a tip to make their jobs easier: The Chiefs defense is really good.

But just how good are they? To answer this question, let’s first discuss what the best metric is to measure defensive prowess. I’m going to go with points given up by a defense per game. More so than interceptions, sacks or tackles-for-loss, points given up is perhaps the best defensive indicator of what really matters: will the Chiefs win or lose the game.

Through six games, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defense has given up an average of 10.8 points per game (PPG), the stingiest in the NFL this year by that metric. I went back and looked at the entire history of the NFL as measured by the PPG metric, and here’s what I found — the top 15 defenses of all time:

Rank

Year

Team

Record

Last Game

PPG

1

1977

Atlanta Falcons

7-7

Regular Season

9.2

2

1969

Minnesota Vikings

12-2

Super Bowl

9.5

3

1975

Los Angeles Rams

12-2

Conference Championship

9.6

4

1976

Pittsburgh Steelers

10-4

Conference Championship

9.9

5

1971

Minnesota Vikings

11-3

Conference Semifinals

9.9

6

1971

Baltimore Colts

10-4

Conference Championship

10.0

7

1970

Minnesota Vikings

12-2

Conference Semifinals

10.2

8

1968

Baltimore Colts

13-1

Super Bowl

10.3

9

2000

Baltimore Ravens

12-4

Super Bowl

10.3

10

1977

Los Angeles Rams

10-4

Conference Semifinals

10.4

11

1977

Denver Broncos

12-2

Super Bowl

10.6

12

1973

Miami Dolphins

12-2

Super Bowl

10.7

13

1975

Pittsburgh Steelers

12-2

Super Bowl

11.6

14

1966

Green Bay Packers

12-2

Super Bowl

11.6

15

1986

Chicago Bears

14-2

Conference Semifinals

11.7

At its current pace, this 2013 Kansas City Chiefs defense would rank as the 13th best defense of all time.

By way of comparison, here are the next best defenses this year in 2013, after the Chiefs:

Team

Record

PPG

Carolina Panthers

2-3

13.6

Seattle Seahawks

5-1

15.7

Indianapolis Colts

4-1

15.8

New England Patriots

5-1

16.2

The Panthers would be tied for 49th historically, while the Seahawks, Colts and Patriots would fall far outside of the top 100.

You may notice that in the first table of the top 15 defenses, no teams are represented after 2000. Clearly, the NFL has become a more pass-centric, high-scoring game. That’s what makes this 2013 Chiefs defense even more remarkable. For fun, I also pulled together the top defenses in the NFL from 2001-2012. Here’s what we get:

PPG

Team

Year

12.3

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2002

12.6

Chicago Bears

2005

12.6

Baltimore Ravens

2006

12.7

Chicago Bears

2001

13.9

Pittsburgh Steelers

2008

14.2

Pittsburgh Steelers

2011

14.5

Pittsburgh Steelers

2010

14.8

New York Jets

2009

14.9

New England Patriots

2003

15.3

Seattle Seahawks

2012

15.7

Pittsburgh Steelers

2004

16.4

Indianapolis Colts

2007

In addition to this 2013 Chiefs defense being the 13th best defense of all time, it would rank as the single best defense since 2001 and the modern era of high-scoring offenses.

Addicts, do the numbers back it up? Is this truly the best defense in the NFL since 2000?

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • chiefconcern

    What would be interesting is to see the number of ints and scores produced by the defense in the 2000′s compared to the historical defenses. I would bet more ints and more points off those ints would show up for this era of defenses.

  • berttheclock

    Yes, indeed, our Giant Red Hornets really do create a Buzz, do they not? Just love to see them swarm.

    I saw many a game when the Fearsome Foursome played, but, I never saw a 4th and 48. A stifling defense and tremendous crowd noise can do wonders when combined. That scene of the offensive linemen of the Raiders slapping the sides of their helmets because they couldn’t hear Pryor was priceless.

    However, I really have begun to enjoy the weekly “Preyer Meetings” atop the opposing QB. They are becoming a sort of a “religious” experience.

    All of that said, what I really appreciate about Sutton and his assistants is how they adjust during the game in flow. Gunther could really game plan for the 1st half, but, he, often, faded in the 2nd half. Sutton and his crew keep getting better.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    They’re on pace for a historic season in the team sacks category (more than 80).
    The record is held by the ’84 Bears’ defense (72).

    • berttheclock

      Sort of interesting link – Buddy Ryan was the defensive whiz. He passed a great deal of that on to his two sons. Sutton worked under Rex Ryan.

  • Clint Moran

    Impressive numbers to be certain. Sadly, the season will not end with opponents scoring these low point totals. We have 2 games vs the broncos, 2 games vs the chargers, and a game vs the colts. Those 3 offenses will likely score much more than the 10.8 ppg we are currently surrendering. It’ll be critical that the offense starts moving the ball to compete, as I’m sure the defense will do their job, as always, and keep the games winnable.

