KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- According to figures compiled by Pro Football Focus, the Kansas City Chiefs had one of the NFL’s better tackling teams. The Chiefs missed 100 tackles, according to PFF, and only nine teams had better numbers.
The Chiefs would have ranked even higher had they not missed an astounding 17 tackles in their 23-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 22. The tackling was extremely sloppy that day and the Chiefs will have a difficult time winning Saturday’s rematch in the wild-card round in Indianapolis if it doesn’t improve greatly.
The Chiefs were able to keep eight defensive starters out of last week’s final regular-season game in San Diego and that should help improve their tackling against the Colts. The Chiefs, after a torrid start to the season, looked fatigued on defense toward the end of the season and that can be reflected in sloppy tackling.
To illustrate the point, the Chiefs had one of their better tackling games against the Chargers last week. Using mostly fresh players who had spent much of the season as backups, the Chiefs missed only three tackles.
“A lot of it is technique,’’ defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “A lot of it is anticipation. You have to be moving. I think that’s a big part of tackling. You need that and you need multiple people. If you’re making a lot of just single tackles out there, it’s going to be hard. That’s one of the objectives of offensive football is to get guys in space and we need to get as many guys out there as possible to help secure those tackles that are missed right now.
“That’s what you’re looking for because there probably are a few more missed tackles than you realize. Usually there is someone else close by that’s coming to clean it up. That’s what you really want. If you want to be good on defense, that’s what you have to have.”