Chiefs Flashed New Dimensions on Offense Against Chargers

KC may have the best offense in the league, but a few tweaks could make it even better.

With all the personnel changes that the Kansas City Chiefs had on offense this offseason, it was expected that it would take time to develop their identity on that side of the ball. With that in mind, earlier in the season, they ran much of the same stuff the football world has seen over the last few years. 

While the offense hasn’t drastically changed from what it usually looks like, some tweaks and improvements were made against the Los Angeles Chargers that Kansas City should continue to implement during the rest of the season.

Utilizing Skyy Moore

Against the Chargers, Skyy Moore played his most snaps of the season so far. The second-round rookie had been underwhelming up to that point during his young NFL career. However, due to injuries to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman, Moore saw the field and showed why the Chiefs drafted him.

Moore logged at least double the catches, yards and targets on Sunday than any other game in his rookie season. Yet, his first catch looked like most of the plays he has been in on this year. He was on the backside of a 3×1 formation, supposed to occupy a defender. Instead, on this third down, Patrick Mahomes got to his final progression in Moore and trusted him on a big down to come up with the grab.

That play led to Andy Reid and the coaching staff giving the rookie more opportunities throughout the rest of the game. He was able to display the talent and ability that was shown on his college tape. Moore was beating defenders off the line of scrimmage with his smooth release, creating separation with his developed route running ability and bringing some short-area quickness that the Chiefs lacked.

Hopefully, Moore showed enough on Sunday night in Los Angeles to earn more playing time. His skill set can significantly boost the Chiefs’ offense as it gets later in the season.

Gap and power runs

The Chiefs’ run game has been lackluster this season, to say the least. There have only been two games that Kansas City ran the ball at a high level: against Tampa Bay earlier in the season and in Week 11 against the Chargers. According to Pro Football Focus, the Chiefs had 13 gap runs against Tampa Bay and 10 a few days ago against the Chargers — the only two times they went over double digits on those types of runs.

Since the bye week, the Chiefs have made rookie Isiah Pacheco their primary running back. Now that Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been placed on injured reserve, it will be the Pacheco show moving forward. On Sunday night, the team got a glimpse of what that would look like, and the rookie had his first career 100-yard game.

Pacheco’s burst and acceleration were displayed as he racked up 7.1 yards per carry against the Chargers. He is a one-cut-and-go runner. Once he sees the hole, he will cut and hit that open lane. Gap runs fit that style, and Pacheco’s success with it was obvious as he ran more gap plays than zone against Los Angeles. The Chiefs must continue the trend of more gap runs than zone runs in order to have a more balanced offensive attack moving forward.

Slant and drag routes

Travis Kelce’s two fourth-quarter touchdowns last week came against man coverage. Not only was that the case, but both were drag routes. Drag routes may be short, but they are perfect against man. They allow the offensive player to escape their defender and create separation. As such, Kelce could do that both times and then add yards after the catch to get into the endzone.

Another route that can accomplish the same thing is a slant route. Slants are designed to cut more upfield than drags, but both have the idea of gaining separation from a man coverage defender.

On the game’s first drive, the Chiefs had Jody Fortson line up isolated in a 3×1 set. Fortson ran a quick slant, and Mahomes hit him in stride for the easy first down. Fortson is a bigger body, so his yards-after-catch ability is limited. However, putting a player like Toney or Moore on that route could lead to them breaking one for a long gain or even a touchdown.

These routes should be called more often if opposing teams continue to play man coverage at an extremely high rate against the Chiefs. Letting their skill players win off the line of scrimmage and then make a play after the catch is the way to go.

Read More: Chiefs Injury Updates on Clyde Edwards-Helaire, JuJu Smith-Schuster