Re-Focused: Chiefs @ Patriots, Week 11

| November 22, 2011

On the road, without their starting QB, the Kansas City Chiefs had a surprisingly positive first half. Their defense stifled Tom Brady for the early part of the game, they only surrendered 10 first half points. They had slightly less success on offense where, despite moving the ball, the Patriots ensured it was bend rather than break as they held Kansas City to just three points.

Normal business was resumed in the second half, as New England’s high powered offense took control and Tyler Palko became the turnover machine many expected him to be – he was making his first ever NFL start after all. With even their special teams contributing (Julian Edelman had a beautiful punt return for a touchdown), the Pats were able to turn this into a rout.

 

Kansas City – Three Performances of Note

Dwayne Bowe … elite receiver?

It doesn’t matter who’s throwing him the ball, Dwayne Bowe (+1.1), keeps making plays. Against the Patriots he registered seven receptions on nine targets for 87 yards, beating all three of Patriot corners for at least one catch. His reception with the game still close at 13:50 in the second quarter typifies Bowe’s strengths as he adjusted to a back shoulder fade for a big gain down the right side line. He’s becoming quite the deep threat with 18 of his 80 targets and 200 of his 750 yards coming on passes more than 20 yards downfield. Bowe is also ninth in our Yards per Pass Route rankings with a mark of 2.25.

 

Problems at tightend

You have to feel sorry for the Chiefs because of Tony Moeki’s injury, but their backups are about as big of a downgrade as is possible. Starter Leonard Pope (-2.5) had particular trouble in the run game (-1.3) as well as dropping one of his four targets. To make matters worse he had a key holding penalty after a long run by Thomas Jones when the Chiefs were approaching the red zone. Jake O’Connell (-2.0 in 27 snaps) was better in the passing game but clearly cannot be trusted in pass protection. He allowed a sack and pressure on just the seven occasions he was given that responsibility.

 

A two down linebacker

Jovan Belcher (-2.1) is about what you’d expect of a two down linebacker. He struggled in his 14 plays in coverage (-2.8) but was solid on his 33 plays against the run (+1.0). The play that typifies his struggles in coverage is Rob Gronkowski’s first touchdown. Romeo Crennel called a zone coverage but Belcher was distracted by a play action fake which caused him to get insufficient depth. Brady was therefore able to loft a ball over his head to the wide open TE. Overall he allowed both targets against him to be complete for 77 yards and the aforementioned TD. Belcher was better in the run game, making a trio of tackles for short gains.

 

New England – Three Performances of Note

A game with added importance

Brian Waters (+1.8) continued what has been a great season against the team he spent 11 seasons with. Perhaps he was subtly explaining to the organisation how they released him too soon as he gave Chiefs’ linemen numerous problems. Waters graded positively in all facets of the game demonstrating the consistency that is so important for offensive lineman. Although he didn’t make any highlight blocks in the ground game, he only allowed a solitary pressure when Brady dropped back to pass. Waters now ranks fifth overall amongst guards and third in Pass Blocking Efficiency (98.4) having given up just eight combined pressures.

 

When state lie – Andre Carter

Andre Carter (+2.7) has been a great pickup for the Patriots but he’s had a couple of games now where the numbers have been misleading. Against the Chiefs he combined for a sack, two hits and two pressures but those plays were only graded at +1.5. Carter was unblocked on his two pressures and his sack and two hits predominantly came because Palko held the ball too long. What will probably go unnoticed is his work in the run game (+2.7) which was far more impressive. He made four stops from five tackles. He made play after play at or behind the line of scrimmage with two tackles for a loss and two after short gains.

 

When stats lie – Kyle Arrington

Kyle Arrington (+0.6) added a couple of interceptions to his league leading total, but he was actually only average in coverage (+0.1). Both his picks came on tipped balls with the first, at 2.12 in the second, after Steve Breaston dropped a pass that was slightly behind him. Overall he allowed three of six targets to be complete for 51 yards and had particular trouble with Bowe. Arrington had particular trouble with the Kansas City receiver when he was able to beat him on a post route with 13:22 left in the game.

 

Game notes

- Only Derrick Johnson played every snap on defense for the Chiefs

- Kansas City mixed eight tackles, New England missed just three

- Carter played every Patriot defensive snap (70) while Vince Wilfork missed just seven (63)

 

PFF Game Ball

Patriots’ cornerback Philip Adams – allowed just one of three targets to be complete for 7 yards and had an interception

 

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