How the Chiefs can Deflate the Colts (foot)Balls

 46 replies

Now that the divisional round is set, the Chiefs have a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. A matchup not to be taken lightly as the Colts have one of the most balanced offensive games in the AFC. With Andrew Luck fully healthy for the first time in what seems like ages, the Colts are dangerous once again, and they are doing so thanks to their offensive line.

Prior to being injured, Luck was under fire from just about every defensive front in the NFL. They couldn’t protect Luck to save their lives, and yet they beat the Chiefs in the 2013 playoffs in dramatic fashion. Yes, I know I’m dredging up the past but as a fan of this 2018 Chiefs team I am no longer afraid to talk about it. Losing that game was painful, and now it can be put to bed with a win on Saturday.

Getting back to the reason the Colts have found success in the last ten to eleven games, the OL play of the Colts has been spectacular this season and that has allowed them to be balanced on offense. They don’t mind if you know the run is coming, the Colts will bring in multiple blocking TEs and challenge the defense to stop them. The OL of the Colts is mean, nasty, and tough. But I am here to tell you that they can be beaten. The Colts lost their second game to the Jaguars this season 6-0. The Jags found success limiting the run game of the Colts, forcing them to become one dimensional.

The Colts absolutely love to pull offensive lineman on all types of plays, not just run plays. Typically when an OL pulls, they are going to a specific defender. He is left unblocked on purpose, letting him get up field too far, makes the block easy but here’s what you have to do.  

Mark Glowinski is the guard pulling on this play. The Colts leave the left defensive tackle unblocked in order to get to the second level and establish a running lane. If the pull block is executed well, then the RB should have quite a bit of room in front of him. Here, the Jags DT gets down the line and attacks the pulling guard, shutting down the hole and forcing the RB to improvise. Since the backside edge rusher is unblocked as well this makes it easy for him to come down the line and get the tackle for loss. Recognizing the pulling guards for the Colts is a huge part of defending the run game.

The Chiefs have speed on the DL, and in order for them to defend the run they will need to get penetration and maintain gap discipline with the ILBs. That has been a real issue this season, and if Ragland and Hitchens don’t figure it out, the Colts play action game will torch this defense. Making the Colts predictable is the key to slowing them down.

Continuing with the Colts OL, they have transformed themselves into a model of consistency. Only allowing 18 sacks all season; keeping Luck in the pocket and upright is the key for this offense. Luck is a phenomenal QB when healthy and he can take them as far as the OL allows.

The Texans were looking to create pressure on third and long. They overload the left side of the Colts OL and run a stunt with Clowney and Covington. The problem they run into is that the Texans have no rushers in the right side A or B gap. This makes the OL’s job easier. The Colts can now rotate to the overloaded side and pick up the blitz. Allowing Luck to complete the pass on third down for a first down.

The Colts OL is very good but there’s one way to even the tide, creating one on one matchups up front. Quinten Nelson, All-Pro left guard for the Colts, has had an amazing season and is great against a bull rush. Something I’ve noticed is that Nelson is susceptible to speed rushes when he has no help. I’m not saying he’s bad by any means, but if you’re going to get by him,  creating one on ones with someone like Chris Jones could be the best bet. The Chiefs will have to blitz more than they have all season to create consistent pressure and force Luck into some mistakes.

The Colts have not been challenged by a truly great pass rush this season. With the Chiefs finishing the season with 52 sacks, tied for the league lead, I’d say the Chiefs have an elite pass rush. The speed they possess on the edge will allow them to exploit the tackles of the Colts.

Does this play look familiar? Well it should, the Chiefs did it twice in their last game of the season against the Raiders. Ngakoue is a speed rush guy, and he’s lined up on Anthony Castonzo’s outside shoulder. He doesn’t give any ground up to Ngakoue but that’s not what the rusher is trying to accomplish. He allows Castonzo to believe he’s just taking Ngakoue for a ride, but he’s taking him to Luck’s throwing arm. All it takes is a fast seat and Ngakoue records the strip-sack creating the turnover.

Forcing the Colts into turnovers may very well be the key in this matchup. The defense for the Chiefs gives up points and yards in bunches but they do one thing well, rush the passer and force fumbles. The Chiefs led the league in forced fumbles with 25 total. Ford had seven and Houston had five. These two edge rushers are going to have to have big games in order to change the atmosphere of the game and giving the ball back the Chiefs offense is one of the best ways to do that.

