Chiefs Tied with Jets and Jaguars in Embarrassing Stat

The Chiefs are tied for the NFL lead in dropped passes with the Jets and Jags. But that doesn't tell the whole story.
The Chiefs are tied for the NFL lead in dropped passes with the Jets and Jags. But that doesn't tell the whole story. / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

For a team that is supposed to contend for the Super Bowl in 2021, the Kansas City Chiefs have some eye-raising statistics through 13 Weeks of play.

Their defense, for example, is the 30th ranked squad in the entire league. On offense, they are 31st in the NFL in giveaways per game at 1.9. The Chiefs clearly have significant holes in their game despite an 8-4 record. 

One such gap in their skillset was brought to my attention earlier today via a Twitter post by ESPN’s Michael DiRocco.

The Chiefs lead the NFL in dropped passes, tied with the Lowly Jets and Jaguars with 23 dropped passes.  Because the Jets and Jaguars are afterthoughts this season, let’s focus on the Chiefs here and try to figure out what is going on. 

Looking over the stats per player, two names jump out as offenders for the Kansas City Chiefs. Travis Kelce leads the NFL in dropped passes with 10, tied with Deebo Samuel. Tyreek Hill is fifth on the list with seven dropped passes. So, is there something wrong with these guys? Both are pro-bowl caliber players and Kelce is heading to the Hall-of-Fame but they are dropping passes left and right. 

Well, the dropped passes stat only tells half the story. The first thing to consider is the quality of these passes. Short of going back and watching every pass from Patrick Mahomes to these two all year, it is impossible to say. So, I can’t say that these dropped passes were the fault of the receivers or the quarterback. But, at the end of the day, that isn’t my issue with this stat. My big issue is that the total number of targets is not being taken into account. 

Why is this important? Well, consider this. Cy Young is the all-time leader in losses and Nolan Ryan is third. Out of context, you would assume these two guys sucked at baseball. But, because of the sheer number of games they played compared to others, the stats are skewed a bit. Cy Young started more games than anyone else with Ryan No. 2.

This matters because, unlike the Jets and Jaguars, the Chiefs throw the ball more than all but one other team. Tyreek Hill ranks second in the NFL with 127 targets and Kelce ranks 10th with 105. So, while both guys are dropping a lot of passes, it is because they are seeing a boatload of targets. Unlike the Jaguars and Jets who don’t have a player in the Top-35 of attempts but still are tied for the league lead in drops.

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