It is fair to say that Kansas City is known for its explosive offense. On the defensive side, not so much. The last few years have been a struggle on that side of the ball, especially in 2018.
In the AFC Championship against the Patriots, the defense was part of why they ended up losing. When you look back at some of the stats from that season, Kansas City was 27th in the league defending the run and allowed 132 rushing yards per game.
During the 2019 regular season, the Chiefs were at the bottom of the league in stopping the run. While they improved from the year before, the Chiefs still ranked 26th in the league. They also allowed 128 rushing yards per game, a stat that haunted them.
However, during the postseason is when their defense stepped it up. The Chiefs contained a dynamic running team in the Superbowl, and we all know the rest of the story.
This season was kind of the same, but they are slowly improving in that area every season. The “lesser half” of the team finished 2020 as the 21st ranked defense in run stoppage, allowing 122 yards per game in that category.
When Kansas City found out who their opponent would be for the second round, fans quivered at the thought of Cleveland running all over Kansas City. Luckily, this defense stepped it up and got the job done.
Chiefs Run Defense Against Cleveland
Coming into this game, everyone knew that Cleveland would have a chance to expose Kansas City on defense. Let’s face it, the running defense has shown moments of atrociousness.
With Cleveland being ranked as the third-best running team in the regular season, there was no way the Chiefs could contain them. Well, if you’re like me, and you thought that we are wrong.
With the best pair of running backs in the league in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Cleveland has a chance to run all over teams. Chubb finished with 1,067 yards in just 12 games, and Hunt finished with 841 in 16 games.
The two combined for a total of 18 touchdowns, one more than Derrick Henry himself. However, that is four more than the Chiefs have allowed all season.
Kansas City does not give up the big plays often and ranked 10th during the regular season of rushing touchdowns allowed. However, that is not what makes this run defense terrible.
It’s the way they give up rushing yards, coming after big plays, or even on third downs when they could be getting off of the field. While the third and fourth down defense was bad at times during this game, they stepped up and made plays.
Kansas City held both running backs under 100 yards and had several stops at the line. They even had a few that lead to Cleveland having to throw on the next play. In addition, the Chiefs held the Browns under their season average of 148 rushing yards a game, with 112 in this one.
While the defense did their part, they won’t have to worry about the run as much next week. Buffalo doesn’t run much, and that may favor Kansas City on Sunday.
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