Outside of the trenches there is one option that the Chiefs need to hone in on. TY Hilton. Hilton’s speed and improved pass catching ability have already proven to be a problem for the Chiefs once before. They cannot allow him to have the game breaking impact yet he has shown throughout his career, and this is the idea they are going to have to go with.

The Jags are in a cover-3 shell with a single high safety, essentially playing man coverage on the outside with help over top. The deep safety is shaded to his left, toward Hilton. The Jags are content with leaving the other Colts receiver one on one and “bracketing” Hilton to prevent him from getting free over top of the defense. They prevented the deep throws but you can’t stop Hilton from getting his. But he only had a long reception of 16 yards in that game. Forcing him into taking underneath catches is crucial.

The Chiefs will have to bracket Hilton in almost every play, unless they are going to let Ward play press man coverage and have a deep safety for help. I wholeheartedly believe that if the Chiefs contain Hilton and dare the other Colts receivers to create YAC then they will be successful. Hilton is the most dangerous receiver the Colts possess and taking him away, in some fashion, is the key to slowing down the passing game of the Colts.

The Chiefs defense have a daunting task in front of them, especially considering how poorly they played this season. But there is some hope. They closed out the season with a dominant defensive performance against the lowly Raiders at home. Yes it was the Raiders but outside of the Texans who have the Colts dominated? The Colts boast as the hottest team in the NFL coming into the playoffs but they have had one of the weakest strength of schedules in the NFL. Now I’m not saying that the Colts are bad, but I do think their schedule has over inflated the capabilities they possess.

The Chiefs have to do three things against the Colts to be successful. They have to create pressure on Andrew Luck and convert those chances, stay gap disciplined in the run game, and shut down Hilton. If they can do a decent job at all of these things, they have a great chance to be successful on Saturday.

But there are two things that should give all Chiefs fan some hope. Patrick Mahomes and the fact that the Chiefs season has been reset. Anything can happen and the Chiefs have a chance to shut a lot of people up. This opportunity should fire all of you up, I’m fired up to watch this team this weekend. Not many people are outspoken in saying the Chiefs will win and that should fire you up too. All that the Chiefs have played for is sitting in front of them, all they have to do is take it. All this being said I’ll leave you with this, why not us?

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Tyrone
01/08/2019 6:23 pm

Colts were 8th in the league for most giveaways this season – 24 (and had 1 in the wild card game). I think if we can get their offense to give us the ball twice we should be pretty comfortable.

As has been mentioned, those 24 giveaways came with them mostly playing mediocre to bad pass rushes.

Tarkus
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 6:18 pm

comment image

Tyrone
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 6:20 pm

I didn’t want to drag it into the gutter. That’s where my mind usually goes.

Anthony Stratton
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 6:53 pm

It was the colts who narc’d on the Pats for the deflated balls, no?

Anthony Stratton
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 7:00 pm

I assumed that was one of the layers.

Tyrone
01/08/2019 6:07 pm

Typically when an OL pulls, they are going to a specific defender. He is left unblocked on purpose, letting him get up field too far, makes the block easy but here’s what you have to do.

In the first gif, which defender was the pulling G going to? Was it the DT who he engaged?

Tyrone
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 6:17 pm

Yeah I saw that, I just mean, was that the defender he was “aiming for”? Would he have not been expecting him come down the line like that?

Tyrone
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 10:29 pm

Thanks, that’s what I was unsure about.

CHIEFSandSABRES
CHIEFSandSABRES
01/08/2019 4:47 pm

Nice write up. Glad to be here, finally found this place.

Anthony Stratton
Reply to  CHIEFSandSABRES
01/08/2019 5:11 pm

Glad to have you!!!

Berserker
Berserker
01/08/2019 4:29 pm

So, the Jags have a fast, somewhat undersized defense. Kinda like the Chargers used against the Ravens’ run-heavy offense. Hmm.

You covered a lot, but I’ve got a couple more worries besides what you talked about – Ebron, and their pass catching RB Hines.

I really wish DoD wasn’t limping. But even so, I think Ragland should sit this one out. And Hitchens should have his responsibilities….. simplified, if not reduced. I want to see DBs covering Ebron and Hines.

Tyrone
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 5:55 pm

I see, basically, 4 ifs in there

  • Ebron drops passes
  • Control the run game
  • Corners and safeties do their jobs
  • Hitchens finally plays well again
Anthony Stratton
Admin
01/08/2019 4:10 pm

Also, is their OL more suspect to inside or outside pressure?

