The Offensive Flaws
Offensively the Saints were sluggish early, not getting their initial first down until nearly 18 minutes into the game.
The Saints didn’t run very well which of course made the passing game less effective. And working with an already injured Drew Brees, who without question was not at 100% for the game, made for an offensive game that really sagged.
The story of this game could really be played out in three statistics. Total Offensive Plays: Chiefs – 93, Saints – 52 (including six times we punted on three-and-outs in our eight total punts). Time of Possession: Chiefs – 41:14, Saints – 18:46.
Third down conversions: Chiefs – 9-18, Saints 1-11.
When you are on the field defensively too long, bad things tend to happen. And when you can’t stay on the field offensively, giving your defense a break and moving the ball down the field, you’re not likely to be on the winning side.
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The Saints did well staying in the game. Just before halftime, they nearly recovered a fumbled punt return in the end zone for a touchdown, but Alex Anzelone couldn’t hold onto the ball that was punched out by Craig Robertson and it bounded out the back of the end zone for a safety.
While it’s a great misfortune to not get it, there isn’t much you can say about hustle plays that don’t go your way.
After halftime, the Saints came out and scored to take their first lead of the game. But KC returned the volley and scored right after the Saints, taking a lead they would hold for the rest of the game. The Saints played strong until the end.
They scored on their last offensive possession of the game with just over two minutes to play and opted to kick deep instead of going for the onside kick. Typically, that was probably the correct play, particularly with our defense.
But between the injuries and the fatigue, it was just not to be.
Beyond the typical game, this game was odd in the officiating.
Usually criticizing the officiating is a sore loser antic, but the officiating was poor for both sides. There were 15 total penalties, which is slightly above average, and when looking at the penalties, there were several that could have been forgotten.
One interesting call showed an odd loophole in the NFL rules. On 4th and two, Mahomes attempted a pass and was hit as he passed. Multiple replays showed that this could have been a fumble, so while the officials were busy throwing laundry, they missed that call.
The pass was caught by an offensive lineman and advanced.
This is against the rules because this player is an ineligible receiver and this is illegal touching (it would likewise have been against the rules if the ball was fumbled forward because only the person fumbling can advance a forward fumble).
But for the penalty, which is a five-yard penalty and a loss of down, one would think the ball would go over on downs at that spot.
It’s hard to understand why a penalty that brings a loss of down gets another play, as KC was able to punt after that on fourth and seven. Odd.