Getting the Offense Back On Track

 1 replies

How do the Chiefs get the offense going against the Bills? Dan takes a crack at finding some ways to do that.

The Chiefs face off against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night (afternoon) Football today; with both teams coming off disappointing losses, they look to get back to their winning ways. The Chiefs offense, while averaging over 30 points a game this season, has had more than a couple of quarters this season where everything looked difficult and Mahomes was either under pressure or putting himself In Harms Way, see what I did there? They haven’t been able to consistently run the football, either due to the offensive line or the play calling going away from what had been working. A common theme here involves the Chiefs offensive line. They are not playing like the line that won the Super Bowl in February, and it’s an open question whether that’s due to this offseason being tougher on offensive lineman than people thought, which is true, or just a bit of regression from how they played near the end of the season. 

The Bills defensive front has been largely a disappointment so far this season, even with investments through the draft and free agency. The Bills have blitzed on 40.6% of defensive plays and are applying pressure on just 17.9% of pass plays. There is so much more information on the Bills defensive front that you can find in THIS article from The entire NFL saw what the Chiefs did to the blitz-happy Ravens on their Monday Night Game in week three, so I expect McDermott and his staff to adjust accordingly. Even though the Bills don’t get much pressure with their front four, the Chiefs’ weakness is the interior of the offensive line. With Mitch Schwartz possibly missing this game, that could spell trouble for the Chiefs offense. 

I do expect Schwartz to tough the game out, but with how it’s been this season so far, that could make things worse. There aren’t many ways to look at the offensive line in a good light, but this a week they have to get better to start to negate the bad focus they’ve created this season. Mahomes and the line need to get on the same page in order to be successful. and against the Raiders it was easy to see that they weren’t. In the first half, the Chiefs were successful with their run game getting outside the tackles and to the edges with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Tyreek Hill, and then they just stopped. This game is a big one for both teams and the Chiefs’ offense has to establish itself early. I watched some of this Bills team on defense, and they are an aggressive bunch, especially with the linebackers. They have speed there, but that aggressiveness can be taken advantage of.

With the success the Chiefs had on the edges against the Raiders, this would have been a natural progression in taking advantage of the success they had. The Rams use the motion to shift the linebackers, and then Henderson steps in the direction of the motioned wide receiver. When you pair that with the movement of the offensive line, a huge cutback lane is created and there is no second-level defender to stop Henderson from getting into the third level of the defense. These counter plays take advantage of an aggressive front seven, and when you can pair that with success from outside plays, you can create big plays in the run game. The Rams took advantage of this multiple times that way.

The run game has been disappointing, outside the first week, so I’m not advocating the Chiefs run the ball a ton, this is a pretty good Bills run defense. I just think they have some ways with Hardman, Hill, and Edwards-Helaire to find success and take a little pressure off Mahomes. When I looked at passing the football against this Bills defense, quarterbacks have found success, except for Sam Darnold. Tannehill would have easily had 300 yards if they needed him to, and every other QB has put up over 300 yards. There is room to be found, but Tre White will likely be active this week against the Chiefs, which will add one of the best corners in the NFL back into the mix for the Bills. With Watkins out for this game I expect to see Hill matched up with him for most of the game, but if he’s still nursing his back injury, that could change things. Having White back may also make McDermott more comfortable blitzing, but don’t count on that.

If the Chiefs do catch them in a blitz, we know how good Mahomes is against that, and the middle of the field is a go-to spot that could result in big plays every time. With the pressure rate the Bills just aren’t getting to QBs when they blitz, so they are susceptible to big plays, and Ryan Tannehill picked them apart when they did so.

I know this seems a little counterproductive, but I’d like the Chiefs to work a little more from under center this week. The biggest reason being that the defense is slightly more willing to believe a play-action fake is a run then, which generally gives the quarterback more time to sit in the pocket, and it usually comes with a bit more protection, as well. The Chiefs had a play last week that had both Kelce open and Watkins open (for a touchdown) that came out of a play-action fake with Anthony Sherman in at fullback to help block. The Titans and Rams were able to use play-action very effectively against the Bills.

Tannehill as really taken off this year, his second with the Titans, and whether you really believe it or not, Derrick Henry adds value to play-action plays. We saw it last year and are seeing it again this year. Yes, it is still effective without a Henry, but he is probably the best pure running back in the NFL right now and is adding value to his quarterback. Jonnu Smith is just running a simple dig route against off man coverage and the middle of the field is vacated by a safety due to motion. Then the linebackers from the play-action fake. It’s simple, but it’s a 17-yard chunk gain and is a quick pass from Tannehill, stress-free. 

The play-action and quick passing game are going to be important for the Chiefs in this game and going forward, especially if they see the same type of coverage they’ve seen in the last two weeks. The ability to rush four or three rushers and still get pressure can’t continue to happen for this team to be successful late in the season and into the playoffs. They have to adapt and put Mahomes in more advantageous situations to succeed. I think the Chiefs will still win this game and get the team back on track. You can bet they are pissed off after Sunday and are going to be out to show the NFL that they are the best team when firing on all cylinders. I want to hear all of your predictions on the outcome of this game, so comment your thoughts and scores! Ryan Tracy and I did a live preview show yesterday that you can watch below, if you’re interested!

4.2 5 votes
Article Rating

About Author

Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10/19/2020 12:12 pm

I think the Chiefs need to just get Allegretti out there and let him work all the early mistakes out of his system.

Allegretti strikes me as the type who’ll make a lot of nervous mistakes early on (not too hard to make that guess since he’s already made a lot of mistakes early on), but once he gets settled in then he’ll be nails.

I just don’t think the coaches are helping anybody by being too careful with him. And this Oline obviously needs help.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x