GermanChief
GermanChief
Reply to  Anthony Stratton
01/08/2019 4:52 pm

Speed on the outside seems to get them at times

Anthony Stratton
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 5:12 pm

Asked another way, who has a better day, Jones or Ford/Houston?

Anthony Stratton
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 5:19 pm

Gotcha, thanks!

Anthony Stratton
Admin
01/08/2019 4:04 pm

Good stuff as always Dan. If the defense can play semi decent at home we win this game. Their defense can only hope to slow us down at best. Really comes down to our defense.

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  Anthony Stratton
01/08/2019 4:31 pm

Have to win on 1st and 2nd down, to set up the pass rush on 3rd and long.

ArrowSpread
ArrowSpread
Reply to  Berserker
01/08/2019 4:41 pm

Hell just win on first down, and pin ears back all else

GermanChief
GermanChief
01/08/2019 2:17 pm

Great work. I like the point you made about the Chiefs passrush. Berry practiced today, so I’m less worried about Ebron. Overall I’m still nervous. Houston was a one dimensional team (leaning on the D). We are a one dimensional team (leaning on the O). The Colts are good in both areas. But as said, I like your point that the Chiefs D might be ready for the task.

Macksdaddy
Macksdaddy
01/08/2019 2:08 pm

Love the article & I believe this to be correct.. We are excellent at getting pressure but the other things ugh…. But it may be the homer in me (probly is) I just think we come out with something to prove & shut the Colts down. I think our offense matches up well against them, if we can get out to 14-0 lead I think we pin our ears back & pressure Luck eventually getting a few turnovers out of that. Getting up big early can limit that running game aswell.

MidKan Chiefs Lifer
MidKan Chiefs Lifer
01/08/2019 2:02 pm

I feel like Ebron and checking down to the rbs will be what keeps the colts moving consistently. But I do think they will be playing catchup and never get it done. I think KC will look like early in the season get a couple stops to start the game the offense gets out to a 2 score lead and then it will be a shootout hovering on a one to two score lead until the end. GO chiefs.
https://giphy.com/gifs/nfl-football-kansas-city-chiefs-xT9IgysHKiQLxMMZc4

Tony Sommer
Reply to  MidKan Chiefs Lifer
01/08/2019 2:08 pm

That’s my feel for the game too. Luck is a glorified game manager, if we can take away the run and short passing game (a big if) we should be in good shape. Unless our pass rush absolutely dominates the Colts are going to score points, but if we can hold them under 30 we should be fine.

Tony Sommer
01/08/2019 2:01 pm

Sorry to hijack your article Dan, but something people might care about.

Anthony Stratton
Reply to  Daniel Harms
01/08/2019 4:01 pm

Back off the ledge buddy…

Anthony Stratton
Reply to  Tony Sommer
01/08/2019 4:02 pm

If only there were an article on the front page for this ?

gonzangkc11
gonzangkc11
01/08/2019 2:00 pm

Time to break that 142.2 db record @ arrowhead
This Saturday 1/12 and 1/20

For the chiefs season tix holders selling tix 2 colts fans. I hope the nfl/chiefs revoke your season tix. Think it’s not possible….Google Broncos season tix holder since the 1960 – season tix went. Bye bye for life.

Do the right thing goto the game or sell to a chiefs fan @ face value or a tad more.

Macksdaddy
Macksdaddy
Reply to  gonzangkc11
01/08/2019 3:29 pm

Yeah I don’t understand season ticket holders selling there tickets to colts fans really is annoying we gotta get loud & proud on Saturday

Anthony Stratton
Reply to  Macksdaddy
01/08/2019 5:14 pm

A lot of them buy season tix, sell off the best 4 games or so and basically go to the rest of the games for free.

Tarkus
Reply to  Anthony Stratton
01/08/2019 5:16 pm

Those damn capitalists!

Berserker
Berserker
Reply to  Tarkus
01/08/2019 5:31 pm

You misspelled Kansans.

sportingchiefs
Reply to  Anthony Stratton
01/09/2019 4:54 am

Sometimes I think it would be cool if the NFL would adopt what they do with soccer here in Europe by having a specific “visiting fans” section. But….that means you’ve gotta give up a specific section of the stadium which I’m sure some people would be opposed to since they may have had seats in that section for a while.

Chiefsfan115
Chiefsfan115
Reply to  gonzangkc11
01/08/2019 5:42 pm

If you sell your playoff tickets to the Infidels, you’re not a fan.

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