The Kansas City Chiefs have been on a lot of lists as the upcoming breakout performer of 2013.
The competition in Week 1 was weak and ugly. But the result was quite pretty by Kansas City’s low standards of recent years. The 26-point victory (28-2) over the Jacksonville Jaguars was the franchise's second-largest victory since 2006.
That was seven seasons ago, for those of you Chiefs fans keeping score at home. It was also just the second defensive shutout by the team since that same 2006 season.
In other words, it was a feel-good victory no matter how bad the Jaguars are and will be this season. A thirsty man doesn’t complain if it’s a small glass of water.
We certainly believe Kansas City will be better. We did pick them to win and cover against the Jaguars with our Week 1 Real and Spectacular Pick at CHFF Insider.
We even picked them to reach the wildcard round of the playoffs – quite an achievement for a team that went just 2-14 last year.
And, for what it’s worth, the Cold, Hard Football Facts were one of just three participants in their 199-man death pool to pick the Chiefs to win in Week 1.
So we’re buying a bit of what Andy Reid and Alex Smith were statistically selling. But we expressed plenty of doubts, too. After all, this team was truly awful in 2012:
But so far, so good under the new coach and new quarterback.
They key, as always, comes down to one player and the most important position in sports. New quarterback Alex Smith was one of the most effective passers and effective quarterbacks in football last year, before he was benched by Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers.
He hardly little it up against the Jaguars here in Week 1:
- 21 of 34, 173 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 94.4 passer rating.
But he was effective enough to win – a problem which eluded Kansas City’s quarterbacks in 2012 and was the biggest reason for the team’s struggles.
In fact, that 94.4 rating would have been better than all but one of Kansas City’s 16 passer ratings in 2012.
Here’s a look at how Smith and Chiefs passing game performed against the Jaguars compared to every team passing performance in 2012, pulled from our hugely informative Quality Stat “Big Boards” at CHFF Insider.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS OFFENSIVE PASSER RATINGS SINCE WEEK 1 2012
Here’s how bad it was for the Chiefs passing game in 2012. There are 512 team game performances per season: 256 games, two teams per game.
Our CHFF Insider Big Boards track all 512 of those performances, from best to worst, in every single indicator.
The 2012 Chiefs produced just one (1!) passing performance in the top half – the top 256 – over the course of the entire 2012 season. If you're looking for the main reason the team went 2-14 in 2012, look no further than that single indicator.
It's only one game against the awful Jaguars here in 2013. But so far, one game into 2013, Reid, Smith and the Chiefs are well ahead of the statistical curve the team found itself behind at the end of 2012.