The Kansas City Chiefs were playing at home. Officially, the Chiefs were favored to win by three or four points. The Chiefs finished 10-6 last year and hosted a wild card playoff game.
The Bills finished 4-12, in the basement of the AFC East.
At the end of this first game, on the road, the Bills walked out of Arrowhead Stadium winners by a score of 41-7.
The problem with this game, as far as the Chiefs are concerned, was twofold. The defense was soft and seemed sluggish. The fact that it spent 37 minutes on the field, compared to 22 minutes for the offense, did not help.
The other problem was that the Chiefs did not run the ball. Jamaal Charles averaged 5.6 yards per carry—a great performance by any measure. However, Charles only carried the ball 10 times. Dexter McCluster averaged 10.5 yards per carry—an outstanding mark. But McCluster only carried the ball and grand total of four times.
Who comes up with a game plan for a team that led the NFL in running the ball last season, by a good margin, and in that game plan, the ball is passed twice as much as it is run? Rushing plays 18, passing plays 36.
And here is the glaring stat that shows how bad that game plan was: Those 36 pass attempts netted 105 yards. The 18 rushing attempts, yes half as many, netted 108 yards.
We can all imagine what the outcome of this game might have been had the offensive coordinator and the head coach swapped the numbers for running and passing plays. How much time would the Chiefs defense have spent on the field had the offense ran the ball 36 times and gained 216 yards on the ground?
You do not have to be a genius to figure out what would have happened to the defense of the Bills had it spent the amount of time and effort that it takes to try and stop a 200-yard rushing effort.
You do not have to be a genius to figure out how differently the Chiefs defense may have played had it spent something like 20-25 minutes on the field instead of 37.
Good coaching makes good use of a team’s strengths. Good coaching forces the other team stop what you do best. Good coaching allows players to succeed by giving them a game plan that promotes their particular talent.
The Chiefs go on the road now against two teams that they can beat, if they do what they do best: run the ball down their throat.
Is this Chiefs team in trouble one game into the new season? No! But they have to play the game that this team was built to play.
When the passing game averages 2.8 yards per play and you dedicate two-thirds of your offense to the pass, you are handing your opponent the best gift you can give them.
When your two premier running backs average seven yards per carry and you only give them one-fourth of your offense, you are choking your own team.
The Detroit Lions were in the bottom third of the NFL against the rush last season. The Chiefs were the best rushing team in the NFL.
Do you get it Todd Haley? Do you get it Bill Muir?
I get it. So will everyone else who reads this article.