Chiefs

Chiefs-Bears scouting report

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) celebrated with running back Jamaal Charles (25) and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) after Charles scored on a 7-yard pass during their Sept. 13 game against the Texans in Houston. The Chiefs won 27-20.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) celebrated with running back Jamaal Charles (25) and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) after Charles scored on a 7-yard pass during their Sept. 13 game against the Texans in Houston. The Chiefs won 27-20. deulitt@kcstar.com

When the Chiefs run

EDGE >> CHIEFS

The Bears have been young up the middle without nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, who said he will play this week after dealing with an ankle injury and serving a three-game suspension. The return of Ratliff (6-4, 303) and the continued improvement of talented rookie second-round pick Eddie Goldman (6-4, 336) will help a unit that has some questions at inside linebacker, where the Bears’ starters are either young (second-year pro Christian Jones) or fairly inexperienced at the position (Shea McClellin). McClellin (6-3, 245) is a former outside linebacker and defensive end who is calling defensive plays for the first time in his four-year career and and leads the team in tackles with 37. That said, Chiefs might be wise to test the interior of the Bears’ defense by giving some early carries to star running back Jamaal Charles, who is as explosive as ever.

Chiefs’ top rusher

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Jamaal Charles

59

306

5.2

4

When the Chiefs pass

EDGE >> CHIEFS

After years as a 4-3 team, the Bears are adjusting to a new 3-4 defense under head coach John Fox. The Bears signed former Baltimore outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (6-3, 275) to lead the transition. He uses his size, power and technique to win at the point and is good vs. the run and pass. He has six quarterback pressures, two sacks and an interception. He will line up on both sides of the formation, but defensive end Jarvis Jenkins (6-4, 315) actually leads the team in sacks with three. He’s got enough power to push the pocket. Safety Antrel Rolle (6-0, 206) is the leader of the secondary; he is tough, experienced and is a Super Bowl champion. He is also doubtful with an ankle injury. If he can’t play, the Bears could start rookie Harold Jones-Quartey next to another rookie safety, Adrian Amos. The Chiefs could exploit that, especially with Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin finding a groove the last two weeks. Speaking of Maclin, he could see plenty of cornerback Tracy Porter (5-11, 190), who shadowed Raiders rookie Amari Cooper and limited him to 49 yards on four catches a week ago. The Chiefs could also have some success throwing to their backs and tight ends, as the Bears’ linebackers occasionally struggled to tackle in space against the Raiders.

Chiefs’ top QB

C

A

Yds.

TD-I

Alex Smith

93

143

1,110

4-3

Chiefs’ top WR

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Jeremy Maclin

28

398

14.2

1

When the Bears run

EDGE >> BEARS

Running back Matt Forte (6-2, 218) is a shifty, tough and versatile workhorse who has earned the Chiefs’ respect. He rushed for over 1,000 yards last year and set the NFL single-season record for most receptions by a running back (102). The Bears are not throwing it to him as much this year but he makes the offense go. The Bears will even use a little Wildcat with him here and there. This is a team that will line up in power sets and run the ball at you — the line provides a little push, too — so the Chiefs’ defensive front will need to match their physicality. Nose tackle Jaye Howard (6-3, 301) is in the midst of a career year; he leads the team with four tackles for loss and also has 23 tackles, the second most on the team. That’s absurd for an interior lineman. The Bears’ starting center, Will Montgomery, is out for the season with an injury, and his replacement, rookie Hroniss Grasu (6-3, 297), is set to make his first career start. Grasu, a third-round pick, was highly thought of coming out of college because of his smarts, toughness and collegiate production, but Howard needs to take advantage of this matchup. It will be interesting to see if the Bears, who seem to prefer two-tight looks, will mimic the Packers and Bengals and try to use three-wide personnel to run on the Chiefs’ nickel subpackage, which has been leaky against the run.

Bears’ top rusher

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Matt Forte

84

367

4.4

1

When the Bears pass

EDGE >> CHIEFS

Jay Cutler (6-3, 220) was back last week after missing the Bears’ week three game against Seattle with a hamstring injury. He led the Bears to their first touchdown in seven quarters last week and threw for nearly 300 yards. Cutler has outstanding arm talent but his accuracy wavers at times and he has a reputation for turning the ball over under pressure. He also throws with a low trajectory, which leads to tipped passes at the line of scrimmage. Tight end Martellus Bennett (6-6, 273) is a big, athletic target who is in the midst of a career season. He is Cutler’s security blanket, along with Forte. Alshon Jeffery (6-3, 216) and Eddie Royal (5-10, 185) are good receivers, but they’ve been injured recently. Royal, a former San Diego Charger, has hurt the Chiefs with his quickness in the past. Third-year pro Marquess Wilson (6-4, 199) is a big receiver who has also emerged as a bit of a revelation. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod (concussion) cannot play, so Tamba Hali needs to go at his replacement, Charles Leno, Jr. (6-3, 302). The Bears surrendered some pressure off the edge against the Raiders, so the Chiefs need to try to duplicate that.

Bears’ top QB

C

A

Yds.

TD-I

Jay Cutler

54

88

626

4-3

Bears’ top WR

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Martellus Bennett

24

201

8.4

2

Special teams

EDGE >> CHIEFS

Kicker Robbie Gould had an extra point blocked last week, but is a perfect 9-for-9 on field goals. He also made the game-winner against the Raiders. The Chiefs’ Cairo Santos is perfect on extra points and 10-for-11 on the field goals, but he gets the slight edge this week because he boasts a superior touchback percentage. Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt has the edge over Pat O’Donnell on punts inside the 20, and the Chiefs’ coverage units have a big edge, as kick returner Knile Davis and punt return De’Anthony Thomas should have room to work. The Bears have surrendered two kick returns for touchdowns.

Coaching

EDGE >> BEARS

Bears coach John Fox is 5-4 all-time against Chiefs coach Andy Reid. Reid has the edge in career winning percentage (.583 to .566), but Fox has the edge in Super Bowl appearances (two to Reid’s one). Offensive coordinator Adam Gase guided a prolific offense under Fox in Denver from 2013 to 2014, while defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is one of the best in the business — his defenses in San Francisco from 2011 to 2014 were tough, physical, well-coached and aggressive. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ 1-3 start has rightfully opened the playcalling on both sides of the ball to criticism.

X-factor

EDGE >> CHIEFS

While the Bears recently dealt Jared Allen and Jon Bostic, two solid contributors, to accelerate their rebuild, the Chiefs’ season hangs in the balance here. Whatever playoff hopes they harbored before the season could go up in smoke with their fourth straight loss. The Royals play Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday, but that game doesn’t start until 3 p.m. central, and the Chiefs game should be over by then. Nevertheless, it will be particularly interesting to see what kind of crowd this game attracts.

Bottom line: Chiefs 30-16

The Chiefs’ last three opponents are a combined 12-0, so there’s a pretty good chance the Chiefs aren’t as bad as their record. And while it must be considered a disappointment that they did not compete better against the league’s best, though doesn’t mean the season is already a wash. The Bears are coming off their first win of the season, but expect the Chiefs to get back on the right track here and set up a big road test against a frisky Minnesota team next week.

Terez A. Paylor: 816-234-4489, @TerezPaylor. Download the new Red Zone Extra app for iOS and Android devices.

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