The Jets seemingly had no answer to the Chiefs' offensive gameplan, as they were able to put together extended drives, control field position and never allowed the Jets to establish any kind of offensive rhythm.
How can that be, when the Jets had the long week to prepare? Oddly enough, the Chiefs may have, in a way, exploited the fact that the Jets were too prepared...
The Chiefs smartly broke a couple of runs on obvious tendency-breakers where the play was set up like it was going up the middle and then cut back the other way and bounced outside. In doing so, they capitalized on the Jets' over-aggressiveness. The Jets may have correctly read keys from the previous games, only for the Chiefs to have changed up the gameplan, making them able to seal defenders on the inside.
This seemed to be a pattern most of the day, as the Jets overran plays or were caught out of position. Screen passes out to the flat were particularly effective, with the Jets unable to get off blocks on the outside or through traffic to pursue across from the middle of the field. There was one player in particular that the Chiefs went after…
Linebackers - The Chief culprit
On the face of it, there was a lot to be positive about from the performance of Darron Lee in his first game as an every-down linebacker. Lee led the team in tackles, had half a sack, made two tackles in the backfield and blew up a play with an open field tackle in the flat. He is hesitating less, exploding to the ball when not blocked and closing well to make solid tackles on the ball carrier.
However, the Chiefs were able to exploit Lee several times, as he overran plays, took bad angles and got caught up on blocks. Their only offensive touchdown of the day came as they executed a rub route causing Lee to almost collide with his own man and creating enough separation for Travis Kelce to beat him across the field and turn the corner to get to the pylon.
Lee's talent and athleticism is evident, but it's also clear that he isn't completely comfortable with his role yet and, on an aggressive defense which often exposes players to one-on-one match-ups such a mistake can be particularly costly. Hopefully he's on the way to becoming a very good player, but while he's learning on the job like this, we're going to have to expect teams to take advantage of him from time to time.
David Harris had a tough time alongside him too. Maybe his role is made more difficult when a bigger player like Erin Henderson is not taking on blockers alongside him. Harris took a bad angle to end up caught inside on the touchdown run that was overturned by the replay booth, was blocked out of a couple of other plays and gave up a couple of first downs in coverage, including one where he was dragged past the marker. Harris stuffed a couple of runs and had one pressure.
On the outside, we got our first look at Jordan Jenkins and the youngster looked the part. Unlike Lee, he looks comfortable in coverage, although he did give up a short first down and was blocked out on one screen pass. Jenkins made a nice open field tackle in the flat and was in on a stop in the backfield. Interestingly, he rushed the passer just three times in 30 snaps.
Lorenzo Mauldin hasn't made a great start to the season, but he's producing here and there. He had half a sack and a pressure on an inside move in this game. However, he lost contain badly when he was caught inside on one run.
Defensive Line - Dominating play up front has no impact on result
The Chiefs' running backs each entered the game averaging over six yards per carry, but the Jets' run defense was dominant, led by the guys up front. The Chiefs averaged just 2.7 yards per carry, something made all the more remarkable by the fact that Spencer Ware broke runs of 17, 16 and 13 yards. Other than on those three plays, Ware had just 29 yards on 17 carries and the Chiefs as a team averaged just 1.1 yards per carry. Still those breakdowns would cost the Jets in the end. Sheldon Richardson lost contain on a pitch to the outside on one play and Muhammad Wilkerson was controlled and blocked to the ground by Mitchell Schwartz in a manner you'll hardly ever see on the negated touchdown.
Leonard Williams was the most dominant lineman this week, although he did pad his stats with some less-meaningful plays down the stretch. He had half a sack, a couple of pressures, two tackles for loss and a couple more runs that he blew up with penetration. He was driven off the line on one first half play though.
Richardson also got credit for a couple of pressures and half a sack and was in on a handful of tackles near the line of scrimmage, including a couple in the backfield. He was disruptive on the bull rush and shooting gaps in the running game, but there were a few plays where he didn't keep playing to the whistle as the pile kept moving. That was disappointing to see.
The Chiefs seemed to make a concerted effort to run away from Wilkerson but he still had three tackles near the line, including one for a loss. He was also the main reason the Jets were able to stuff the Chiefs on 4th-and-short, as he penetrated into the backfield. However, he was driven off the line a couple of times and jumped offside. As a pass rusher, he got into the backfield a couple of times and was credited with one quarterback hit but it wasn't one of his more productive performances as the Chiefs did a good job of getting rid of the ball quickly most of the time.
Nose tackle Steve McLendon was also guilty of jumping offside, but penetrated well a few times, drawing a hold early on and helping to blow up the 4th down play mentioned above. McLendon was driven off the line once and blocked to the ground on a rare successful short-yardage conversion.
Lawrence Thomas and Jarvis Jenkins each saw brief action without having much impact, but Deon Simon made the most of his relief reps at nose tackle. He got good penetration on two plays, one of which saw him shed his blocker to stuff the run for no gain.
Defensive Backs - Jets sunk by the dink and dunk
Despite only completing one pass more than 10 yards down the field all day, the Chiefs were able to keep the chains moving to put together some extended scoring drives in the first half. They had particular success with wide receiver screens, picking off the Jets defensive backs in space effectively, much as the Bengals had in week one.
For once, Darrelle Revis wasn't burned deep in this game. However, it's difficult to feel any more confident that he's back to his old self based on this performance. He gave up a third down conversion on a play where he was out-muscled by youngster Chris Conley and two other first downs on plays where he was playing too far off and - ominously - wasn't able to break back to the ball quickly enough to recover. He also missed a tackle on the outside, although he did make an excellent open field tackle on one play.
Buster Skrine had more success, blowing up a screen pass and making two third down tackles short of the marker. He gave up one first down on a play where he got caught inside on a screen pass, but was in good position on one other incompletion.
Marcus Williams only gave up one first down, but he had a bad missed tackle on that play and there were two others where he was half-beaten deep and got lucky that the pass was not completed.
When Revis was poked in the eye, rookie Juston Burris saw his first action on defense as he stepped in for him for a few plays on the outside. The Chiefs went after Burris once and he was able to disrupt the pass over the top. However, the receiver had half a step on him and a better pass likely would have gone for a long gain.
I wonder if Calvin Pryor is a bit banged-up because he left the field a few times and looked a little sluggish at times, notably on one play where the tight end beat him across the field for a 42-yard gain. He did well to get in on the fourth down stop though.
Both Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist had troubles with getting off blocks and Gilchrist also seemed to find himself too deep in coverage a couple of times, although that might not be his fault. He also missed a tackle, but was responsible for a key play that kept the Jets in the game for longer than they probably deserved when his hit helped force the fumble and resulting touchback that negated an apparent touchdown.
After a badly blown coverage last week, Rontez Miles bounced back this week with good coverage on one play and a tackle for loss on the outside in relief of Pryor. Antonio Allen also saw his first action on defense since his return, entering the game on the outside at cornerback on his first snap, although he was matched up on a tight end.