    • Calchiefsfan

      You’re correct about that. The positive side to that is the Chiefs offense, sputtering along as it is, is scoring 16-17 ppg on its own. Add in the 7-10 points the D and special teams give us and those three teams are going to need to score 27-28 points to beat us. If our offense does finally come together then you’re looking at 30+ points for the win. Against this D that will be very difficult.

  • Jason Seibel

    This is what I’ve been saying. Look at those numbers! The Chiefs defense has the makings to be the best defense in at least the last 13 years. And I’m not so convinced that they won’t hold the Broncos, Chargers and Colts to a low score. They are built to play those teams. That’s what they were designed to do. I said it last night on AA Radio and I’ll say it again, this Chiefs defense is every bit as elite as the Broncos offense.

    • berttheclock

      Speaking of defense, did you read that Commings has returned to the practice field?

      • Jason Seibel

        I did, sir. The only Chief (who isn’t on IR) not to practice yesterday was Kendrick Lewis who has an ankle injury, I believe. We talk about it on this week’s episode of AA Radio, live right now!

      • micah stephenson

        Whaaaaaat! Thats my boy from Ga. Awwww snap. I can’t wait for him to get good. Omg. If Sanders gets good on this D, its not gone b fair to nfl offenses. Omg. Our secondary will b stacked.

    • Troy Utt

      Jason I agree completely with you… It’s nearly to the point of aggrevation now that Denver is praised for their offensive output, yet not guilded for having teams like Dallas & Jax run scores up on them! That said we play a nearly identical schedule & the talking heads seemingly being lead by a man named after a bathroom scouring product (Bonami or whatever the hell his name is) discredit the TEAM. Watching various reports & seeing KC’s “D” or special teams neither being taken as legimate squads, makes the wait for weeks 10 & 13 seem like forever, I guess that is the only thing that will make certain individuals shut their pie-holes! As for the the offense it has had it’s up’s & downs… But anyone who knows any-thing about football must ackowledge the facts… This unit & system is entirely new, the OL needs help we know that, & our TE Corp has not been been at 100% since week one.
      Thank goodness for JC & “the beard” in the interim, but getting Fasano back on the field as well will be a much needed shot in the arm offensively. As for our QB… I don’t believe we could ask for much more? Would we like to see him go down-field more? Sure. But current circumstances & all things considered I believe Alex Smith has done a fine job! He has protected the ball, not turned it over at all
      cost, & fights to extend the drive… Fix the issue at the line of scrimmage, TE’s to throw to, JC in the back-field, & our
      down-field issues begin sorting themselves out!
      I FOR ONE BELIEVE!!! WAR CHIEFS!!!

      • John Palmer

        Jason and Troy, I too, believe!! This defense is flat out a terror and I am certain that no team is looking forward to facing us. The fact that we can play dominant man coverage is what makes us hard to play. I cannot tell my fellow chieftans enought….fear not the “vaunted” 4 horsemen, we are built to beat them. Control the clock, keep them on the sidelines and out of the endzone. Mark these words…Kansas City will hold Denver to 24 or less. It is IMPERATIVE we continue drives on 3rd down and do not kick FGs. GO WAR CHIEFS!!

        • Troy Utt

          I am relieved Fasano is coming off the IR! Not only should this be of help to Smith as an intermediate target, but it should help down-field, as well our running game. As with JC being our leading rusher & receiver, it is of no surprise who is being targeted when he is being split out in the WO position. Having both Fasano & McGrath will open the playbook to allow for more of the hybrid portions of the offense, although we will be limited to the 1-2 TE sets at least it allows for some variation!
          WAR CHIEFS!!!

    • Andy

      You are right, our D is for real. It has room to grow since it is still a new systemn and we are getting Cummings and N Johnson back soon. Not sure it is right to compare greatness 6 games into a season. I am enjoying it game by game.

  • steve james

    Well its official my Yearly game will be this weekend:) Got tickets in section 104 for my bro in law and me:)

  • micah stephenson

    I wana say its the best defense eva! They are hella good dog.

  • micah stephenson

    Every game I b like cmon defense, its up to you to win. And every week they do it. They even chip n an occasional pick 6 to help the scrubby offense out.

  • Andy

    We are very good…best since 2000?, probably not. Our opposition has not been all that offensive. Not taking away what we have done. We have beaten who we were suppose to beat, not like years past playing to our opponents level. But lets play Denver twice and finish the season, then we will see. We have room for growth/ depth with Cummings and N Johnson coming back too health.

  • Bud Sidener

    I think the Chief’s D could be the only one in the league that can take on the Bronco’s O. If the KC offense comes together even a little bit…the Chiefs could go a long way.