Chiefs seeking offensive rhythm versus Jets

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have played 125 minutes of football in the 2016 season and, aside from 26 minutes of a furious rally against San Diego in week one, 99 minutes have showcased plenty of problems.

Kansas City's Alex Smith, right, gets hit by San Diego's Williams Tourek before falling into the end zone for the game winning touchdown in overtime of Sunday afternoon's game at Arrowhead Stadium. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas City’s Alex Smith, right, gets hit by San Diego’s Williams Tourek before falling into the end zone for the game winning touchdown in overtime in Chiefs’ 33-27 win over the Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium, Sept, 11, 2016. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Quarterback Alex Smith believes the Chiefs offensive woes boil down to one of the fundamentals of football – execution.

“You hate hearing that,” Smith said. “This last week certainly, every drive we had whether it be a penalty, a turnover, a sack, or a negative play, it stalls the drive and it’s hard to overcome versus a talented defense.”

The Chiefs need better execution on both sides of the ball Sunday. The New York Jets bring the NFL’s fourth-ranked offense to Arrowhead Stadium for a 3:25 kickoff. But the Jets defense appears a tempting target for a slumping Chiefs offense.

During those 26 minutes against San Diego, comprising the final 21 minutes of regulation and the game-winning overtime drive, the Chiefs outscored their opponent 30-3. In the other 99 minutes against the Chargers and the Houston Texans, the Chiefs have been outscored 43-15.

Smith’s passing numbers tell much of the story. The quarterback completed 24 of 32 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns for a gaudy 138.2 passer rating during the week one rally. The other 99 minutes of the season: 30-of-53 passing, 297 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and a sack with a 64.7 passer rating.

Coach Andy Reid does not think accuracy is the issue with the passing game, but a lack of communication and coordination among the offense.

“If you’re off a hair it can affect things, that’s why we practice so much,” Reid said “We have to do a better job there.”

The Chiefs hope the Jets defense can provide the opportunity they need to a find a rhythm. The Jets rank 31st in the league with 7.3 yards allowed per play and tied for 25th in scoring defense, yielding 27 points per game.

The Jets won at Buffalo in a shootout last Thursday night, allowing 307 passing yards, 86 rushing yards and 31 points to the Bills. Buffalo did their offensive damage while possessing the ball a mere 20 minutes and 48 seconds.

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, once revered for his ability to shutdown opposing receivers, has drawn considerable criticism early in the season. Revis surrendered a long touchdown reception in each game this season, and surrendered 91 yards receiving with three missed tackles against the Bills.

Coach Todd Bowles defended his cornerback, but said he has been far from perfect.

“Anytime you get run past, it’s physical,” Bowles said. “One was of them was busted coverage, and the other, the guy was just fast. He ran by him, made a great play and he had his eyes in the backfield too long.”

But Smith and the Chiefs remain wary of the talent and instincts of Revis.

“I think a lot of that’s been overblown,” Smith said. “I know there’s been two deep balls caught on him – one I’m not sure if you can totally put on him.”

The Chiefs appear relatively healthy heading into the matchup with the Jets. The team likely remains without running back Jamaal Charles, who the team listed as doubtful.

The biggest injury concerns remain on the offensive line. The Chiefs look to get back starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who missed last week’s game with a high-ankle sprain. Right guard Parker Ehinger remains out with both a concussion and foot injury along with backup Jah Reid out as well. Reserve lineman Zach Fulton expects to start in place of Ehinger.

Cornerback Phillip Gaines appeared on Friday’s injury report as questionable with a knee injury. Gaines appeared near full form in his recovery from knee surgery a year ago, and had not been listed on recent practice reports. The team did not disclose the nature of the injury.

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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