What happened to the run game?
The run game was so effective in the first part of the season mostly due to the offense being able to take advantage of defenses trying to focus primarily on the run. When teams would stack the box and play the run first, the offense was able to attack deep and make them pay. The offenses struggle to push the ball into the intermediate and deep routes has crippled the run game.
If you watch the defenses, especially in the game against the Buffalo Bills, you will see them bringing extra defenders down into the box. You will also see the safeties come down immediately after the snap. You can see some of that in that missed Kelce play above as the safety drops down immediately.
Defenses have no respect for the passing game anymore and I can’t blame them. With Smith struggling to beat defenses that flood the short routes of the field, the defense has a smaller field to cover. They are immediately attacking the run and short routes knowing that we are going to run the ball or throw to a short route below.
The offensive line hasn’t been able to provide much run blocking either. The line has been pretty average when it comes to pass blocking but in run blocking they have really struggled. I don’t believe rookie running back Kareem Hunt has hit a wall, other than a wall of defenders, as you can look at his broken tackles each week or yards after contact and see that he is still fighting to get yards.
When you bring in the mixture of the offense not attacking downfield allowing the defense to stack the box with more bodies to play against the run and the offensive line not providing good blocks for the run game, it’s pretty hard for Hunt to have much success. Not to mention the limited amount of opportunities for Hunt to run the ball since the Chiefs offense continues to go away from the run.