Chiefs' potent offense leaving opponents 'drained'
The Kansas City Chiefs are no longer undefeated, but at 6-1, they still lead the pack in the AFC and continue to tear through defenses, wearing them out so much, apparently, that it affects their opponents following games.
In a comprehensive article posted Thursday, The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones noted that four of Kansas City’s first six opponents surrendered more than their average yardage the week after playing the Chiefs, "several of them dramatically so," Jones added.
This was the case with last year’s top three AFC seeds: Patriots (453 yards allowed the week after playing K.C., 389.9 avg. yards allowed), Steelers (455, 380.2), Jaguars (378, 301).
What the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs offense is wreaking is not so different in 2018 than what the Seattle Seahawks’ defense was doing to opponents in 2013, their Super Bowl season. Through seven weeks in 2013, Seattle’s opponents were 0-6 and were outscored 172-62 the week after playing the Seahawks. The theory then was that the Legion of Boom was leaving opponents with a "hangover," as NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling described it.
So is Kansas City’s ability through seven games to wear clubs down and adversely affect their play in ensuing weeks a statistical anomaly or a real trend that portends a Super Bowl title, like that of Seattle’s?
According to testimony from Chiefs opponents, Jones learned, the latter.
"In that game, that was the worst I’ve ever felt," Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris told Jones this week. "Just physically, I was drained. I had no burst, I was just done." Harris noted that his Fitbit told him he ran 15 miles on the day Denver played the Chiefs, four more than usual.
The Broncos surrendered 446 yards and a 10-point lead to the Chiefs in that game, a 27-23 loss on Monday night. For their rematch this week, Harris told Jones he hopes he’s better prepared for K.C. this time around.
Harris added: "I don’t want to play like how I played in that fourth quarter last game. I was just hanging by a thread, just out there running. I want to be peaking, coming at my best in the fourth quarter this game."
It’s not just the collective team speed that Kansas City boasts on offense — Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Sammy Watkins — that has defenses bothered. It’s the Chiefs’ variety of play-calling, pre-snap motions and roster depth, too, as Jones learned from Harris’ coach Vance Joseph.
"This team is in two-tight ends, they’re in two-backs, they’re in three-wides, they’re in no-backs, they’re in four-wides with one back — that’s challenging to obviously match every group they have. As far as the players, everything’s vertical and it’s deep-over," Joseph said. "For the corners, it’s a marathon of a game. They have to be mentally ready to be challenged vertically every play. If you’re not, they can score 50 points on you. Our guys get it."
To get the full picture of Kansas City’s effect on opposing defenses, check out Jones’ article on The Athletic.
To see if this trend continues, tune in Sunday to see if, following their 45-10 loss at Arrowhead, the Cincinnati Bengals allow over their average of 429.4 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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