Cowboys vs. Chiefs: Live Grades and Analysis for Kansas City
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
A second-half surge by the Kansas City Chiefs propelled Andy Reid's team to a nail-biting victory in its home opener.
Kansas City: 17
|Positional Unit||1st Half Grade||Final Grade|
vs. Cowboys Week 2
Game analysis for the Kansas City Chiefs
Pass Offense: The Cowboys routinely brought a safety in the box, fearing no ramifications in the form of vertical passing. Alex Smith finally stretched the field on a third-down conversion in the third quarter, kick-starting a more efficient aerial attack throughout the remainder of the game. Considering how atrocious the pass-blocking was, No. 11 performed admirably.
Run Offense: The offensive line was constantly bullied. Potential running lanes closed in the blink of an eye, and Dallas' front seven rocketed through the line on most handoffs. Alex Smith was far and away the Chiefs' most effective ground threat until late in the fourth quarter. Jamaal Charles demoralized Dallas' run defense during Kansas City's final drive and helped seal the victory.
Run Defense: Kansas City's run support proved to be the only semblance of consistency for the Chiefs. Mike DeVito, Dontari Poe and Tyson Jackson stonewalled Dallas' offensive line, which capped off DeMarco Murray's efforts at 12 carries for 25 yards.
Pass Defense: Dez Bryant eclipsed the century mark on the opening play of the half, but Bob Sutton refused to double him. Well-timed corner blitzes helped the Chiefs generate pressure in the second half, and Romo's accuracy gradually regressed throughout the fourth quarter.
Special Teams: A blocked field goal remained the sole blemish for the special teams unit. Ryan Succop later nailed a 40-yard attempt (his only other opportunity). Colquitt masterfully booted a punt that was downed at Dallas' 4-yard line with 16 seconds remaining in the game.
Coaching: Andy Reid's play-calling was handcuffed by shoddy pass protection. The hurry-up offense created a variety of issues for the Kansas City defense throughout the afternoon, ultimately resulting in burned timeouts and long gains. Bob Sutton's repeated gambling sprouted its fair share of pros and cons.
First-half analysis for the Kansas City Chiefs
Pass Offense: The offensive line struggled to repel Dallas' pass rush, especially following Branden Albert's brief departure (he returned). When Alex Smith was spared a decent pocket and not under constant duress, he efficiently picked apart the coverage.
Run Offense: Kansas City's opening touchdown drive stemmed from a steady diet of rushes by Smith—some by design (read-option), others not. Jamaal Charles only cradled four handoffs for eight yards and couldn't find any creases. He was constantly harassed in the backfield.
Run Defense: Kansas City's front seven consistently suffocated DeMarco Murray at the line of scrimmage. Dallas' starter was limited to 16 yards on eight attempts. Dontari Poe dominated the line of scrimmage (again), and his cohorts maintained gap discipline throughout the first half.
Pass Defense: Dez Bryant physically imposed his will on Brandon Flowers through much of the first half. The Chiefs pass rush hasn't been able to mirror its Week 1 potency, which has left Kansas City's defensive backs stranded on islands. If the defense fails to manufacture pressure in the second half, Tony Romo will continue to dissect the secondary.
Special Teams: Initially, the special teams were clicking. Dustin Colquitt sniped a number of punts that pinned the Cowboys deep in their own territory, and Dexter McCluster provided the Chiefs with favorable field position after a 20-yard punt return. However, a blocked field goal spoiled any hopes of the Chiefs tying the contest before halftime.
Coaching: Andy Reid methodically spread out Dallas' defense, but couldn't stop the bleeding in Kansas City's pass protection. Also, penalty-negating timeouts left Smith with only one during Kansas City's two-minute offense. Bob Sutton somewhat regressed to a more conservative play-calling philosophy after a handful of highlights by Dallas' passing attack.
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