Here is the offensive snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 19-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, along with some personal observations and advanced stats from Pro Football Focus. Snaps for the entire season are also listed.
KEY: “*” denotes starter. “R” denotes rookie. “C” denotes game captain. “INJ” denotes injury. “N/A” denotes the player was not a Chief at the time. “PS” denotes practice squad. “INA” denotes inactive.
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Analysis: Alex Smith completed 15 of 28 passes for 163 yards and an interception in his sixth start since he sat out the Jacksonville game due to injury. His 56.1 passer rating Sunday was a season-low, but Smith was actually better when blitzed, as he completed 8 of 14 passes for 92 yards and a 77.1 quarterback rating, according to PFF.
When he was not blitzed, however, he completed 7 of 14 passes for 71 yards, an interception, a sack and a 35.1 quarterback rating. This is interesting, considering several Chiefs have repeatedly mentioned defenses’ increased insistence on dropping several players into coverage and forcing Smith to beat them with his arm.
I also find it interesting that despite that stat, Smith still has held 67.8 percent of his passes for 2.5 seconds or less, the second-highest rate among qualifying quarterbacks (behind the New York Jets’ Ryan Fitzpatrick).
One good thing is that he scrambled for a 10-yard touchdown, a sign that he might be starting to use his legs to hurt defenses again.
Analysis: West saw a little more work than normal this week, perhaps due to the Titans’ third-ranked run defense. The Chiefs like to get Charcandrick West involved as a third-down, change-of-pace back, but he only finished with 5 yards in four carries and wasn’t targeted in the passing game. Spencer Ware had a decent day, rushing 18 times for 70 yards and catching three passes for 25 yards. According to PFF, 40 of his rushing yards (they had him down for 69 total) came after contact, as he forced three missed tackles on runs and two on receptions. His five total were the fifth-most by a running back this week.
Yet, it was receiver Tyreek Hill captured fans’ attention with his remarkable 68-yard touchdown run in the first quarter in which he rocketed up the seam and wasn’t touched. Hill lined up as a running back and took the handoff on the play, and with one burst, showed why coach Andy Reid has felt so comfortable going with only two active backs (Ware and West) the last three weeks.
It’s hard to see Hill being able to hold up there full-time — he is a very-muscular 185 pounds but running backs take a ton of pounding. However, he said after the game that he’s very comfortable as a pass blocker, even though he doesn’t practice it much these days, and he spent a lot of time at running back in 2014 with Oklahoma State. It wouldn’t hurt to see a little more of Ty Hill in the backfield.
Analysis: Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley and Hill assumed the lion’s share of the workload while Wilson — the Chiefs’ second-leading wide receiver last year — logged a season-low in snaps and was actually outsnapped by Thomas, who played combined 15 snaps the previous four games.
Maclin was the Chiefs’ most productive receiver, catching six passes for 82 yards. His 2.83 yards-per-route-run was the eighth-highest among qualifying receivers this week, according to PFF.
Hill, who leads the Chiefs in touchdowns with 10, was targeted three times but did not catch a pass. The fact he finished with one offensive touch all game was negligent, and coach Andy Reid admitted Monday that he could have done a better job getting him the football.
Analysis: Demetrius Harris logged his fewest snaps in a month, presumably due to an ankle sprain he suffered during the game. In general, the Chiefs used their three-wide sets a little more than normal, though Anthony Sherman logged a respectable 13 snaps.
Travis Kelce saw his four-game streak of 100-plus receiving yards snapped with a three-catch, 41-yard performance. He said afterward that he felt the offensive play calling was a little conservative, though he added that’s not what lost them the game. Reid said Kelce apologized for the remark.
Analysis: This marks the seventh straight game this offensive line has played together. They allowed only one quarterback pressure (according to PFF) on 31 passing plays, and their 97.6 pass-block efficiency was the best in the NFL this week.
Yet, the Chiefs couldn’t get the tough yards up front when they needed to on Sunday, as they came up short on two cracks from the Titans’ 1 and were also stuffed on a third-and-2 option keeper late in the fourth quarter. Two of the Titans’ interior linemen, Al Woods and Austin Johnson, teamed up for four run stops on only 29 run snaps (per PFF). That’s on the o-line.
When quizzed about the running game Monday, Reid mentioned the need for improved attention to detail from coaches and players alike. There will come a point in the playoffs where this group will need to get a tough yard or two. They did it against the Raiders on Dec. 8, though, so it’s certainly a possibility.
Jah Reid earned eight snaps as a sixth lineman, which was a season-high for the Chiefs out of that formation/personnel group.