Chiefs offensive line shifting produces positive results


While not a perfect game on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs found a way to win and it started with a change that happened before the coin toss.

The Chiefs moved Eric Fisher to left tackle, put Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at right guard and started Jeff Allen at right tackle. When all was said and done Charcandrick West ended the day with over 100 yards rushing and a touchdown and Alex Smith threw for just under 250 yards without Jamaal Charles or Jeremy Maclin. Smith ended the day with only two sacks and looked better towards the end of the game as the happy feet started to not be an issue.

The changes on the offensive line were very welcome to see as Kansas City needed to shake things up and get the offense moving. While just under 400 yards of offense isn’t spectacular the Chiefs were more effective down the stretch and actually put the ball in the end zone twice after having it in the red zone three times early in the game.

With Fisher back on the left side the Chiefs seemed to find a rhythm throughout the game. Ben Grubbs played a little better today and while LDT struggled he showed tenacity and had a decent game on most snaps. He will get better with playing time and working on the communication between him and Morse more than anything else.

This also means that Donald Stephenson will more than likely not be back in 2016 but after the way he’s played for the past four weeks I’m not sure where he will find a job moving forward regardless. Jeff Allen stepped into right tackle today and had a couple of miscues but played much better than Stephenson has played right tackle while in Kansas City.

Kansas City has room to build on this victory with the way the offense started in the first half and finished the game. They got bogged down in the red zone multiple times early but found a way to bounce back in the second half and put the ball in the end zone twice.

The Chiefs offenses was buoyed with good performances from young wide receivers Albert Wilson and Chris Conley. Conley bounced back from back to back games with bad drops and went a whole game without having a drop. Conley just missed coming up with a big catch down the sideline as well when Alex Smith just missed him on a deep ball. If the Chiefs receivers can continue to be as productive as they were today; the return of Jeremy Maclin could make the Chiefs offense much harder to defend.

Travis Kelce has shown flashes of being an emotional leader on the Chiefs offense and continued that trend on Sunday. While Kelce has always shown emotion when making plays; he has started to use that emotion and enthusiasm to fire up his teammates. Kelce had almost 80 yards receiving throughout the game and showed why he is such a mismatch for any defender being able to use his body to overpower corners and safeties and out run linebackers.

Kansas City’s defense has started to find itself over the past couple of games. While they haven’t played powerhouses like Green Bay and Denver they have found a way to slow down the offenses they have played and while allowing yards, have become much stingier when allowing points.

Tamba Hali has not looked like himself over the past couple seasons and is probably going to be best moving forward in more of a 50/50 role on defense splitting reps with Dee Ford, but he made the most of his relentlessness late in the game with two sacks including a sack/strip fumble.

Ford had his moments on the field as well showing fire and stopping the Steelers on a fourth down early in the third quarter. Houston has not been getting to the passer over the past couple of games but still gets pressure consistently.

The real story on defense is two INT’s by the defense. One from Derrick Johnson on a great jumping INT at the end of the first half and a pinball type INT by Eric Berry in the third quarter. This defense is at its best when it is attacking. Sutton has started to figure out different ways to get pressure on the quarterback and the offense.

Multiple plays in a row Sutton had Hali and Houston lined up next to each other across from the left guard and left tackle. On one of those plays DJ, Houston and Hali were lined up next to each other with Houston and DJ dropping into coverage.