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Tribal Warfare
12-02-2010, 02:10 AM
Chiefs offense passes the grade after improvements (http://www.kansascity.com/2010/12/01/2491740/chiefs-offense-passes-the-grade.html)
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

Nobody really saw this coming. They played a series of defensive battles to open their season — in the rain against San Diego and on the road in Cleveland and Indianapolis — and it looked like scoring points would be a struggle for the Chiefs this season.

Suddenly, after putting up 102 of them over their last three games, the Chiefs are one of the NFL’s highest scoring teams. They’re scoring 26 points per game, behind only New England, Philadelphia and San Diego.

“I can’t say early on I could envision where we are at this point,” quarterback Matt Cassel said.

But here they are, helped by a schedule that provided a succession of lousy defensive opponents. The Chiefs play against another one of those teams Sunday when they face 3-8 Denver at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Broncos have allowed more points than any other NFL team.

“We’ve done some things a little better in some areas here of late that have helped us be more efficient in scoring,” Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. “We’ve taken more advantage of our scoring opportunities.

“Usually, it’s tied to some of those fundamental things that I talk about. It probably means we won at the line of scrimmage. It probably means we’re running the ball efficiently. It probably means we’re pretty efficient on first down, which is keeping us out of third and a million.”

In the case of the Chiefs, it means all of that and more. The Chiefs lead the league in rushing by a whopping 26 yards per game over the Jets, who are in second.

But the Chiefs have been able to run the ball from the start this season. Now they’ve added the NFL’s hottest quarterback-receiver passing combination in Cassel and Dwayne Bowe.

The two have combined for 32 receptions, 465 yards and seven touchdowns over the past three games. In that span, Cassel completed more than 60 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of well over 100.

He’s now the fourth-rated passer in the NFL, ahead of such quarterbacks as Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.

“It starts with an identity and it starts with the run game,” Cassel said. “The run game is something that’s been consistent for us throughout the entire year. It starts with the offensive line as well. They’ve done a tremendous job and everything kind of piggybacks off that. The pass game, the play-action, all of that comes off of having a good running game.”

The Chiefs have played with the lead a lot lately, allowing them to use anything and everything in their game plan.

“You can remain balanced,” Cassel said. “Sometimes when you get behind in any game you become one-dimensional because you might have to throw in order to get yourself back in the game.

“As long as you’re able to keep it a manageable game or a close game, you can maintain your balance as an offense. You can run or you can pass.”

The Broncos played one of their better defensive games of the season against the Chiefs last month in Denver. They allowed Cassel to throw for 469 yards and four touchdowns, but the Chiefs did all that damage after falling behind 35-0 in the second quarter.

Because of their big early advantage that day, the Broncos were able to play the game on their terms and won 49-29.

“The one thing we did in that game is get off to a good start offensively and defensively,” Denver coach Josh McDaniels said. “And it kind of forced the game to be more of a one-dimensional game for them on offense.

“I know that was important for us going in because of how effective their running game has been all season. You certainly don’t want to let them get that started because if they do that, basically you’ve got all kinds of problems on defense.

“It was critical that we got off to a good start and it will be the same this week.”

The second half in Denver wasn’t enough to help the Chiefs overcome their big deficit. But it did serve as an ignition point for their passing game.

“We were able to give ourselves a little confidence in the passing game,” Cassel said, “and realize we can throw the ball when we need to.”

Extra Point
12-02-2010, 08:27 AM
“'We were able to give ourselves a little confidence in the passing game,' Cassel said, 'and realize we can throw the ball when we need to.'”

Hopefully, we won't "need to."

Hydrae
12-02-2010, 08:35 AM
I never understand why falling behind early in the game means you have to give up on the run. Especially when you have a back averaging over 6 YPC. If it is in the 4th quarter and you are down by a couple of scores I get it but otherwise, why go away from the game plan you had coming in?