KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In four-straight games the Chiefs have lost the battle on the ground, allowing opponents to rack up an average of 174.5 yards rushing, including three straight games allowing 180 yards or more. That's left defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo identifying the causes for a sieve-like run defense.
“It’s everything,” Spagnuolo said. “Usually when that happens like that it’s not one thing. You can’t put your finger on it. To us, we just go right back to the basics. It’s about defeating blocks, getting off blocks and making tackles.”
Indeed, just about everyone seems to have a different reason for the struggles in run defense. After Sunday's game safety Tyrann Mathieu said it takes pride and attitude to stop the run.
“It has nothing to do with coaching, has nothing to do with technique,” Mathieu said. “It has everything to do with attitude and if you want to stop them.”
On Monday, head coach Andy Reid pointed toward gap responsibility and the need for players to develop confidence in one another to handle their duties.
“It's important that everybody trusts everybody and that you get in there when it's live and going,” Reid said. “Stay aggressive with it. That comes with playing.”
Others have pointed toward tackling, but Spagnuolo doesn't think that's a huge factor. He said his staff counted just seven missed tackles in Sunday's loss to the Colts.
“But the ones that we did miss we're not good ones,” Spagnuolo said. “They resulted in longer, what we call explosive, run plays. That leads to them being on the field, losing field position, time of possession, all those things.”
But Spagnuolo concedes in the end, everyone is right.
“I know everybody is looking for a specific reason,” Spagnuolo said. “There's no specific reason. If there’s 20 plays in there that cause issues that are over 4- or 5-yard runs, there may be 20 different reasons.”