Analytics Recap: Kansas City Chiefs Lose to Baltimore Ravens 36-35

What do the advanced metrics have to say about the Kansas City Chiefs' 36-35 loss to the Baltimore Ravens?
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The Kansas City Chiefs fell short in a wild Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens in which they lost an 11-point fourth-quarter lead and saw the Ravens triumph by a score of 36-35. 

Patrick Mahomes and the passing offense put up fantastic production and it seemed everyone made at least one great play. This includes including Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill. Unfortunately, the offense stalled out later in the game and the defense continued getting dominated, having the worst run defense production in recent NFL history through two weeks and having tons of missed tackles. These came primarily from Daniel Sorensen, who has nine missed tackles — three more than any other player in the NFL.

The Chiefs' next game will be a Sunday home game at noon against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers are showing that they are likely to live up to their hype this season, as Justin Herbert has continued to make some of the most impressive throws among any quarterback in the NFL (though his stats don't really reflect it). They also have a really talented defense featuring Derwin James, Joey Bosa, Chris Harris Jr. and rookie Asante Samuel Jr. all kicking off their seasons strong. That game is going to be a wild one.

Here are the advanced numbers from the Chiefs' loss to the Ravens and the season so far, from Ben Baldwin's

EPA = Expected Points Added, SR = Success Rate, 1st% = First Down Rate

EPA = Expected Points Added, SR = Success Rate, 1st% = First Down Rate

This is quite stunning to look at. The Chiefs had nearly twice the EPA per play that the Ravens did in their offense, with an insane 0.54 EPA per pass and 0.77 EPA per early-down pass. The Ravens, unfortunately, had about a perfect day on the ground, reaching 0.25 EPA per rush, including 0.53 EPA per late-down rush. The late downs were brutal for the Chiefs, with -0.54 EPA per play with all six being passes and the Mahomes interception dropping it from around 0.2 EPA to -3.2 EPA.

Chiefs 2021 W2 Ravens Players EPA

The top offensive weapons for the Chiefs in this game were Travis Kelce (6.9 EPA), Byron Pringle (4.8 EPA) and Demarcus Robinson (2.8 EPA), while the most damaging ones for them were Clyde Edwards-Helaire (-4.3 EPA over 14 plays) and Tyreek Hill (0.0 EPA over five plays). For the Ravens, they had 2.2 EPA when targeting Marquise Brown and 2.8 EPA when targeting Mark Andrews, but a shocking -6.6 EPA when targeting Sammy Watkins. Minus-7.2 EPA came on the Tyrann Mathieu pick-six, as Watkins slipped mid-route right when Lamar Jackson started throwing his way. 

aDoT = Average Depth of Target, CPOE = Completion Percentage Over Expectation (Completion Percentage minus Expected Completion Percentage), xQBR = ESPN's Quarterback Rating metric

aDoT = Average Depth of Target, CPOE = Completion Percentage Over Expectation (Completion Percentage minus Expected Completion Percentage), xQBR = ESPN's Quarterback Rating metric

This is the thing that makes the end result here so totally shocking. Mahomes had a 0.54 EPA per play, which ranks in the 95th percentile, and a 17.7 total EPA, which ranks in the 92nd percentile. Jackson, on the other hand, had a mere 0.18 EPA per play and 8.3 total EPA, neither of which ranked higher than the 71st percentile. Mahomes put up a high-level performance, while Jackson put on an above-average performance. The Ravens still came out on top in the end.

BAL_WP = Baltimore's Win Probability

BAL_WP = Baltimore's Win Probability

Four of the top five plays and five of the top eight plays of the game went in favor of the Chiefs. The top two plays of the game were Tyrann Mathieu's pick-six on the first drive of the game, which was -7.2 EPA for the Ravens and raised the Chiefs' win probability from 69% to 80%, and Mahomes' touchdown pass to Kelce, which was 4.7 EPA for the Chiefs and raised their win probability from 77% to 89%. In terms of win probability, the most impactful play was in fact the Edwards-Helaire fumble, which took the Chiefs' win probability from 73% to 16% in an instant. The Chiefs' other turnover, the Mahomes interception, only dropped their win probability from 94% to 89%. 

Chiefs 2021 W2 Ravens Win Probability

This is a brutal sight if you're a Chiefs fan. The Chiefs opened the game with a 65.2% win probability, had it bump up to 80.2% almost immediately, and saw it be over 85% for a large chunk of the third quarter. With 3:24 left in the third quarter, it saw a peak of 95.2%, but after that, it all fell apart. It might be a while before we see this happen to the Chiefs again, so be thankful that the team has Mahomes and expect the best from here on out. 

NFL Team Tiers 2021 Weeks 1-2

Through two weeks, the Chiefs have had the clear top offense in the NFL for EPA per play, with 0.307 EPA per play, divided with a 0.541 EPA per dropback and a -0.194 EPA per run. On the other hand, they have also had the 30th-ranked defense, only bettering the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. They have allowed 0.196 EPA per play, with 0.227 EPA per dropback and a woeful 0.166 EPA per run. They also have a 59.7% success rate against run plays (the worst in the league by over six percent) and a 58.7% success rate against dropbacks, ranking 30th.

On the other hand, the second-best offense in the NFL so far this season is the Denver Broncos', thanks to a terrific start for Teddy Bridgewater. The Broncos have a 0.236 EPA per play and 0.394 EPA per dropback, which aren't near the Chiefs' numbers but are still great.

NFL QB Chart 2021 Weeks 1-2 10-90 WP

Mahomes has the league's best EPA and EPA+CPOE composite per play (dropbacks, designed runs and penalized plays) among quarterbacks so far this season, with a 0.541 EPA per play and a 0.300 EPA+CPOE composite. The other quarterbacks in the top five for EPA+CPOE composite are Teddy Bridgewater (0.285), Sam Darnold (0.274), Kyler Murray (0.264) and Baker Mayfield (0.257). 

It's a wild contrast to what many expected so far, as along with the surprise showings in the top five, you also see many showings lower than anticipated. Josh Allen is ranked 28th of 31 (0.003), Ryan Tannehill is ranked 23rd (0.103), Dak Prescott is 13th (0.152) and Aaron Rodgers checks in at 10th (0.198). 

NFL Early Down Pass Rate Chart 2021 W1-W2

Lastly, there's early-down passing rate. This shows which teams are the most pass-heavy or run-heavy teams in the NFL. On the season, the Chiefs have the sixth-highest early-down pass rate, standing at 63.9%. For Week 2, the Chiefs had the eighth-highest early-down pass rate at 62.2%. 

On said early downs, the Chiefs had a 0.754 EPA per pass, which ranked second, and 0.024 EPA per run, which ranked 11th. The Chargers, the Chiefs' Week 3 opponents, currently rank fourth with a 64.8% early-down pass rate. On the other hand, they rank 27th in early-down EPA per pass with a -0.152 EPA. This will be an interesting development to watch on Sunday. 

For more Kansas City Chiefs analytics and analysis, follow @SIChiefs and @WichitaChiefSam on Twitter.

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