Numbers That Crunched … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

As we flip the numbers over and look at down side of the Chiefs statistics for the 2010 season two things clearly jump out – the Chiefs need to improve their short-yardage offense and the red-zone defense.

When it comes to those sub-offense and defense, they lagged behind in what their production was overall. They led the NFL in rushing, but were terrible on 3rd-and-1. In the red zone, they finished No. 31 overall, giving up a score 97.3 percent of the time when the opponent got inside the 20-yard line.

Here are the areas where their statistics hit rock bottom in the league.


Conversion percentage on 3rd-and-1: The Chiefs offense converted just 42.3 percent of the time on situations where it faced just one yard to move the sticks. They converted 11 of 26 plays where they faced 3rd-and-1. The K.C. offense was six of 14 in the run game and five of 12 in the passing attack. The league average was more than 20 percent better at 65.4 percent.

Comment: Considering their status as the NFL’s top rushing offense, the inability to get one yard on eight of 14 runs at 3rd-and-1 is very hard to understand. Naturally, defenses plug the gaps and crowd the line of scrimmage against running teams, and especially in short yardage situations. But execution should win out more often than 42.9 percent of the time and 42.3 percent overall.


Conversion percentage on 3rd-and-short (4 yards or less): They converted 45.9 percent of their opportunities when it was 3rd-and-4 yards or less. The Chiefs offense converted 28 of 61 times. That was 14 of 28 on running plays and 14 of 33 on passing plays. Only Denver was worse at 42.6 percent. New England was the best offense in the league on 3rd-and-short yardage, converting 76.4 percent of the time. The league average was 57.6 percent

Comment: It’s not hard to believe the offense would have an overall problem on 3rd-and-short when it couldn’t convert on 3rd-and-1. There’s no question that better execution will lead to better conversion rate. The K.C. run game relied so much on the speed of RB Jamaal Charles that the blocking may have been more about maneuvering and finesse than power. Given the physical characteristics of the Chiefs offense line, they are more geared to movement and with the exception of LG Brian Waters, not so much strength.

Opponents 3rd down conversion percentage in the red zone: On the defensive side, the Chiefs had trouble closing out opponents inside the 20-yard line on 3rd downs, allowing conversions 52.2 percent of the time. Only Buffalo was worse at 55.6 percent. Arizona was the best at 20 percent. The league average was 37.7 percent.

Opponents TD percentage in the red zone: Once opponents got inside the 20-yard line against the Chiefs defense, they scored 26 touchdowns, or 70.3 percent of the time. That was nine rushing TDs and 17 passing TDs. Only Philadelphia was worse at 76.7 percent. The best defense in the league was Arizona, giving up a red zone TD just 39 percent of the time.

Opponents yards per play in the red zone: When the Chiefs defense faced opponents inside the K.C. 20-yard line, they gave up 3.6 yards per play. Only Atlanta had a tougher time, giving up 3.84 yards per play. The best defense was Arizona, giving up 2.07 yards. The league average was 2.84 yards.

Comment: These three poor finishes in important red zone defensive stats provides an indication of just what Romeo Crennel is likely working on these days in planning for his defense. Whether it was something about Crennel’s red zone schemes that allowed opponents so much success, or a lack of appropriate personnel to run the defense the cause of the problem does not show itself clearly in the numbers. Here’s another stat from playing defense in the red zone – the Chiefs did not have a takeaway inside their own 20-yard line. That ranked them No. 30. The NFL average was three.

There’s no doubt the Chiefs have holes to plug in the red zone defense.

Other statistical categories where the Chiefs showed poorly during the 2010 season were average starting field position after a kickoff, net passing yards per game and they were among the lowest ranked team in the number of plays in scoring drives, averaging seven.


  • BRONCOS – reached a contract agreement with CB Champ Bailey on a 4-year, $43 million deal with $15 million in guaranteed money.
  • BROWNS – placed the franchise player designation on K Phil Dawson.
  • BUCCANEERS – re-signed CB Ronde Barber to a 1-year contract.
  • COLTS – claimed DT DeMario Pressley off waivers from the Texans.
  • PANTHERS – placed the franchise player designation on C Ryan Kalil.
  • SAINTS – released TE Jeremy Shockey.
  • SEAHAWKS – re-signed WR Isaiah Stanback and CB Roy Lewis.
  • TITANS – hired Chet Parlavecchio as assistant special teams coach and Arthur Smith defensive quality control coach; released assistant special teams coach Marty Galbraith.

7 Responses to “Numbers That Crunched … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • February 23, 2011  - cowboyChief says:

    After such a big turn around this year, you wouldn’t expect those 2 stats (red zone D and 3rd and 1 conversions) to be so deplorable. With those 2 stats it makes you wonder how we got to 10-6. And, at the same time, if we had been middle of the league in those stats we could have had a very good team.
    3 or 4 new starters this year and improvement in those stats: WOO, bring on that tougher schedule!

  • February 23, 2011  - Tenand6 says:


    Did the Chiefs defense give up an unusual number of third an longs? It felt that way.

  • February 23, 2011  - Justin D says:


    I would have to say that play calling needs to be factored in on the 3rd and 1 failures – not simply execution. Seems I remember passes being thrown (over thrown)and some dumb pitches. Similarly, I remember some dumb calls on 3rd and short and taking a sack or two.

    I also remember T Jones wearing down and not picking up yards in those situations late in the year. Are they looking at phasing in Jackie Battle? I am sure he had fresher legs but similar style to Jones in picking up those hard fought conversions.

  • February 23, 2011  - el cid says:

    All things being equal Battle is not as good as Jones. Jones seemed to wear down by the end of the season but so did the rest of the team, at least for the last two. I have no answer and will wait to see 2011 develope. With change at OC, no CBA, changes in rules (will the franchise tag be retained), does the Chiefs management believe the 10-6 season a bump in the road or improvement to build on. So on and on it goes, where are we, I am not really sure.

  • February 23, 2011  - Anonymous says:

    Justin wins the prize with his first paragraph. Too many 3rd and short play calls where they tried to do something fancy (aka stupid)…instead of doing what they did best. I’m hoping that was Weis, and we won’t see that crap again next season.

  • February 23, 2011  - Mark says:

    The 3rd and short stats are exactly why Jamaal was not paid too little, but likely too much. As good as he is, you can’t depend on him to get yards when you absolutely need them, which is why he’ll never be an every down guy, or as valuable overall as Priest and LJ were here.

  • February 24, 2011  - Mark B. says:

    Charles was hardly given the ball on 3rd and short. He was used that way a lot in the Pro Bowl. I know it’s the Pro Bowl, but Charles showed he could get it done. T.Jones did run out of gas and I don’t see him getting any better at his age. Lets draft a guy like DeMarco Murray in the third or fourth round. He is a great pass catcher out of the backfield. Since he was used in the Spread in Oklahoma he was always running out of the shotgun. Lets put a big body in front of him and see what he can do. But I would like to see Charles get some touches on 3rd and short.

Leave a Reply


2011 Senior Bowl
Chiefs Players
College football
Combine 2010
Combine 2011
Cup O'Chiefs
Draft 2010
Draft Profiles 2010
Game Coverage
Hall of Fame
Mouth Of Todd
Other News
Practice Update





         Copyright 2010 Bob Gretz. May not be used or reprinted without the expressed written consent of Bob Gretz.