Chiefs Film Review: How the defense locked in to stall the Chargers in the second half

It’s no longer incessantly that Kansas City Chiefs lovers get to say that the group’s defense received a specific recreation.

But they may be able to say that about the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. It wasn’t simply the interception that rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson returned for a landing, both. The complete crew performed a hand in getting 5 consecutive stops right through a an important second-half stretch.

Let’s take an in depth take a look at how defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s unit discovered some way to be triumphant.

Getting to 0.33 down

From the get-go, the Kansas City defense attempted to prohibit the Chargers’ alternatives for issues by means of inviting them to run towards cushy zone protection, forcing Los Angeles to patiently chip away. When the Chargers used a couple of tight ends in their formation, Kansas City would fit with base staff — the usage of 3 linebackers to assist forestall the run.

So rookie Leo Chenal were given his first probability to give a contribution — and used to be an asset in the 22 snaps he performed.

In the performs proven right here, he affects the run by means of aggressively attacking gaps — after which registers a quarterback hit right through considered one of the few occasions Los Angeles dropped again whilst he used to be on the box.

This means labored. Chargers operating backs received simplest 3.4 yards in step with raise on their 22 makes an attempt. No again had a run of over 8 yards.

This conservative defensive taste continuously pressured 0.33 downs — despite the fact that they weren’t the very best third-and-long scenarios. They had been nonetheless high-pressure snaps the place the defense is difficult the offense to execute one play to make or destroy the ownership.

In the first half, the Chiefs pressured the Chargers into seven third-down scenarios — and Los Angeles transformed simplest 3 of them. The defense’s talent to get their opponent into 0.33 down used to be a key section in conserving them to simplest 10 issues at halftime.

Second half changes

But in the 0.33 quarter, the Chargers’ offense got here out on a roll. On their 11-play scoring force, they simply noticed 0.33 down two times. The second one used to be every other giant play to extensive receiver Mike Williams. The 15-yard landing gave Los Angeles a 17-7 lead.

You have to credit score Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert. On the few first-half snaps the place the Chiefs relied on guy protection, Herbert picked on cornerback Rashad Fenton: a defensive move interference penalty on a third-down play — after which a 39-yard catch by means of extensive receiver Mike Williams. Both performs led at once to the two ratings the Chargers had at the destroy.

The third-quarter rating used to be every other instance of Herbert and Williams beating guy protection; the wideout received on a soar ball towards Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. That, on the other hand, can be Williams’ remaining catch of the night time — and the Chargers’ remaining scoring force till the ultimate mins of the recreation.

On the following force — with the rating now 17-14 — the Chiefs’ defense pressured a handy guide a rough 0.33 down with the identical early-down technique they used in the first half.

Here we see that with two yards to convert, the Chargers elect to drop again. Herbert sees the identical cushy, two-deep protection that he’s been seeing all evening. But this time, protection Justin Reid isn’t passive in his protection. From the deeper alignment, he temporarily drives on a curl path at the sticks — timing the contest completely.

This pressured incompletion is a smart instance of the way to execute zone protection, making throwing home windows tighter than the quarterback thinks they’re.

Here we see that on the Chargers’ second try to widen their lead from 17-14, Kansas City forces two incompletions on first and second down by means of attacking the again facet of a play-action move tougher than they did at earlier issues in the recreation. In either one of those performs, Herbert raises his eyes to move out of the handoff motion — simplest to see a defender clogging his throwing lane.

On the resulting 0.33 down, defensive take on Chris Jones ended the force with a sack.

Making performs

The Chargers did get issues in combination for his or her subsequent ownership, having a look to rating and destroy the 17-17 tie from the two-yard line — however then Jaylen Watson took place.

We see that linebacker Willie Gay Jr. blitzes, will get previous the operating again in move coverage and forces Herbert to hurry his throw — making the move off-target.

The game-changing play gave the Chiefs a 24-17 benefit. This supposed the defense now had to offer protection to a lead. While the Chargers’ offensive mindset modified, Kansas City’s normal recreation plan remained the identical: funneling the positive aspects into brief passes or runs. On the subsequent force, that helped to right away put Los Angeles in a third-and-2 — the place a take on for loss pressured a punt.

As the fourth quarter woound down, the Chargers were given a second shot to even the rating — however by means of then, the Chiefs’ defensive entrance used to be starting to crush the move blocking off. The hits were given to Herbert — each bodily and mentally.

On this third-down move, Herbert identifies guy protection on Williams — however he’s the just one who’s really manned up. The remainder of the defense has zone tasks. When he triggers the throw, Herbert has no longer accounted for them. He anticipates Gay will transfer out of the window to quilt the tight finish, however Gay is studying Herbert’s eyes — and follows them proper to the catch level for a move breakup.

When the Chiefs were given the ball again, they tacked on 3 issues. That put the Chargers away — despite the fact that they did tighten the rating to 27-24 on their ultimate force.

The final analysis

For the maximum section, the Kansas City defense performed a conservative logo of soccer towards Los Angeles, forcing lengthy drives and a number of third-down makes an attempt.

The Chargers did benefit from a few of the defense’s vulnerable snaps — however in the second half, the Chiefs were given 5 instantly stops: 4 punts and a defensive landing. They allowed Los Angeles to convert simplest 5 in their 16 third-down alternatives on 0.33 down.

The defense used to be locked in with a well-adjusted technique — and higher execution from the gamers. It used to be a glimpse into how excessive the ceiling for this younger crew may in reality be.

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