Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Third Down Efficiency
Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs were the 19th-best offense at converting third downs. Of the 13 teams worse at third down efficiency, just three of them qualified for the playoffs (Minnesota, Denver and Green Bay).
The team’s five regular season losses presented 59 opportunities to convert a third down play. Kansas City succeeded just 29 percent of the time (with 17 conversions). To put that into perspective, the league’s worst third-down success rate in 2015 was owned by the St. Louis Rams (26%).
Extending drives will be an integral part of Andy Reid fielding a more productive offense. That’s easier said than done though. The Chiefs have finished in the bottom half of the league every year since Reid became the head coach. Kansas City finished 27th and 19th, respectively, in 2013 and 2014. If you look even closer, it becomes evident that the Chiefs’ biggest issue are drives that stall. Surprisingly, the team was 14th in the NFL for fewest drives that resulted in a three-and-out.
Kansas City was a top-10 team in the NFL with an average of just 12.8 third downs per game in 2015. The analysis is far from concrete, but third-and-long situations might be the culprit. According to Pro Football Focus, Alex Smith has a success rate of just 20% on third down (with a distance of six yards or more). That works out to a ranking right around the low 20’s league-wide.
Next: In conclusion...