We break down the exhilarating game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers by the numbers.
Many analysts and pundits were expecting this weekend’s game between the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs was going to be a flashy offensive showcase for two of the most talented offenses in the league. However, no one could have predicted how great this game was overall.
These were two offenses that refused to be stopped. Christian McCaffrey had over 150 yards from scrimmage. Patrick Mahomes threw for almost 400 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. The Panthers refused to concede a close game, and it came down to a 67-yard field goal kicked into some of the nastiest and unpredictable wind either team has seen this year.
We wanted to look further into the exciting match up between the Chiefs and Panthers and see what we could learn from the stat sheet.
21:59 Minutes of possession
The Chiefs were absolutely thumped in the time of possession battle, holding control for only 21:59 to the Panthers’ 38:01.
This largely had to do with Christian McCaffrey’s dominance on the ground and the great underneath routes of the Panthers’ receivers and running backs. The Panthers ran 76 plays on offense compared to the Chiefs’ 58, despite the fact that both teams ran the same number number of drives.
This is largely thanks to the Panthers ability to extend drives on fourth down, which they attempted (and converted) three times. Their third down conversions were not nearly as automatic, going 7 of 16 on third down conversions, but it was those extra three fourth down conversions (and a few first downs rewarded via a Chiefs penalty) that allowed the Panthers’ offense to spend nearly 40 minutes on the Arrowhead turf.
6 plays for 20+ yards
The Chiefs offense is starting to get faster, more efficient, and overall more overwhelming during the part of the season that typically sees offenses slow down. With only one or two decent defenses left on the schedule (Miami and Tampa Bay) the defense is looking prepared to soar in the second half of the season.
Now, if only the defense can get on the same level.
435 yards allowed
The Chiefs’ defense allowed the Panthers to rack up 435 yards of offense, with an average of 5.7 yards per play. This came with 50 pass attempts, 24 rushing attempts, 30 first downs, and, of course, 31 points.
The Chiefs defense was dominated by Christian Mccaffrey and the gang, thanks to Carolina’s short passing game. Both Mccaffrey and Curtis Samuel caught every ball thrown at them, which allowed them to use their speed and strength to push themselves forward. It was not until the fourth quarter’s game-saving drives that Carolina even attempted a pass farther than ten yards down the field, which further highlights how well the underneath routes were working for the Panthers.
Also, after having secured at least one turnover in every game this season, this was the Chiefs first game without forcing a turnover.
10 receptions, 159 yards
We have talked about Travis Kelce almost every week of this series, so it should come as no surprise that he makes it on the list again this week.
With 15.9 yards per catch (second best on the team), including a long catch of 44 yards, his highest yard total of the year, and an 83% catch percentage, Kelce absolutely decimated the Panthers’ secondary with better route running and after catch movement then most receivers currently playing the game. Even if you get his average without his longest catch (a great practice that helps really get a feel for how a player performed), he still averages 12.7 yards per catch, which is still second best average on the team.
Travis Kelce was already having himself a year, but now he has 769 yards and 6 touchdowns, which puts him on pace for 1,367 yards and just under 11 touchdowns (for perspective, his personal record for total receiving yards in a single season is 1,336 yards in the 2018 season).
9 receptions, 113 yards, 2 touchdowns
Do you want to know why the Chiefs offense has been unbelievably good the last few weeks? Look no further then the current level at which Tyreek Hill is playing.
Hill is burning any defender covering him and exposing defenses almost every drive. His speed is unbelievable, his releases are nasty, and his catch radius continues to surprise everyone, including his teammates.
Defenses are having to put more and more defenders on Hill almost every week it feels, and that leaves players like Kelce and Mecole Hardman with yards and yards of seperation.
He does have fewer yards receiving then Travis Kelce, but he entered with more receiving touchdown. After this week’s performance, now has 9 touchdowns in 9 games. He is already 3 touchdowns away from his career high 12 TD receptions in 2018, but if he keeps up his current pace, he will end the season with 16 touchdowns through the air.
2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QB Hits
Judging solely by the stat sheet, Frank Clark has been pretty quiet this season. With only 3 sacks, 18 tackles, 7 QB hits, and a fumble recovery, Clark has not been nearly as dominant as he was last season. Of course, Clark has been dominant in other ways by putting pressure on quarterbacks and demanding quite a bit of attention from opposing offensive lines.
That being said, Clark made his presence felt in this week’s game. He got the first sack of the game on Teddy Bridgewater, and that apparently got him going, blowing up and ending the next two plays with defensive pressure to give the ball back to an offense that was rolling. Clark got going late in the 2019 season as well, right after the bye week, so expect him to build on this performance in the coming weeks and start to dominate.