Kansas City Chiefs OL Struggles Against San Francisco 49ers Friday Night

BJ Kissel@bkissel7Contributor IAugust 17, 2013

Aug 16, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Parys Lemonier (98) is called for a foul against Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

If you caught any part of the Kansas City Chiefs game against the San Francisco 49ers on Friday night, there's a good chance you saw their offensive line struggle. 

They gave up seven sacks and allowed eight quarterback hits on the night. The only good news from those numbers is that all of Kansas City's quarterbacks got out alive. 

Chiefs starting quarterback Alex Smith was sacked three times in the first half and finished the game 7-16 for 62 yards. Despite all that pressure, Smith didn't turn the ball over. So if you're looking for some silver lining from an offensive standpoint, that's one way of looking at it. 

There's only so much you can take from this game because each team approached the game in different ways. They are evaluating different aspects of their team. The 49ers brought a lot more pressure than the Chiefs saw from the New Orleans Saints last week. The 49ers blitzed guys from all over the place. Cornerback Perrish Cox led the 49ers with two sacks on the night. 

The Chiefs didn't see the Saints blitzing their cornerbacks last week. It's ultimately a good thing if they learn from their mistakes, and it's something they're going to need to work on before next week. Better to learn from it now as opposed to the regular season, when the games really matter in regards to team success.

The next game for the Chiefs is August 24 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. It's also the last time the starters will all get a chance to play together before the season begins on September 8 in Jacksonville. Generally, the starters don't play very much in the fourth preseason game. 

This play below shows one of the many ways the 49ers got pressure on the quarterbacks.

It's a simple stunt from the defensive end, who gets a path cleared by the defensive tackle who crosses the left guard's face and creates contact with the left tackle. The defensive end then loops underneath and has a clear path to the quarterback. 

The offensive line's continuity is extremely important in these cases. The left guard, Jeff Allen, must see the defensive end coming underneath. If he's too late to recognize this, he's already beat and anything short of a hold is going to result in a broken play. 

You can see that Allen's feet were caught in the wrong position once the defensive end dipped his shoulders to drive towards the quarterback. It's as much about recognizing it as it is having your body in position to react. 

Offensive linemen passing off one rusher to another on a play like this takes time and repetition. It's just the preseason, but this play is now on tape for the entire league to see. There's a good chance teams will continue to run this kind of stunt at these same two players. 

This next play is a simple stretch play to the outside with running back Knile Davis.  

Branden Albert attempts a cut block on the backside defensive end. Jeff Allen is immediately taken to the ground at the line of scrimmage and center Rodney Hudson is driven back almost a yard into the backfield before Davis even has the ball. 

In that middle shot you can see where the line of scrimmage (blue line) is compared to where a good number of 49ers bodies have gotten into the backfield. 

The Chiefs' abilities to protect their quarterback and run the football are paramount for there to be any kind of success with this team in 2013. While it's true that Jamaal Charles didn't play in this game, there needs to come a time when the offense can still find success without him on the field.

If the offensive line can't protect the quarterback, it won't matter if Charles is on the field anyway. Heading into their game next week in Pittsburgh, all eyes should be on the offensive line. They got a dose of reality when they played a team that was scheming to get pressure on the quarterback, and they didn't handle it well. 

Hopefully this game only showed them what they need to spend more time working on and not a bigger issue that will be exploited all season long. 

We'll find out next week.

You can follow BJ on twitter at @bkissel7. 


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