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Rewind: San Francisco Take Five

Posted Sep 27, 2010

Revisiting our five focal points from pre-game

Prior to kickoff vs. San Francisco, we outlined five things to watch. Let’s revisit those five focal points and see what we can take away from the Chiefs churning out their first 3-0 start since 2003.

After beginning the season with a 2-0 record, the Chiefs will aim to win three-straight games for the first time since 2006; the last season in which Kansas City was a playoff participant. The challenge in breaking a three-season cycle without back-to-back-to-back wins will be a tough one as San Francisco comes into Arrowhead determined to right their season.

Here are five things to watch should the Chiefs wish to enter the bye week with a perfect 3-0 record.

1)   Red Zone Efficiency

We looked at the Chiefs Red Zone struggles on Friday afternoon in Removing the Ugly. While the Chiefs are one of only several teams with a perfect Red Zone scoring efficiently, just 25% of those scores have been touchdowns. Eventually, the lack of TDs in Red Zone opportunities will catch up with the team.

Todd Haley said earlier this week that he simply wants more Red Zone visits. Charlie Weis indicated that he wanted to successfully run the football when inside the 20. However they do it, the Chiefs will need to take advantage of their scoring opportunities against the 49ers.

Both Haley and Weis achieved their pre-game goals against San Francisco. The Chiefs found themselves in the Red Zone on four separate occasions, which was a seasonal high, and the offense scored TDs on two of those trips. One of those TDs came via the ground game.

Overall, Kansas City was able to put up 17 points in their four Red Zone visits; yet another seasonal high.

2)   Matching Up with Vernon

The tight end position was an area that the 2009 Chiefs struggled to defend. Thus far in 2010, tight ends have been a significant source of offensive output against the Chiefs with 11 catches for 166 yards and a TD. Kansas City’s young secondary has already been tested by one of the game’s best tight ends (Antonio Gates); they’ll see another one this afternoon.

Though the Chiefs locker room never acknowledged Vernon Davis’ pre-game “guarantee,” Kansas City’s fan base definitely did. The fact that Davis turned in just three catches for 22 yards in a lop-sided defeat only made things sweeter for some of the KC faithful.

“To be honest, we didn’t even acknowledge that quote,” CB Brandon Flowers said. “He was trying to fire his team up, I don’t blame him for that.”

Whether or not you were fired up from what Davis had to say, holding a player with his ability to such pedestrian numbers has to get you excited.

3)   No TDs After Sudden Change

The Chiefs have been superb in the aftermath of turnovers, outscoring their opponents 17-0 in points off gives in 2010. Eventually, an opponent is going to score, but that doesn’t mean they have to count by seven.

Give the Chiefs a 1000% in this category. In a scoreless second quarter, it took Kansas City’s defense just three plays to answer a 49ers interception with one of their own. Then, on the first snap following Brandon Flowers’ INT, Matt Cassel found Dexter McCluster for a 31-yard TD to take a 7-0 lead.

The Chiefs would then lead the rest of the way.

4)   Run So Far Away…

Kansas City owns the NFL’s fifth-best rushing attack with an average of 137.5 yards per game. The Chiefs style of play favors a ground game that can grind out the clock and pair with a salty defense. The identity of this offense has been all about the run thus far; that’s going to need to continue until the Chiefs passing game is able to take off.

207 yards on the ground.

NFL’s top rushing offense at 160.7 yards per game.

5)   Return Scores + Turnovers

Todd Haley rattled off a statistic a few weeks ago, noting that teams which register return scores and turnover victories in the same game, win over 90% of the time. So far, the Chiefs have built a 2-0 record behind TDs from the defense and special teams, all while not losing the turnover battle.

If the Chiefs can get a return score today, plus finish positive or even in the turnover department, chances are that Kansas City will be 3-0 heading into the bye week.

There weren’t any return scores and the Chiefs didn’t win the turnover battle, but they didn’t lose it either. Both teams finished even in the turnover department with one each.

What the Chiefs did do, however, was tally seven points off the 49ers’ giveaways. That now puts Kansas City at a 24-0 scoring advantage over their opponents in points off turnovers; a major reason that this team is undefeated.

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