The Kansas City Chiefs dropped their third game of the season, falling to 6-3. The Chiefs could not do much on either side of the ball on Sunday, losing to the Dallas Cowboys 28-17. Kansas City still has a lead in the AFC West and is in good position for the postseason, but a loss like this really shows some of the weaknesses of Andy Reid’s team. Here are the Week Nine Kansas City Chiefs Takeaways.
Week Nine Kansas City Chiefs Takeaways
Terrible on Third Down
If anyone wanted to pinpoint a single reason Kansas City lost to the Cowboys, look no further than third down. The Chiefs offense was 4/11 on third down while the defense allowed Dallas to convert seven of their twelve third down plays.
The Chiefs did a good job by forcing third downs on defense, but most of those were third and short, which Dallas was able to convert by running straight at the defense. The run defense was better overall this week, despite giving up 93 yards to Ezekiel Elliott on 27 carries. The 3.4 yards per carry by Elliott showed a solid, yet unspectacular performance by the Chiefs defense.
The offense has struggled on third down the last few weeks and appear to be trending backwards in this category. The Chiefs were hopeful that getting their starting offensive line back together, that they would perform better in this category. However, that was just not the case. Kansas City failed to sustain drives, which put the defense on the field time and time again.
Andy Reid’s Play Calling
First, let’s just get the play at the end of the first half out of the way. The call that resulted in a 56-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Tyreek Hill was a thing of beauty. By utilizing three receivers to block down field for the shifty Hill, Kansas City was able to steal seven points before the end of the first half and gain some momentum. But after that, Reid’s play calling was sub par today.
Kareem Hunt ran the ball only nine times today. Sure, Hunt was stopped for short gains early, but Reid cannot abandon the run like he did in this game. At the beginning of the second half, Hunt started knocking off big gainers. However, this did not last long thanks to Reid and his questionable play calling. As explosive as Hill and Travis Kelce are, this offense relies on a strong ground game to open up passing lanes for Alex Smith.
It took Reid a half to adjust to the Cowboys zone defensive coverages. Kansas City better figure out how to beat zone coverage, because this is the way teams will defend the Chiefs from now on. Ever since the Pittsburgh Steelers successfully bottled up the Chiefs offense a few weeks ago, teams are playing more and more zone against Kansas City – even when it is not their normal defensive scheme. Reid had a poor first 15 play calls today, as he was not prepared for zone coverages by the Cowboys.
On the Bright Side
Kansas City is still 6-3 and still has at least a two-game lead in the AFC West. This Chiefs team has its flaws, but they will likely be hosting a playoff game come January. It is completely understandable for fans to feel like this will be a one and done appearance in the playoffs at this point. But this team has shown they can beat some of the best in the league when all things are clicking.
To this point, the Chiefs have played one of the hardest schedules of any team in the league and are still three games above .500. From here on out, the Chiefs schedule is much easier than the first half. After the bye week, the Chiefs face just two teams with a winning record. In addition to playing an easier schedule, Kansas City has four of their final seven games at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs enter their bye week with some work to do, but it is not the end of the world. Kansas City’s next game is November 19 against the reeling New York Giants. A big win against the Giants can get this team back on track and ready for a run in the playoffs.