The Kansas City Chiefs have been very poor at sacking the quarterback in the last two years.
Actually that's too nice. They've been flat-out terrible. In 2008, they set a NFL record of futility with just 10 sacks and followed that up with a 22-sack performance in 2009.
In 2010, the Chiefs are learning how to get to the quarterback and that was evidenced in Sunday's victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The Chiefs ended with five sacks -- the most since playing Minnesota more than three years ago. Tamba Hali finished with a whopping three sacks giving him 3.5 on the season and 30.5 in his career, passing Dan Saleaumua on the Chiefs all-time list. He also forced a fumble on one of those quarterback sacks.
Chiefs LB Andy Studebaker got into the action with his first career sack as did big Ron Edwards coming up the middle.
While the Chiefs did notch a big day with sacks, they aren't too concerned with the sack-number. That's because, according to the Chiefs, there are several ways to pressure the passer and it doesn't always include sacks.
Last week, Chiefs defensive coordinator said putting the quarterback on the ground is a good indication that you're pressuring the quarterback. Todd Haley followed that up in his post-game comments indicating that sacks aren't a number they're too concerned with.
"Sacks are a number that people like to get excited about but you can disrupt the passer, we’ve said that all week. For an extended period of time we’ve been talking about that. There are ways to disrupt the passer without getting him on the ground, and without even hitting him at times."
The Chiefs are right in that you can pressure the quarterback in other ways. That's definitely the case and we saw that at times from Alex Smith on Sunday.
That said, good pass rushing teams eventually break through and see the result: sacks.
The Chiefs aren't at the point where they're a good pass rushing team but, as Haley and Crennel suggest, they are affecting how the quarterback plays. And when you're talking about one of the league's best, young secondaries, it can be dangerous for the opposing quarterback to hurry a pass.
The Chiefs will ideally see more games like the one they had on Sunday with a high number of sacks. At some point this defense is going to break through and consistently see sacks.