Kyle Orton spreads the wealth in debut as Chiefs starter

Posted Dec 21, 2011

The Chiefs had 10 different receivers catch a pass for the first time in more than 15 years

By the time Kyle Orton’s debut as the Chiefs starting quarterback was done, all but one of Kansas City’s eligible receivers had caught a pass.

Ten different players recorded a reception in Orton’s 299-yard outing against Green Bay and eight receivers caught a pass for at least 10 yards. The lone eligible receiver to be held without a catch was reserve offensive lineman Rodney Hudson.

Hudson reported as an eligible receiver in a tackle-over alignment for a Red Zone rushing play. In other words, every player who ran a pass route on Sunday finished with a reception.

Chiefs Receiving Totals vs. Green Bay (12/18/11)

Rec Yds Avg Lg TD
Steve Breaston 4 50 12.5 16 0
Dwayne Bowe 4 49 12.3 15 0
Le'Ron McClain 4 26 6.5 12 0
Leonard Pope 2 72 36.0 39 0
Anthony Becht 2 20 10.0 10 0
Terrance Copper 2 20 10.0 10 0
Dexter McCluster 2 11 5.5 8 0
Thomas Jones 1 27 27.0 27 0
Jonathan Baldwin 1 17 17.0 17 0
Jackie Battle 1 7 7.0 7 0
Jeremy Horne *DNP
Jake O'connell Inactive
Jerheme Urban Inactive

*played on special teams, but did not appear in any offensive snaps

 Sunday’s display of pass distribution hasn’t happened for the Chiefs in more than 15 years. The last time Kansas City had 10 different players catch a pass was October 27, 1996 at Denver.

Chiefs quarterback Steve Bono hit 10 different targets that day in Kansas City’s 34-7 loss and was much less efficient than Orton. Bono completed only 21-of-49 attempts for 213 yards with two interceptions.

Chiefs Receiving Totals at Denver (10/27/96)

Rec Yds Avg Lg TD
Keith Cash 4 26 6.5 9 0
Chris Penn 3 52 17.3 21 0
Tamarick Vanover 3 40 13.3 24 0
Marcus Allen 3 29 9.7 19 0
Reggie Johnson 2 27 13.5 21 0
Sean LaChapelle 2 15 7.5 9 0
Danan Hughes 1 12 12.0 12 0
Joe Horn 1 9 9.0 9 0
Ted McNair 1 2 2.0 2 0
Donnell Bennett 1 1 1.0 1 0

Orton got everyone involved on Sunday. Even veteran run-blocking tight end Anthony Becht got into the act with two catches for 20 yards.

Becht hadn’t recorded a reception in nearly two years and last posted a multi-catch game on December 16, 2007.

Veteran tight end Leonard Pope, who’s played in 85 career games and caught 100 career passes, set a career-high with 72 receiving yards.

“I thought our tight ends showed up,” Orton said. “I don’t know if [Coach] expected them to catch that many passes but they were open and did a great job. They made some big plays.

“Pope made a couple of really big plays for us. Anthony, on the naked we ran to get the touchdown, was a huge play. I think everybody stepped up. It was a total team win. It wasn’t just one guy. It wasn’t just one coach. It was everybody fighting together for a win.”

Orton was able to get everyone involved and his receivers responded well.

No receiver caught more than four passes and only Pope eclipsed 50 receiving yards, but Orton was still able to post the Chiefs high passing totals of the season.

“We had guys catching passes down the field and out of the backfield,” said wide receiver Steve Breaston, who led the team in targets (six) and receptions (four). “It was just really balanced.”

Screens and swings were a major part of the Chiefs aerial attack with running backs combining to post eight catches for 71 yards.

A 27-yard screen pass to running back Thomas Jones was a perfect combination of Orton’s play-fake ability mixing with screen pass execution. Jones took the pass down to the Green Bay four-yard line to setup a first-and-goal on the game’s opening possession.

“We were in sync on offense and we were able to run a lot of the same plays over and over again,” Jones said. “When you get into an offensive rhythm, you can just feel it.”

The only hole in Orton’s performance was Red Zone efficiency.

Orton completed just one-of-six pass attempts for eight yards inside Green Bay’s 20-yard line as the Chiefs converted only one of their five red zone visits into touchdowns.

Five of Orton’s eight total incomplete passes came on red zone snaps and Dwayne Bowe received just one red zone target. Bowe has been held out of the end zone since hauling in two touchdown receptions on October 9th at Indianapolis.

“We got down there but we didn’t get touchdowns,” head coach Romeo Crennel said. “We have to try to get touchdowns when we get to the red zone, which will become critical for us in the next couple of weeks here so we have to try to get that done.”

Kansas City called 10 run plays and six passes inside Green Bay’s 20-yard line.

However, outside of the red zone inefficiency, Orton’s starting debut was the most impressive team-wide passing effort the Chiefs have seen in quite some time.

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