“Take what the defense gives you” is a phrase that must have been circling in Andy Reid’s mind after the loss to the Raiders in week 5. Coming into that game, the Patriots seemingly set out a blueprint on how to stifle the Chiefs passing game. The Raiders did a lot of the same things, like dropping seven or eight men into coverage and daring the Chiefs to run the football, and in the first half of that game, they weren’t doing too bad with it. They went away from it early, but not only that, they changed up their method of attack on the ground. Reid watched the Raiders tape and knew that every team was going to come out and do the same thing to the Chiefs unless they changed things up a bit.
I’ll just come out and say that I am not a proponent of running the ball 46 times in a game, but if you’re going to put up 245 total rushing yards, averaging over five yards a carry, and have your lead back averaging nearly seven yards per carry before the final drive of the game? I think I can find a way to be okay with that. Seriously though, the Chiefs run game was predicated on taking what the defense gave them. They did run against a lot of light boxes, as seen from the tweet above, but that’s exactly what Mahomes is going to do for your run game, especially when teams are dropping seven or eight into coverage and expecting the pass. They needed to show teams that if you’re going to take away everything deep and play coverage, then they will just run the ball down the defense’s throat and profit.
This was the very first offensive play of the game from the Chiefs, and even though Schwartz gets thrown around a little, he and Kelce’s job is to just hold up the back side defenders long enough to let Clyde do his thing. Wylie comes off his combo to the second level linebacker, Kilgore and Remmers execute their combo, and Remmers follows the linebacker and seals him off. Kilgore stays with Ed Oliver and takes him upfield where he wants to go, only to realize he’s too far away from the play. This is where the fun part comes in.
Watch Clyde press the gap to Wylie’s left. This forces Edmonds, number 49, to stay patient and allows Wylie time to get a block on him, and it forces Klein, number 54, to crash that same gap he’s pressing. What I mean by “pressing” is if you watch Clyde keep his head straight at that gap and move toward it and right before he jumps to a different gap he lowers his shoulder pads and head slightly. That manipulates linebackers and in this case, affording the line enough time to get on their blocks so that he could cut into the opposite A gap and run for nine yards on the first play from scrimmage.
This is what he’s capable of when he’s given a little of room to maneuver. His vision and second level manipulation are excellent tools in the NFL, and the Chiefs came in with a mindset to not only run the football, but be the more physical team. After Schwartz left the game, which was after this drive, Nick Allegretti was inserted at left guard and Remmers kicked out to right tackle. The guys up front wanted to prove that they could still run the football and do it in a way no one expected them to.
This is a play that I personally love watching, pulling guards and tight ends makes me smile, and the very first thing I want you to watch is Fisher and Allegretti doubling that defensive tackle five yards behind the line of scrimmage. They took him away from the play, and he had no clue where the ball was going after he found himself out of the double. An excellent job doing exactly what you’re supposed to — and let’s give a little love to Nick Kizer here, he blocked pretty well all game, and here he was asked to handle the defensive end and does everything necessary to get Clyde through the hole. Kilgore down blocks and turns his shoulder perpendicular to the field to wall off any backside ideas and Wylie pulls through the left B gap to displace the linebacker enough to miss the tackle on Clyde. Kelce comes through as well, leading the way initially and gets on a body, causing that defender to trip over himself trying to reroute to the ball carrier.
For all intents and purposes, he wasn’t touched on that run until he went out of bounds, that’s the kind of space that was created for him to maneuver and run in. While his talents are undeniable, when the offensive line can give him that kind of space, he’s always going to find success.
Let’s get one thing straight, the Chiefs offensive line had been unable to provide Clyde with these kinds of lanes when they played the Patriots and Raiders, in large part because they got out-physicaled. The Raiders defensive line put a whooping on them, and they forced the Chiefs to play the way they wanted them to play. This was not that game. The Chiefs took what they saw from the Bills and established their dominance until the last drive of the game on offense, when they were going to put the game away, the Bills finally changed their defensive game plan.
The difference in the linebackers from that play above to the rest of the game was drastic. Oftentimes they were dropping into their zones before the ball was handed off, Mahomes just brings a level of respect that the Chiefs are going to look to take advantage of going forward.
