Going into this weekend’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, my biggest concern was the Chiefs ability to stop the run and their ability to contain Colin Kaepernick. Unfortunately, both of those fears came to fruition.
Due to the injuries to Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito, the Chiefs ability to stop the run has been a major concern. To this point, it almost seemed this concern was misguided. Unfortunately, Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde and their combined 150 yards rushing and 5.1 yards per carry demonstrated that this is still a real problem area for the Chiefs.
One could argue that this was just a poor game for the defense, but when you look closely at the last 3 games the problem still showed itself. In week 2 versus the Broncos, the defense only gave up 60 yards to Montee Ball, but Ball also had 5 yards per carry in this game. He has only averaged 2.6 yards per carry in his other 3 games this season. In week 3, the defense made Lamar Miller look like a star, but his success was easy to forget because of a win and his only having 15 carries with no touchdowns. Still, Miller averaged 7.2 yards per carry in this game. Last week against the New England Patriots the Chiefs offense made it difficult for the Patriots to get their running game going at all.
With a quick look at the stat line, it appears that the Chiefs were able to address my second concern as Colin Kaepernick only had 18 yars rushing. The problem was that while he may not have gained a ton of yards on the positive side of the line of scrimmage, his work behind it was a killer. Kaepernick’s ability to buy time and find guys open (or throw nonsense to Brandon Lloyd) created several problems on third down for the Chiefs. Every time they seemed to shut the 49ers offense down, Kaepernick was able to do just enough to get the job done.
Fortunately, outside of Russell Wilson, the Chiefs won’t have to face another mobile quarterback this year. Additionally, outside of Marshall Lynch the Chiefs don’t face any big name backs the rest of the season. That doesn’t mean that the weakness shouldn’t be addressed, but it may go a long way in helping them get through the rest of the season.