Chiefs turning up the heat in fourth quarter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It’s no surprise to those of us who have watched the Kansas City Chiefs this season that 13 of their league-leading 35 sacks have come in the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs do a lot of their best defensive work.

Here’s something that did surprise me, and probably will you, too. The Chiefs aren’t turning up the heat by sending extra players after the quarterback. They’ve actually sent more than four players after the quarterback on just 18.3 percent of pass plays in the fourth quarter.

The Chiefs have blitzed more frequently in the first (34.8 percent), second (46.7) and third quarters (38.9) than they have in the fourth. Thanks to ESPN Stats & Info for those numbers.

That the Chiefs have blitzed less frequently but sacked the quarterback more often in the fourth quarter can be explained by one simple fact: The Chiefs have trailed in the fourth quarter in just one game, on Oct. 6 against the Titans in Tennessee. Otherwise, they’ve been leading the whole time and opponents have been forced to be one-dimensional and throw more often in hopes of playing catch-up.

The Chiefs have at least one sack in the fourth quarter of every game except the opener in Jacksonville, where they had such a comfortable lead they didn’t need one.

The Chiefs have also had this going for them in the final period: Tamba Hali. He has 5.5 of his 9 sacks this season in the fourth quarter.