Hello, and welcome to my second installment of The Eye Test!
Similar to the Jets post, I will be taking a look at a previous game of our opponent, and taking notes of what I see. Essentially, I will pretend to be a scout.
I will be coming into this review of the game with an open mind, and the eye test will bring me to a conclusion about the game and this upcoming match-up.
The Chiefs have faced the Giants, Jaguars, Eagles, and Cowboys. I have chosen the game against the Cowboys for my review, because I feel they are the team that best represents the Chiefs' match-up against us.
So, all that being said, let's jump right into it!
THE EYE TEST:
- Alex Smith looks comfortable running the pistol read option.
- He looks comfortable scrambling in general, actually.
- Accurate and precise early on with the quick timing throws. That will be tough to defend for us.
- 11:07 in the first quarter. Alex Smith should have had an interception on a horrible PA deep throw.
- Alex Smith loves diving for extra yards when he scrambles. That's going to get him injured eventually. He just doesn't slide.
- Absolutely horrible throw by Alex Smith on 1st & goal. He bounced it off the ground in front of a WR that was open.
- The touchdown throw on the next play was a little underthrown too, but not enough to matter.
- Really bad pocket awareness on Alex Smith's first sack of the game. Stepping up there should have been second-nature, but he just stood there and ate the turf.
- Another Alex Smith sack. That makes three sacks, all three for a different reason. First sack was Smith's fault, second sack was the fault of the OC, and third sack was the line's fault.
- Smith is deadly on the short timing throws. Strong, accurate, and allowing the receiver to run with the ball almost immediately. That's tough to defend.
- Great play by Alex Smith on their second touchdown. He looked for the timing throw against Bowe, it wasn't there, so he waited and looked off TWO Cowboys defenders in order to make Bowe open for the catch.
- Alex Smith's look-off on that throw was an ankle-breaker for the safety. That's how good it was.
- 2:35 left in the game, Chiefs up by 1 with the ball, 3rd and 5. Cowboys out of time-outs. Alex Smith shows bad awareness and gets a delay of game penalty.
- 3rd and 10. Alex Smith attempts a slant pass to Donnie Avery, and a really dumb pass interference penalty by Cowboys' CB Morris Claiborne ends the game for the Cowboys.
A lot of the hype Alex Smith had received is certainly deserved, but he is far from perfect and his turnover streak should have ended in Week 2. He has had really poor-looking throws at times, and then followed them up with strikes. He has shown really bad awareness, then followed it up with elite-level eye manipulation and quarterback play. This sort of inconsistency is minimized by the scheme the Chiefs run, but the offenses' success is still completely tied to Alex Smith.
- Lots of pre-snap motion so far.
- They like running no-huddle too.
- This offense seems dependant upon tiring out the defense.
- Great pass blocking so far by the Chiefs. Run blocking doesn't look so good.
- I have to say, the main reason for the Chiefs' offensive success is probably the offensive scheme they run. It creates so many opportunities, a defense will be lucky to cover all of them on one play.
- Chiefs decided to try to pass on 3rd & 1 and it fell incomplete, but wouldn't have mattered due to a 15-yard penalty on the right guard (was declined). Head-scratching playcall there.
- Playcalling predictability nearly just got Alex Smith killed on his second sack. That was scary-looking.
- The above note ended up killing their drive in the end.
- The offense has a great opportunity to extend their lead, starting at the Cowboys' 35 yard line, up 4 with 9:53 left in the game.
- False start. Negative run. Smith desperate scramble. Horrible interior pass blocking breakdown results in a very quick sack. Punt.
- Again, the Chiefs offense have decent starting field position at their own 36 yard line.
- 5 yard pass with immediate pressure. McCluster drop on a busted screen play. Charles slipped away on another busted screen play, but was a yard short of the first down. Punt.
- The Cowboys just made it a one point game with just under 4 minutes left in the game, thanks in large part to the Chiefs' offensive inability to extend their lead.
The Chiefs' offense is fast-paced, spreads the defense out, keeps the defense on their heels, features a lot of play action and no-huddle, and creativity. They scored 17 points in this game. Untimely penalties, the inconsistent play of Smith, and pass protection breakdowns killed a lot of their drives. Their defense saved the game for them in the fourth quarter, as the offense had completely choked.
I came away both impressed and unimpressed with the Chiefs' offense, which makes me very conflicted.
They look like they have the potential to be a top 10 offense in the league, but they aren't.
CHIEFS WIDE RECEIVERS:
- Dwayne Bowe is great running after the catch.
- Donnie Avery with a great diving catch on a really crappy deep throw by Alex Smith.
