The Chiefs are ranked 16th in total defense, ninth against the pass and 24th against the run. Don’t let those numbers fool you. Even without Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry, the Chiefs defense has played well this season after a rough start.
The Chiefs defense was ranked dead last in the league after giving up 89 points in the first two games of the season to the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions. Since then, Kansas City’s defense has improved and are now ranked 11th in points given up per game.
Brandon Flowers’ name as an underrated cornerback has finally evaporated now that he has received some Pro Bowl votes. Tamba Hali was also noticed as one of the more dangerous pass-rushers in the league after leading the AFC in sacks last season. Recently, Hali has had some help from rookie Justin Houston by providing a pass rush on the opposite end of the linebacker position.
Since changing to the 3-4 defense, the Chiefs have played better. Adding an accomplished Romeo Crennel the following year as the defensive coordinator only made things better.
The biggest issue with the defense this year is that their offense has not helped them out. Kansas City’s offense has not played well when it comes to time of possession of the football. The Chiefs defense has been on the field longer than the offense in 2011.
On paper, the Chiefs defense looks bad when you see that they gave up 31 points against the Miami Dolphins, 34 points to the New England Patriots and 37 points to the New York Jets. However, anyone who watched those games know that the Chiefs defense did everything early in the game to make sure their team was in position to take the lead and have full control of the game.
The Dolphins had a 14-3 lead at halftime over the Chiefs. The Patriots had a 10-3 lead over the Chiefs at halftime. And the Jets had a 28-3 lead over the Chiefs at halftime.
The most notable game where the Chiefs defense shined was against the Patriots, where Tom Brady was sacked three times and fumbled once in the first quarter. However, the Chiefs only came away with three points in the first quarter, which ended up being their only set of points on the game during the Monday Night Football bore.
The Chiefs offense made no adjustments in the second half of these games. That forced their defense to play more minutes as they got worn out with snap after snap.
Last week against the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers, the Chiefs offense, under a new quarterback, had the football for 36 minutes and 11 seconds. This kept Aaron Rodgers on the field for only 23 minutes and 49 seconds. The Chiefs defense limited Rodgers in what he could do. This allowed the offense to drive through the Packers defense, which was the ultimate reason as to why the Chiefs pulled away with the upset.
What if Kyle Orton and the Chiefs offense continue to play well together? How much will that make an impact on the defense?
Orton completed 74 percent of his passes last week to keep his offense on the field longer than Rodgers’ offense. These next two games for the Chiefs are huge while they try to make the postseason. If the offense plays well, the defense has an opportunity to shine and play like they are the best defense in the league.
One of those games will come against Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who, as we all know, has been praised as one of the best quarterbacks this season. When the Chiefs and Broncos played earlier this season, Tebow completed only two passes, but it was good enough as one of them resulted in a touchdown. That touchdown play was good enough for the Broncos to walk away with a road win. Kansas City will get a second shot at Tebow in Week 17.
When Berry returns and if the Chiefs add some quality defensive players through the draft and free agency, offensive coordinators will spend countless hours planning around the Chiefs defense in 2012. The Chiefs defense will be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.