The Chiefs must improve these 3 things after Lions win
The Run Defense Stinks
Is the Chiefs pass coverage great? No. Is it absolutely awful? No.
Is the Chiefs pass rush great? No. Is it absolutely awful? No.
Is the Chiefs run defense great? No. Is it absolutely awful? Yes, at least through four games it has been.
On Sunday the Chiefs allowed the Lions to rush for 186 yards on 35 carries. That’s not good. However, the Chiefs run defense had been so bad through three games that those numbers actually lowered KC’s yards per carry allowed from 6.2 to 5.9. That’s how bad their run defense has been through four games.
Last season the worst yards allowed per game in the NFL was 154.9 yards per game and the Chiefs are currently allowing 149.8. The worst yards per carry in the NFL last season was 5.1 and as I just stated, the Chiefs are now allowing 5.9. They are on pace to potentially be the worst run defense in all the NFL this season. Period.
Now, I can hear some of you now…. “But Lyle, it doesn’t matter because teams won’t be able to keep up with Patrick Mahomes most weeks running the football.”
The problem is that run defense and pass defense don’t exist in a bubble. One effects the other. To demonstrate my point, let’s look at the best defense in the NFL through four games, the New England Patriots, and compare them to the Chiefs. Through four games these are the defensive rushing allowed numbers by each team.
Kansas City: 102 carries, 599 yards, 5.9 YPC, 149.8 YPG, 4 TDs
New England: 70 carries, 245 yards, 3.5 YPC, 61.3 YPG, 1 TD
The Patriots run defense has been lights out so far this season. What that does is put their opponents in a lot more 2nd and 3rd and long downs than the Chiefs. That makes for a higher degree of difficulty for those passing plays. Now, I’m not saying New England doesn’t have a better coverage defense than Kansas City, they clearly do, but another part of the reason their passing defense efficiency is better than KC’s is because their run defense sets them up for success. Just how much more efficient is New England? Take a look.
Kansas City: 62.8% completions allowed, 11 sacks, 3 interceptions
New England: 52.0% completions allowed, 18 sacks, 10 interceptions
Would fixing the run defense suddenly turn K.C.’s coverage unit and pass rush into the Patriots? No, of course not, but I promise you if they stopped being the worst run defense in the NFL and started forcing their opponents into more 2nd and 3rd and long situations you would see the completion percentage drop some and the sacks and interceptions go up. It’s just common sense.
The past two games against the Chiefs have clearly shown that the opposing team believes they can move the ball against the Chiefs on the ground. The Ravens and Lions combined for 67 rushes for 389 yards over those two games. While K.C. came away with a win in both games, they were both closer than they should have been and the run defense was a big reason why. I believe it is an even bigger issue for the defense to improve than their cornerback play, especially with Morris Claiborne coming off suspension.
So there you have it Chiefs fans, my three areas the Chiefs must improve on if they want to be a serious Super Bowl contender once the playoffs roll around. What do you think? Are you worried about these things like I am or are you just happy they found a way to win the game on a day when they didn’t play their best? Are there other things that you think are a bigger concern? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.