Nothing really stood out to me here. Alex Smith made the wide receivers look good when he was accurate, and made them look bad when he wasn't. That, and Dwayne Bowe is really fast. That is the extent of my takeaway from the WR group of the Chiefs.
CHIEFS RUNNING GAME:
- Jamaal Charles reminds me of a more consistently decisive CJ.
- A quarter later, and my above note is still true. He reminds me so much of CJ.
Considering this is an Andy Reid team now, not having much to say about the running game isn't all that surprising. It was stuffed for the most-part, as the run blocking couldn't open up many holes. Which is a shame, because Jamaal Charles is a really gifted runner with zero hesitation. But this is a Chiefs offense that substitutes its run game with a short quick pass game, and it's effective for them, so it doesn't really matter in the end.
- LB Derrick Johnson just single-handedly killed a run play on first down. Great play.
- LB Akeem Jordan just single-handedly killed a run play on first down. Looks to be a pattern by the Chiefs' LBs in run defense.
- Dontarie Poe just completely embarrassed Cowboys center Travis Fredrick. Rob Turner will have to face him this week. Crap.
- So far they look stellar in run defense and pass rush, and a little shaky in the secondary.
- After looking stellar earlier, the run defense doesn't look so good now. The linebackers aren't controlling the gaps like they were.
- Brandon Flowers just got beat badly by Dez Bryant for a second time for 38 yards.
- They went right back to Bryant against Flowers, and it was an arm extension away from a touchdown.
- Guess who just got beat for a Dallas touchdown? ... Hint, his name starts with Brandon and ends with Flowers.
- All the defensive run stops I've seen so far are because one guy made a great play. This time it was DE Tyson Jackson.
- Brandon Flowers just got burned again by Dez Bryant, but he was bailed out by a ticky-tack OPI call.
- When somebody doesn't make a big play against the run, the Chiefs normally give up 5 or 6 easy yards. Thankfully for them, they have so many guys on D, usually someone makes a play.
- Eric Berry with a nice fumble return there.
- On the very next defensive series, Ron Parker hammers the ball out of Romo's hand from the blind side and recovers it. That's two fumble recoveries for the Chiefs in 2 series.
- This defense is really stepping up with the game within one score in the 4th quarter.
- The Chiefs are good at batting passes down at the line.
- Brandon Flowers got beat AGAIN, but Dez Bryant dropped a perfectly placed deep ball.
- Brandon Flowers got beat on a comeback route by Dez Bryant. He is getting absolutely abused.
- Eric Berry had an interception on a poor throw by Romo, but he was ridiculously flagged for a defensive hold. Horrible call by the ref.
- The other safety, Husain Abdullah, just dropped an interception on the very next play on another poor throw by Romo.
The Chiefs defense is certainly no joke, but I came away from this game seeing some holes in their defense that we might be able to exploit.
The first is that, unless an individual player makes a great play off the snap, their run defense is very poor. Cowboys' RB DeMarco Murray is no scrub, but he was getting very easy 5 yard gains consistently when the Chiefs had to play total team run defense.
The second hole is, quite obviously, Brandon Flowers. I am pretty sure is a good corner, and that Dez Bryant is an incredibly gifted young man, but this game didn't look like Flowers being beat by a better wide receiver. This game looked like Flowers blowing coverages and making that gifted wide receiver look better than he should have.
I would feel really good having Kenny Britt back in this game to exploit him.
- The Dallas defense just left Jamaal Charles open underneath a clearing route for a huge gain.
- Jamaal Charles nearly got knocked out by Sean Lee there.
- The Cowboys just need to throw it up to Dez Bryant 15 times a game.
- Dallas is running the pistol formation too on this play.
- A wide receiver screen on 3rd & 16. DOWELL LOW-GAINS! Oh, wait...
- The Cowboys suck.
- Coverage sack by Dallas.
- The Cowboys still suck.
- With 58 seconds left in the half, the Cowboys left a tight end open for 22 yards.
- Impressive block by the Cowboys' CB Orlando Scandrick on a half-ending field goal attempt.
- Really bad fumble by the Cowboys' RB Lance Dunbar. That ends up as, at least, a 3-point swing.
- Cowboys' offense has a chance to them get back into the game now.
- Right after the Cowboys made it a one point game on a field goal, the Chiefs practically handed the Cowboys a kickoff fumble recovery but none of them could grab it in time.
This game was the Cowboys in a nutshell. They played decent on defense but had enough breakdowns to kill them. They played decent on offense, but had enough breakdowns to kill them. They choked in the end and lost the game. Same old, same old.
