NO-KC grades: Smith efficient, Chiefs’ secondary excellent in win over Saints

Chiefs combine a strong defensive effort with some big plays on offense to come away with the victory.

| 8 months ago
Alex Smith

(Jason Hanna, Getty Images)

NO-KC grades: Smith efficient, Chiefs’ secondary excellent in win over Saints

Kansas City Chiefs 27, New Orleans Saints 21

Here are the biggest takeaways and top-graded players from Kansas City’s 27-21 win over New Orleans in Week 7:

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback grade: Alex Smith, 70.7

Alex Smith was his typical self, as he didn’t push the ball down the field aggressively, but was able to keep the chains moving with his efficiency. On throws that traveled less than 10 yards through the air, he completed all but one of his 14 attempts. He had a perfect QB rating (158.3) against the blitz, as he completed seven of nine throws when faced with an extra rusher for 120 yards and both of his touchdowns.

Top offensive grades:

RB Spencer Ware, 75.9

TE Travis Kelce, 73.1

OT Mitchell Schwartz, 72.5

WR Jeremy Maclin, 72.2

WR Chris Conley, 71.0

Strong O-line play keeps Smith clean 

Despite Smith completing just 17 passes, five different receivers tallied multiple catches. RB Spencer Ware had the most productive day through the air, as his 46-yard screen pass TD in the first quarter put the Chiefs on the scoreboard quickly. While the only offensive linemen to make the top five grades was RT Mitchell Schwartz, the line’s outstanding pass blocking left Smith with plenty of time to find open targets. The Chiefs yielded just three total pressures on the day, with no player giving up more than one.

Top defensive grades:

S Daniel Sorensen, 86.2

ILB Ramik Wilson, 82.8

S Ron Parker, 82.6

DE Jaye Howard, 82.4

CB DJ White, 80.8

Second-year ILB Wilson has career day in first appearance of the season

ILB Ramik Wilson played just 21 total snaps, but seemed to make an impact on every play. Despite the low volume, he racked up eight solo tackles (10 total) with three total defensive stops. While he gave up catches all three times he was targeted, he yielded a grand total of just 13 yards. S Daniel Sorensen also had a huge day, as he had an interception and a sack to go with four total defensive stops.

New Orleans Saints

Quarterback grade: Drew Brees, 75.5

While his final stat line looks strong, much of Drew Brees’ production came in the fourth quarter trying to make up a two-possession deficit. Kansas City’s strong perimeter play in coverage forced him to work shallow and underneath routes, as he completed just one of three deep shots (passes that traveled at least 20 yards through the air). While he was pressured on just 10 of 49 dropbacks, his production dropped off considerably when under duress. When he had a clean pocket, he produced a QB rating of 127.0, but when faced with pressure, his rating plummeted to 28.2.


Top offensive grades:

RB Mark Ingram, 76.9

C Max Unger, 75.0

WR Willie Snead, 75.9

QB Drew Brees, 75.5

OT Zach Strief, 74.7

Ground game fails to supplement aerial assault

RB Mark Ingram graded well (despite his fumble) because of his four broken tackles, but he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and had a long run of just seven yards. Several offensive linemen have rough days, in particular guard Jahri Evans. He gave up a sack, a hit and a hurry, and also graded poorly on run blocks. WRs Michael Thomas and Willie Snead both had very productive days, as the duo caught 19 of 23 targets for 217 yards.

Top defensive grades: 

DI Tyeler Davison, 79.3

S Vonn Bell, 77.3

LB Craig Robertson, 77.1

DI Nick Fairley, 75.8

ED Darryl Tapp, 71.2

Strong run play ruined by another bad showing in the secondary

DT Tyeler Davison doesn’t pop on the stat sheet with his one solo tackle, but he dominated the middle of the line of scrimmage and made it difficult for Kansas City to get its run game going. His 80.8 run-defense grade was tops on the Saints’ roster, and easily his best showing of the season. While the Saints were generally strong on run defense, the same can’t be said about their play in coverage. In particular, CBs B.W. Webb and Ken Crawley had major struggles, as they gave up a combined seven catches on just nine targets and a touchdown.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Chiefs S Daniel Sorensen

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

Josh joined PFF as an analyst in 2015. During the season, his primary focus is college football (mainly the Big Ten). He is also heavily involved in PFF's NFL draft coverage. Prior to joining the team, he worked for six years with GM Jr. Scouting, an independent draft scouting service.

  • Woody

    “…and made it difficult for Kansas City to get its run game going.”

    Is this shit serious? Through the first three quarters, Spencer Ware had 9 carries for 69 yards, with a long of 12. He was running at will, and had 5 first downs in 9 carries. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter, when Saints stacked the box, and Chiefs tried to milk the clock, they had difficulties running it.

    • Pelvic Thrust

      Ware’s successful runs were all to the outside. Whenever the Chiefs tried to go straight up the middle they couldn’t get much going.

      • Woody

        Where does it say anything about the directions of the runs? They very clearly say that Chiefs had difficulties getting their run game going. They also say the Saints did well in run defense.

        “While the Saints were generally strong on run defense”

        But it’s just not true, because they couldn’t stop Chiefs at all for three quarters. Andy Reid even said on his press conference, that Saints changed their defensive scheme in the second half, because they couldn’t stop the run when they played nickel.

    • Mike Park

      you know its not serious when they claim Smith “didn’t push the ball downfield aggressively” Did they watch the game? I can think of 3 off the top of my head that were more than 15 yards and 2 of the 3 were perfectly thrown balls, that yes, the receiver had to make a great catch, but both were draped in coverage and Smith threw it to the spot that ONLY the receiver could get it. His average was 10 yards a pass….that is pushing it pretty well

  • Pelvic Thrust

    How did DJ White score higher than Peters? Brees avoided Peters all day and he got the clutch fumble recovery. The only passes Peters gave up were in Sutton’s stupid prevent defense

    • Woody

      Yep, it was kind of surprising how few passes went to the right side of the field. Shows you the amount of respect offenses have for Peters. White being a fifth round rookie is probably also some of the reason for it. He has struggled, and I was surprised to se a grade above 80. I felt like he got beat like drum.