Think I decided to line up the Chiefs’ stats alongside a bunch of league bottom dwellers to make my point? Wrong.
The others are three of the four teams from the NFC and AFC Conference championship games last year. Team #2 is the New England Patriots, Team #3 is the San Francisco 49ers, and Team #4 — that stinker that had fewer receptions by wide receivers than the Chiefs — is none other than the world champion Seattle Seahawks.
True, I left Denver out of this list, but we all know that they didn’t fit this trend with their phenomenal passing year, and guess what? They got destroyed 43-8 in the Super Bowl, in case you had forgotten.
So, I ask again, the Chiefs have no chance of going deep in the playoffs with WR production like we had last year, right? Wrong, if the success of all of last year’s contenders is any judge.
This list had some other things in common. They all had pretty good defenses:
Team #1 (Chiefs)
Average opponent points allowed (NFL rank): 19.1 (5th)
Sacks (NFL rank): 47 (T-6th)
INT’s (NFL rank): 21 (T-3rd)
Team #2 (Patriots)
Average opponent points allowed (NFL rank): 21.1 (10th)
Sacks (NFL rank): 48 (5th)
INT’s (NFL rank): 17 (T-12th)
Team #3 (49ers)
Average opponent points allowed (NFL rank): 17 (3rd)
Sacks (NFL rank): 38 (T-18th)
INT’s (NFL rank): 18 (T-10th)
Team #4 (Seahawks)
Average opponent points allowed (NFL rank): 14.4 (1st)
Sacks (NFL rank): 44 (T-8th)
INT’s (NFL rank): 28 (1st)
And, it’s been suggested that the fact QB Alex Smith was throwing so often to RB Jamaal Charles was due to a lack of better options or because Smith simply can’t sling it down field. For me, the only real concern with throwing so much to Charles is his durability, which is critical to the team’s continued success.
As for the amount of catches he was getting, it may have made the WR’s look bad, but when you have a special athlete like him who was averaging 9.9 yards per catch and had a TD for every 10 receptions, who cares? Throw him the ball.
The Chiefs are not alone in that philosophy.
Although the Chiefs were the only of these teams with a non-WR leading the team in receptions, the 49ers’ #2 player in terms of receptions was TE Vernon Davis, who snagged the ball 52 times for 1,627 yards and 13 touchdowns. Remember 49ers wide receivers had just 8 TD’s all season combined.
The Seahawks weren’t too different. Their RB Marshawn Lynch had the 3rd most receptions for the team. Same with the Patriots, with RB Shane Vereen coming in 3rd with 47 balls for 427 yards.
So, would it be nice for the Chiefs to have a wideout emerge as a clear number #1 who is consistently beating his man deep? Absolutely.
Are the Chiefs doomed without one? Hardly.