Like every week after a Chiefs game, through the (expensive) miracle that is NFL Rewind, I bring to you some looks that come through only after watching a few more times.
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star
- Alex Smith is a better athlete than you might think. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, and it wasnt ALL because of his smarts and a relatively weak class^.
^ Nobody knew Aaron Rodgers would turn into Aaron Rodgers.
This comes through most often with what football people sometimes call "functional mobility," which basically means that he can escape pressure, move out of the pocket and extend a play when necessary. It also means that he can pick up yards on the ground, but you should know that people inside the organization understand this isnt something they can overuse.
- I may be too scarred from the last few years to remember the good times with Todd Haley and Charlie Weis^, but one thing that sticks out from Andy Reid so far is the most creative playcalling the Chiefs have had since Dick Vermeil and Al Saunders.
^ OK, the good season.
Im thinking in particular about Reids use of Jamaal Charles. The best example of this mayve come on the Chiefs first drive, when they got close to the goal line and split Charles to the left for a quick slant. It was similar to the play they ran in Jacksonville, just the other side of the field, and it wouldve been a touchdown but Smiths throw came in low. They scored the touchdown on a route I dont think Charles has ever run in the NFL, when he lined up in the backfield, behind the left tackle, and sort of ran through the line of scrimmage to the right side uncovered.
- I really have been impressed with Smith, and after each of the first two games, Ive been more impressed with him after the rewatch than I was seeing it live. The pass referenced above aside, Smith is making so many subtle plays, like hitting a guy in stride so he can pick up an extra five yards. He does lack zip on deep balls BJ Kissel does a nice breakdown of Smiths deep passing here but were not talking about Chad Pennington.
- Against the Cowboys, one of those subtle advantages Smith gave the Chiefs was that functional mobility. Especially early, the offensive line was having a devil of a time protecting, and Smith consistently made everything of it that he could.
- Bob Sutton made a calculated gamble about letting Dez Bryant eat against Brandon Flowers in an effort to stop everything else the Cowboys do well. As Terez points out here, Sutton shifted help Flowers way late in the game, but for the most part, focused on stopping Jason Witten and forcing Tony Romo to throw quicker than hed like (and, in turn, Bryant to run shorter routes than hed like).
- Dontari Poes first sack was absurd, a quick swim move, almost like a point guard breaking his mans ankles on a crossover. Seriously, its amazing. I watched it probably 12 times on my own, and then maybe 10 more with the gif Terez put together here. That man is 340 pounds, guys.
- Theres been so much Poe breakdown my favorite, though its breaking down a game against the Jaguars of the FCS, was Terezs last week so I dont want to do too much here. Just a quick point that Poe isnt just a mindless drone out there, bull-rushing the center and happy to take on double teams. From what I see, hes also very good at reading screen passes and making plays away from what you might usually think is a nose tackles "zone."
- DeMarcus Wares first sack looked like a miscommunication. He just went in unblocked. No telling what the assignments were, but it was from Eric Fishers side.
- Justin Houston was quiet, but I did see at least two times there probably should have been a holding penalty.
- In last weeks rewatch, I pointed out a few specific mistakes that Smith made. In particular, he got lucky on one particular pass that couldve been intercepted. The same thing happened against the Cowboys, at the end of the second quarter, when he threw a quick button hook to Sean McGrath. Dallas linebacker Bruce Carter read the play, jumped the route, and dropped what wouldve been an almost certain pick-6. Its the kind of thing thats easy to forget about afterward, but that wouldve drastically changed the complexion of the game and perhaps the outcome. Its also the kind of thing that might stick out because Smith just isnt making many of these mistakes.
- The Chiefs were very aggressive against the run, which is easier done while not committing so many resources to Dez Bryant. The Chiefs held the Cowboys to 37 yards rushing, which was Dallas lowest total since last October and the lowest total for a Chiefs opponent since November of 2010.
- Dontari Poes second sack looked like a miscommunication on the Dallas offensive line.
- Heres that functional mobility again, when Smith does a good job avoiding pressure after Eric Fisher got trucked. The play that ended with 31 yard pass to Donnie Avery. Again, for more detail, look at Kissels breakdown.
- Man, Jamaal Charles just emasculated Claiborne. Lowered his shoulder and left Claiborne like road kill. Christian Okoye wouldve been proud. Charles is absolutely right: he doesnt get enough credit for his toughness.
- Dwayne Bowes touchdown catch is another good example of Andy Reids creative playcalling. He ran a very patient route, waiting for McGrath to run an out pattern. That tempted Dallas Sean Lee and Justin Durant to follow McGrath toward the sideline, leaving them out of position and the middle of the field open for Bowe.
- Ron Parkers strip-sack-and-recovery came when Sutton sent more guys than Dallas could block. Ive taken a show-me stance on Suttons much talked about "attacking style," but this is encouraging so far.
- I dont know that Bryant wouldve scored, but it was a perfect pass. Kendrick Lewis had an angle, and mightve stopped him, but the Cowboys probably couldve had at least a field goal.
- That said, the Cowboys werent the only ones to make mistakes. Like, a third down in the second half when Bruce Carter when in untouched for a sack that pushed the Chiefs out of field goal range. NFL games are chaos, and nobody is ever perfect. Nearly always, playing the "well if MY team wouldnt have done this ONE thing at that ONE moment we totally wouldve won" ignores that the other team could say the exact same thing. Hussain Abdullah dropped what wouldve been a spectacular interception in the fourth quarter, but nobodys really talking about that as a missed opportunity.
- In the fourth quarter, it looked like Dave Toub wanted to set up a wall down the right sideline to spark a big punt return. It worked the week before in Jacksonville, but this time the Chiefs blockers didnt get over fast enough.
- Dustin Colquitt flexed after the punt that was downed at the one, the one where Cooper got called for illegal touching. Does he do this all the time?
- The Chiefs had a winning drive in the fourth quarter, which Vahe wrote about here. Dallas stacked the line of scrimmage for much of the game, and Charles didnt have the kind of Jamaal F. Charles game weve become accustomed to. But if the Chiefs and the offensive line should get a lot of credit here can continue to get yards on the ground when they need them, thats just as important.