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With so much working against them to start their 2021 campaign the Kansas City Chiefs have excelled in one of the hardest categories of offense— converting third downs. Against the Washington Football Team, the Chiefs converted 11 third downs to keep the chains moving, the third-highest total for any team in the NFL in a single game this season.
This wasn’t a one-off performance either. Kansas City has been the best team in the league on third down by a wide margin, converting the situations at about 60-percent, which is more than ten percent better than second place. So little has gone right for the Chiefs so far this season, and a sloppy first half in Washington was salvaged in no small part due to the team’s ability to keep possession in crucial situations.
The Chiefs converted 11 third downs yesterday, which is the third-most in a single game by any team this season.
KC is converting third down at a league-best 60.3% clip this year and more than 10% better than second place.
— Matt McMullen (@KCChiefs_Matt) October 18, 2021
In his comments to the media on Monday following Kansas City’s third win of the year, head coach Andy Reid made particular note of the third-down accomplishment. He told reporters that his team has done a good job following through on coaching points from practice, deferring credit to his assistants who have come up with creative strategies to give the Chiefs an edge in the crucial situations.
“We are doing a good job with that and I would tell you the execution has been good,” Reid explained of the ability to convert. “We’ve been able to keep, for the most part, our first downs a reasonably manageable position and that helps. Whether it’s the first, second down calls, the guys making plays on those downs and that always helps. Normally, your percentage will go up and I think the coaches have done a nice job of that, Mike Kafka, EB [Eric Bieniemy], I mean, these guys work on that like crazy. So, I think they’ve done a nice job there too.”
Nothing has come easy for Kansas City this season, and any momentum they can build in clutch situations will help their ability to win tough games down the stretch. Though making plays on third down won’t solve all their problems, it is certainly a start toward sustaining the consistency the Chiefs desperately need to get back on track.