The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs’ protection have been capable of do one thing within the playoffs that the Los Angeles Chargers couldn’t, and that was to mitigate the Jacksonville Jaguars’ passing offense by pressuring the quarterback.
Trevor Lawrence solely accomplished 61.5% of his passes for 217 yards within the divisional spherical, ending with a 74.4 quarterback ranking. Within the wild-card matchup in opposition to the Chargers in that historic comeback win, Lawrence threw 6.1 yards per try, and in opposition to the Chiefs, that quantity dropped to five.6 yards per try.
The Chiefs’ protection needed to deliver the strain, in order that they introduced a blitz on 22% of the dropbacks, and hit the quarterback seven instances. Kansas Metropolis’s protection grabbed one interception, sacked Lawrence twice, and solely allowed him to throw one landing.
It appeared just like the Chiefs’ defenders have been all over the place unexpectedly, and that’s precisely what head coach Andy Reid thought after the sport:
“I assumed from the defensive backs to the line of defense to the linebackers, I assumed everybody was flying round making performs. Once more my hat goes off to the blokes, they have been unimaginable on third downs and second downs they only performed an amazing sport all the way in which round. “
The query now could be if the Chiefs’ move rush can get to Joe Burrow with a view to decelerate the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense within the upcoming AFC Championship sport. Burrow is taking part in at a ridiculous degree proper now, in order that’ll be Job One if the Chiefs need to vault the Bengals to the Tremendous Bowl.
How the Chiefs put Trevor Lawrence in a small field.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports activities
Of their final matchup, again in week 10, Lawrence threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns.
So, the Chiefs’ defensive plan was to close the Jaguars’ offense down early. To open final week’s sport, the Chiefs blitzed on the primary three performs forcing the Jaguars to go three-and-out.
It’s nice to see a younger quarterback stand within the pocket and take successful whereas letting go of the ball, however there have been instances the place Lawrence was taking hits unnecessarily.
The Chiefs have been even bringing simulated strain. As an alternative of utilizing further move rushers, they’d have some gamers creep up after which drop again. Within the clip beneath, their defensive finish George Karlaftis dropped into protection, and so they introduced L’Jarius Sneed from the secondary to move rush.
As an alternative of Lawrence stepping up and avoiding the strain, he simply stands there and takes successful whereas throwing it.
In fact, there have been instances the place the blocking for Lawrence failed which resulted in a sack. However the level is that the Chiefs shall be going through off in opposition to a very totally different quarterback in Joe Burrow.
A quarterback who performed behind a number of the worst offensive line blocking, and nonetheless made it work. Burrow is a seasoned pocket passer.
The Chiefs obtained strain on 29.5% of Lawrence’s complete dropbacks, however solely 7% of their pressures got here and not using a blitz. If the Chiefs can’t deliver down Lawrence, who solely rushed the ball twice earlier than six minutes left within the fourth quarter, how do they anticipate to deliver down Burrow?
Nicely, it received’t be simple.
Attending to Joe Burrow.
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports activities
Of their final matchup, a 27-24 Week 13 sport in Cincinnati’s favor, Burrow was solely sacked as soon as, which was the identical variety of instances Burrow was sacked in final week’s sport in opposition to the Payments. And the Payments had the NFL’s fourth-best protection, per Soccer Outsiders.
One sack received’t be sufficient if the Chiefs’ protection needs to restrict the Bengals offense. Here’s what Andy Reid needed to say when requested about Burrow within the pocket,
“He’s a robust child, he’s elusive it’s a must to be sure to wrap him up, Chris in all probability stated it the perfect, he was on the market working it, so yeah, he’s a heck of a soccer participant.“
Of their final matchup, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo introduced 5 move rushers, and Burrow was nonetheless capable of finding an open participant.
Again in week 13, Burrow had a whopping 11 carries for 46 yards and one landing. Final week in opposition to the Payments, Burrow rushed six instances for 31 yards on the bottom.
He runs it solely when mandatory. Burrow is eleventh in dashing yards (291), however sixth in complete first downs (31) when utilizing his legs, per SIS.
He’s nonetheless at his finest when utilizing his arm.
The Chiefs should swap up the blitzes, like they did in opposition to the Jaguars, in the event that they need to get to Burrow, nevertheless it shouldn’t be an enormous a part of their gameplan.
In week 13, in opposition to the Chiefs blitz, Burrow went 7-for-8 for 54 yards and had one landing and 0 interceptions. General, when going through strain, Burrow is tied for third in touchdowns, with 9, and has the second highest quarterback ranking 85.3, per SIS.
In line with Professional Soccer Focus, Burrow has the third finest completion share when going through strain, 55.3%. Between Justin Herbert (56.0%) and Daniel Jones (53.5%).
The Chiefs are higher off taking part in their dime protection and stopping the deep ball. Chiefs have the perfect EPA (-23.10) when working a dime protection, with 6+ defensive backs. Burrow and the Bengals have a 55.3 completion share when going through six defensive backs or extra, and a -3.92 EPA, which is 21st within the league.
If the Chiefs get to Burrow within the AFC championship sport, it’s prone to be the results of profitable one-on-ones. It ought to be a battle within the trenches and whichever offense has the ball final, is perhaps the one to return away with the win!
Count on a combat all sport lengthy.