There’s one guy I want to talk about briefly because I have been asking for him to get a chance since we drafted him. Allegretti has been a personal favorite of mine since I watched him at Illinois, and when Osemele got hurt it made sense to me that he should be given an opportunity. Their play styles match closely, outside of Osemele’s brute strength, and he could be a legitimate starter going forward and not just a stop-gap guard like Remmers would be. He was given his chance when Schwartz left the game, and he came prepared.
These are just a few examples of what he brings in the run game as a blocker. The chemistry between Kilgore and Allegretti was quite good, and I love how he attacks the game and plays with a ton of effort. That kind of player can add energy to the offensive line, even if he isn’t the most talented or athletic. That first clip is one of my favorites, as he gives the defensive tackle a good punch, then seals off the linebacker and pushes him out of the gap. His contact strength looks to have improved and I like the fact that he came out and showed the team that he’s a guy they can rely on.
Do I believe he is the starting guard going forward? Unfortunately, I don’t. If Schwartz comes back next week, I believe they will put Remmers back to LG and run the line that way. I personally believe that Remmers provides more as the sixth man than he does as a starter. Allegretti just put out a very good performance and deserves another look this coming week against the Broncos.
Andy Reid didn’t have his fullback on Monday because he was placed on the COVID list, so he had to get creative. I love Sherman, but give me Kelce lining up in the backfield all day. The looks this team gives you with the pieces they have is truly remarkable, Kelce running routes from the backfield is truly awesome, and he stepped up his blocking in this game a lot, too. He was a lead blocker many times, including the excellent cut block on Klein, who hesitated at the snap because he thought Kelce might be running a route. They can really screw with NFL defenses putting him back there. So what do you think Bell is gonna add to the team? I think I know.
In the passing department, Demarcus Robinson was a reliable target against the Bills, not dropping a pass — although I might have to slap him after the way he was holding the football in the play above. Which brings me to my next point. The Chiefs used more RPOs again this week, in large part due to seeing a ton of two high safeties and off coverage. This allowed them to work the quick passing game more and get nice chunk yard plays as well, but I have one more shout out, and that’s for Byron Pringle.
Just a simple curl route from the receiver, but the route is clean and creates nearly 5 yards of separation ,,and Mahomes throws it with anticipation. The way he finishes the play is what I am all about. He’s not getting a ton of looks from Mahomes, but he consistently makes them count with big plays and the little things like fighting for extra yards in the play above. I think it’s worth noting that Pringle saw a good number of snaps in the second half when the Chiefs had to, or were, throwing. He’s a guy that’s reliable in his routes and hands, and makes the most of his opportunities. I hope to see him used more in Watkins’ role as long as he isn’t on the field.
Finally, we come to the weekly play where Mahomes makes everyone look bad because he’s just that good at football. Now that he’s more than just a thrower of the football, Mahomes can make this segment look just as good with his legs as he can with his arm. He explained it incredibly well in the post-game presser. Then I saw what he said about the play and watched it back at live speed. It makes you appreciate just a bit more just how fast these things happen and how quickly their brains need to process. I guarantee you the defense got absolutely ripped apart after that play because following that third and five that Mahomes magically turned into a fourth and very short, the Chiefs scored a touchdown.
I think It’s fair to say that a large portion of the Chiefs’ running success was due to the light boxes they saw, but is that an indictment on them? Not at all. In fact, it’s a credit to them for adjusting to the defense and then imposing their will. This game proved to the rest of the NFL that if they want to drop back and take away all the big plays that the Chiefs are just fine running the football and executing a short passing game. It took a few games, but that adjustment I was talking about a few weeks ago has made an appearance, just not the way I thought it would. Instead of shoving a square peg into a round hole, the Chiefs just found the round peg and ran with it.
I am looking forward to seeing the looks they get defensively because as we all know the Chiefs are still a “score from anywhere on the field” team, but they just added a running game with Clyde and newly acquired Chief Le’Veon Bell that could prove to be the true reason this offense becomes unstoppable.