KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It’s the elephant in the room that’s not drawing a lot of attention through five games.
Overlooking the issue is likely a product of a 5-0 start behind a dominant defense, but the Chiefs offense will eventually need to step up as the season progresses.
Of the four trips the Chiefs made inside the Tennessee Titans 20-yard line on Sunday, the team came away with a touchdown once on running back Jamaal Charles’ 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The other three times resulted in Ryan Succop field goals.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid made it a point during Monday’s media session to say the offensive efficiency is an area to improve.
“We’ve got to work on a few things offensively,” Reid said. “The red zone, we were only 1-for-4 there. We’ve got to do a better job there.”
A series that jumps out occurred in the second quarter after the Chiefs stuffed the Titans on a fourth-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line.
The Chiefs marched down the field in 10 plays, only to stall at the Titans’ 5-yard line. Kicker Ryan Succop, who finished Sunday with four field goals, capped off the drive with his second field goal of the game.
“Defense, huge goal-line stand, big swing there,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith told reporters during his Sunday postgame media session. “It could’ve been even bigger if we could’ve finished that drive off by scoring a touchdown, but that’s a 10-point swing.”
Still, the momentum of a possible 14-point swing compared to 10 is potentially more demoralizing to an opponent just stuffed at the goal line on the previous possession.
“We stalled on a couple of drives,” Reid said. “We’re normally better with that, so we have to take care of business down there when we’re given an opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Reid said another area on offense needing attention is third-down efficiency, where the Chiefs have shown inconsistency in the past four games.
In Week Two against the Dallas Cowboys, the Chiefs were 4-of-13 on third down and followed up in Week Three with another mediocre 6-of-19 effort against the Philadelphia Eagles.
While the Chiefs were a respectable 9-of-16 on third down in Week Four’s 31-7 win against the New York Giants, the offense turned in a dismal 1-of-12 showing against the Titans.
“Our third-down efficiency was terrible,” Reid said. “You can’t make a living doing that, so you have to make sure you’re more efficient on third down. You have to shorten the third down a little yardage-wise, too. You start hitting these third-and-a-gazillion and you don’t have a lot of calls for those particular spots.”
Reid said it’s his responsibility as the play caller to keep third downs manageable and to put his offense in a position to succeed.
As for pinpointing the problem, Reid said it’s a “variety of things.”
But he’s aware of what ultimately needs to be done.
“The bottom line is, and I mentioned it after the game, I have to do a better job of making sure I get these guys in the right position and calling the right plays for them,” Reid said. “And once they get that done, the situation will be all right.”
Notes: Reid complimented cornerback Brandon Flowers and safety Kendrick Lewis for fighting through injuries in recent weeks and for contributing Sunday … “Both he (Flowers) and Lewis have just shown real grit and working through their injuries and fighting to get back on the field, and just coming out and playing good hard-nosed, tough football,” Reid said … “You can’t help but get excited when your defensive line gets a goal-line stand like that,” Reid said of Sunday’s goal-line stand. “I think everybody gets fired up and ready to go”… Reid is fully aware the Oakland Raiders are coming to Arrowhead Stadium in Week Six and what the rivalry means to the city … “The black and silver, if anybody is wearing it, be careful,” Reid said.