Now, this is to take nothing away from the Chiefs. I'm speaking purely on the Cowboys' performance here. The Cowboys may be consistently inconsistent, but they still have a lot of NFL talent on both sides of the ball. You still have to go out there and stop them. The Chiefs did that, and the Cowboys ended up looking like the same mediocre team that their reputation says they are.
- Seeing this Chiefs offense, I imagine we're going to be hearing a lot of people saying 'This is what I want to see the Titans doing', during and after this game.
- The Chiefs defense played really well, and when the drive ends, the FOX announcers talk about Romo's ribs. Pfft..
Nothing much to summarize here. If Chiefs fans feel like their team isn't being treated like a 4-0 team should be, I wouldn't be surprised. If they were in a larger market they would be talked about on SportsCenter to a ridiculous degree. It's the usual media BS.
Also, this Chiefs offense seems like the kind of offense a lot of MCM'ers want us to be running. (looking at you, CanaDaniel and SuperHorn). There's lots of pistol formation, read option, no-huddle and up-tempo play, and spreading the defense out with the pass.
I am sure there will be some envy directed at the Chiefs' offensive scheme on Sunday, and I won't blame anyone for it after doing this review.
Results of The Eye Test:
Quarterback: Alex Smith has shown the flashes of an elite quarterback, and temporary reversions to the old and terrible Alex Smith. He has plays that make you say 'Whoa', and then has plays that make you scratch your head, normally happening very close together. While he is not as inconsistent as our previous match-up at quarterback, we still should be able to handle him.
Passing offense: The Chiefs' passing offense relies heavily on short timing throws, which they are really deadly with. It really acts as their substitute run game. Their deep and medium passes are a little more inconsistent, but Alex Smith had a tendency to throw a strike or two when given enough time. The pass protection looks either horrible or awesome, and not much in-between. Dwayne Bowe is still dangerous, especially after the catch.
This game will test our pass defense.
Running offense: The Chiefs do not have much of a run game, but Jamaal Charles is still a great athlete and has breakaway potential if you don't do your job on defense.
Defense: Alongside the short passing game, this is undeniably the Chiefs' main strength and the biggest reason they are currently undefeated. Their front seven is one of the best in the NFL, and arguably the best. While they struggle at times with team run defense, big individual run stuffs by their players in the front seven usually make up for it. Their pass defense is definitely exploitable, but Eric Berry is very opportunistic, Sean Smith is one of the best corners in the league right now, and Brandon Flowers is still a pretty good corner despite his terrible game against Bryant in this review.
Chris Johnson will have to take advantage of the times that the Chiefs fail in team run defense in order for us to move the ball.
Their Opponent: What is there really to say? The Cowboys are a talented football team, but they are terribly inconsistent in all phases and that makes them mediocre year after year.
Their Opponent's Quarterback: Tony Romo made a lot of nice throws, but looked Gabbertarian levels of bad when under pressure and forced bad throws into coverage late in the game. This sort of stuff is why he gets labelled as a 'choker' often.
Our Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick has had some good games against the Chiefs, but that was before they became this good. This will be a very tough first start for him in two-tone blue. Let's all hope he comes out blazing. We will need a good game from him to win here.
Penalties: The Cowboys had crucial penalties, one directly costing them the game. The Chiefs had drives killed by offensive line penalties, and had a pretty lame call on their defense late in the game that cost them what likely would have been the game-icing interception.
Injuries: The Chiefs had an offensive lineman go down early on, but he seemed to be okay on the field. Other than that, they were able to keep themselves relatively clean.
Wildcard: If Rob Turner continues his horrible play, it could single-handedly kill our offense all day long, due to pressure up the middle from Dontarie Poe. That would lose us the game, no doubt.
Coming off an easy win against the Jets in which we lost starting QB Jake Locker for a month, the rest of the team will no doubt be looking to step up.
However, we are a 3-1 team that is tied in the divisional lead. The Chiefs will not be overlooking us nor will they be underestimating us.
This will be a defensive game, that is for certain. I can see both teams having multiple turnovers, as both defenses try to take control of the game.
Unfortunately, as optimistic as I am about where this team is headed, I have to predict a loss here. Ryan Fitzpatrick is servicable, but the Chiefs devastating pass rush will likely expose Warmack and Turner in the interior.
Warmack is a great rookie and will be a great guard for us for a long time, but he is not ready for this kind of pass rush. Turner's play just goes without saying.
I can see the elite side of Alex Smith showing up long enough in the third quarter to grab a lead, and our offense chipping away at it but ultimately falling flat in the 4th against a great Chiefs D.
Final score: Chiefs 26, Titans 19
I really hope I am wrong.
Thank you for reading this installment of "The Eye Test"!
Please comment below. Any feedback is appreciated. Constructive criticism is as well.