Andy Reid did a tremendous job of keeping Seattle’s defense off balance all afternoon on Sunday. The Chiefs ran the ball on play after play with success. This wasn’t a line-up-and-knock-the-defense’s-block-off type of running game. This was a deception and misdirection-based running game, executed to near perfection.
The Chiefs used lots of jet-motion with rookie De’Anthony Thomas on Sunday. Jet-motion involves the motion man running across the formation in order to build up speed (shown below). The quarterback times the snap with the motion.
The Chiefs used jet-sweeps where the ball was given to the motion man. As you can see below, by the time the defensive end on the play side realized what was happening, De’Anthony Thomas was past him after having built up so much speed.
The Chiefs ran this play twice for 15 yards. The play shown above was the Chiefs’ 4th offensive snap of the day, and it set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Chiefs used jet-motion on several other plays throughout the afternoon where they did not give the ball to the motion man. However, having used the jet-sweep effectively earlier, when Seattle saw the motion, defenders flowed to it, leaving plenty of running room inside for Jamaal Charles. On the play below, you can see the motion man, De’Anthony Thomas again, approaching the formation with jet motion.
Immediately after the snap, four defenders flowed towards him.
But this ended up being a trap run to the left with Jamaal Charles.
The below screen shot shows the end zone view right after Jamaal Charles got the ball. Because so many defenders had reacted to Thomas’s jet-motion, Charles had a huge running lane right in front of him.
The result was a 28-yard gain.
This was just one way the Chiefs used deception and misdirection in their running game on Sunday. The effect was that Seattle defenders couldn’t trust what they were seeing. This either delayed their reactions or made them take false steps, which allowed Kansas City linemen to block them from favorable angles.
The Chiefs were able to beat a very good defense with their running schemes on Sunday, but can they use this same approach successfully on a weekly basis down the home stretch of the season? Additionally, the Chiefs barely used Alex Smith against Seattle, only attempting 16 passes. How far will they be able to go before they have to call on their quarterback to make a big time throw in a critical situation?