Rewatching a loss is always rough, and when we do we have a tendency to narrow in on the failings of our favorite team. As fans, it's not always in our nature to look at the good things the other team did in a game and credit them for that.
But! That's exactly what I'm going to do now, because the the Chiefs deserve a lot of credit for how they've designed their rushing attack. Andy Reid and his staff have put together a run game that does a fantastic job of keeping a defense off balance and finding ways to get Jamaal Charles in space with blockers in front of him.
12:17 in the 1st quarter, 3rd and 1.
This play might look a little familiar to Seahawks fans as it's similar to plays Seattle runs quite a bit. The line has standard zone blocking assignments with the TE coming back across the formation to block the play side. The Chiefs have added a little extra to the play, lining up De'Anthony Thomas in tight trips set and then motioning him into the backfield next to Alex Smith.
Thomas fakes an outside run to the playside, while Jamaal Charles takes an inside handoff. The play picks up 2 and the first down, but had the potential to get more had the tight end not gotten in Charles' way as he tried to take the run between the C and RG.
11:07 in the 1st quarter, 2nd and 2.
The Chiefs do two things here that they will repeat multiple times throughout the game. First, Kansas City makes frequent use of their center, Rodney Hudson's, fantastic athleticism. After the snap, Hudson immediately pulls to the right between the guard and tackle. While peeling off a double team to block a linebacker is a routine play for centers in a zone blocking system, having the center pull across the formation is a much less common assignment.
The other thing the Chiefs do on this play is release their RT into the second level, allowing the defensive linemen into the backfield. Ryan Harris drops like he's going to pass protect before chipping Avril and then releasing to find a linebacker or safety to block. Avril is loose in the backfield, but Charles is past him before he can make a play.
Charles follows the blocks of Hudson and Harris and picks up 7.
8:07 in the 1st quarter, 2nd and 2.
Here Kansas City runs a quick toss out of a jumbo set, with all three tight ends lined up tight to the right side. Each of the tight ends block down, white the RT and C pull all the way across the formation to the outside. Again, this is a great display of the athleticism that Rodney Hudson brings.
Knile Davis is able to pick up three and the first down off the toss.
9:40 in the 2nd quarter, 1st and 10.
Here the Chiefs combine a standard trap with sending DAT in motion presnap to fake a jet sweep. Thomas' fake holds Chancellor, keeping him out of the play. The RG and RT release directly into the second level, with the LG pulling to block Michael Bennett coming free into the backfield (who takes himself out of the play by slipping).
Charles has a clean path to the second level and is able to follow his blocks on the right side for a huge 28 yard gain.
8:15 in the 2nd quarter, 1st and 10.
Two plays later, Kansas City uses motion and misdirection to create a huge lane off the left tackle. The Fox broadcast did a great job drawing this up, and I don't have much to add to what they said. The Chiefs send Junior Hemmingway in motion and Seattle counters by rotating Kam to be the single high safety and sending Earl down into the box.
After the snap, Anthony Sherman fakes a counter by starting left before coming back across the formation to the right side. This disguises the direction of the run and holds the linebackers in place. The LT blocks the linebacker across from him, the playside WR runs a fly to take Maxwell out of the play, and Jamaal Charles walks in a TD off the left side.
12:26 in the 3rd quarter, 1st and 10.
The Chiefs ran a couple end arounds, and this one was by far my favorite. De'Anthony Thomas waits for the snap before slipping back around the formation after Alex Smith fakes the hand off to Jamaal Charles. The tight end blocks back across the formation, while the LT and playside WR release into the second level to block. O'Brien Schofield is given a free release into the backfield, but is held by the fake hand off.
DAT is able to get to the outside and pick up 7 yards on the play.
13:46 in the 4th quarter, 1st and goal.
More pulling! We've seen the Chiefs pull the C, the C and the RT, trap with the LG, and now they pull both the C and the RG. DAT fakes another jet sweep, holding the linebackers and keeping them reading the pulling lineman and flowing playside. The RT blocks down on the defensive tackle while the TE blocks the DE one on one.
Hudson and Fulton open a lane on the right side, and Davis hits it for a TD.
None of the things Kansas City does are revolutionary on their own, but used together they present a nightmare scenario for a defense. The Chiefs mixed multiple formations, presnap motion, jet sweeps, traps, pulling linemen, standard zone blocking schemes, and one of the more explosive running backs in the league to keep Seattle off balance all day long. The loss on Sunday was demoralizing at time, but there is a reason the Chiefs have the 4th ranked rushing offense.