They spread out our 3-4 defense a few times to where our OLB would line up over a slot WR with a safety behind him. This left 3 big guys to rush the quarterback, affording Alex Smith plenty of time. The only reason I can think of for this is we were trying to avoid crack blocks and also jam guys at the line so they couldn’t run their staple of “mesh” routes. Otherwise it was our regular 3-4 and Nickel the whole way except for one 3-3-5 we broke out on a 3rd down.
The Story: The first 3 drives ended in punts before the mismatches came into play. Fuller got stuck defending the run against tight ends and our 3-4 got spread out, shown above, which negated the pass rush.
Inside backer play was up and down. Brown and Spaight played like Pro Bowlers in the box, but they struggled in space with Brown having two left feet in coverage and Spaight missing open field tackles.
With a bye week approaching guys were hitting hard and selling out their bodies; big hits were followed by injuries to the back seven. Then the penalties came which cost us 7 points to open the second half. The snap count hit 76 (20 snaps more than previous weeks) and mental errors crept in as fatigue set over the last two drives. Uncharacteristic gaffes like Brown’s over-pursuit on outside zone and McClain tipping a stunt cost us two field goals.
Finally on the last drive Kerrigan blew contain which lead to a 37 yard play and Spaight voided underneath coverage for another 10 yard gimmie and that was enough to set up the field goal that put KC ahead 23-20.
Kerrigan’s first negative finish is due in large part to a failed pass rush that did not keep contain. He chose the right rush: Bull rush, but couldn’t disengage the RT before Alex Smith broke the pocket. That’s giving valuable extra time with a back seven reeling from injuries and fatigue.
Preston Smith would have graded out in the positive if not for penalties. The one at the goal line turned 3 points into 7 and earned him a -4. So both star ends would have had decent to good days if not for the bonehead plays.
Ziggy Hood’s negative total was a product of him get worked by their center. It’s one thing for a double team to get you, but when your nose can’t handle the center one on one that’s trouble since doubles can be doled out to guys on either side of him.
Matt Ioannidis diagnosed plays early and often. Against Philly he was the lone lineman to diagnose the trap blocking and last week he was the quickest to read the Shovel pass option play that KC loves to run: