Saturday, November 23, 2013
X's & O's thought: Follow Chiefs' plan?
By Field Yates
The result wasn't what the Chiefs wanted on the scoreboard -- they lost 27-17 -- and Peyton Manning still put up 323 yards passing, but sometimes the box score doesn't tell the whole story.
The Chiefs also weren't able to sack Manning in a Week 11 defeat, but, nonetheless, many have reviewed that game and surmised that the principles the Chiefs installed resemble a game plan of sorts to slow down the Broncos' passing attack.
To oversimplify what the Chiefs did: They leaned more heavily on four-man rushes than blitzes and pressures than they have during the early part of the season, allowing them to play more comprehensive coverages in the back end.
The trouble with blitzing Manning is his ability to: A) identify and anticipate the blitz (as Devin McCourty suggested earlier this week. Sometimes he knows the defense better than the players actually playing it, and B) target the appropriate receiver who has a favorable matchup in man coverage as a result of the blitz.
There's no perfect solution to stopping Manning, but the Patriots will aim to at least contain him.
Relying more heavily on four rushers this week could be one vehicle to doing so, though it should be noted that the Chiefs have the personnel uniquely suited to generate pressure up front with two talented edge rushers in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston as well as nose tackle Dontari Poe.
The Patriots don't have quite the complement of rushers that the Chiefs do, but we know Bill Belichick is one of the best at disguising pressures and finding ways to neutralize an opponent's strength.
Preparation for an upcoming opponent typically involves the breakdown of four to eight games of films, highlighted by the most recent outings. The Chiefs may have provided the Patriots with useful study material just six nights ago that could come into play Sunday night.