A weekly look at what the Kansas City Chiefs must fix:
Perhaps quarterback Alex Smith will go downfield with the ball more during Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium than he did in last week’s win over the St. Louis Rams. But even given the problems the Jets’ pass defense has had, it’s probably smarter to think the Chiefs’ dink-and-dunk passing game will continue.
Against the Rams, Smith was the first NFL quarterback to win a game while attempting only one pass of 10 yards or more down the field. While that was an extreme, the Chiefs have taken very few shots down the field with their passing game. They are the only team without a touchdown from a wide receiver. Their longest pass play of the season is 33 yards.
This is something the Chiefs will probably have to learn to live with pass protection issues. The Chiefs have allowed more sacks per pass play than all but four teams. Left tackle Eric Fisher, in particular, has struggled with pass blocking.
Fortunately for the Chiefs, they have a few receivers who excel at running after the catch. The Chiefs need to do a better job of getting the ball to players such as tight end Travis Kelce, running back Jamaal Charles and wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and De'Anthony Thomas in the open field.
The Chiefs threw a bubble screen to Kelce for a big gain against the Rams. That type of play would work in many instances with Kelce, Bowe or Thomas. The Chiefs have had trouble with timing issues in throwing the screen pass but have made it work in the past with Charles, who is superb in setting up blocks.