Here are some halftime observations from the Chiefs’ Monday night showdown against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
1. Brilliant schematic choice by the Packers’ offensive coaches, who kept the Chiefs’ nickel personnel on the field with multiple three-wide sets. This took away one of the Chiefs’ interior linemen, an area of strength, and allowed them to pound the rock up the middle.
2. Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers is also winning the schematic battle against Chiefs coach Andy Reid. The Packers have taken away the packaged plays the Chiefs tried to run in the first half, and have largely smothered the Chiefs’ receivers and forced Alex Smith to make some difficult throws.
3. The Chiefs’ defense has shown some heart in this half, however. Their fourth-down stop at their own 39-yard line in the second quarter was mammoth. It stemmed some of the Packers’ momentum and led to the Chiefs’ only touchdown drive of the half. Another score at that point — the Chiefs trailed 14-0 at the time — would have been back-breaking.
4. Way too many missed tackles and penalties (five) this half. That, and an inability to stop the run, is the biggest reason the Chiefs got behind so early. The funny thing is, the Chiefs had done a pretty good job wrapping up in their first two games. They need to find that form again. As for the penalties, the Chiefs have been whistled twice in one half for having too many men on the field. That’s embarrassing.
5. The knee injury to Phillip Gaines — he will not return to the game — is tough news. Gaines was starting to emerge as a really good player, and he — along with Marcus Peters — was starting to look like a solid corner duo for years to come. Sean Smith will return soon, though, and he will be needed.