Much like they did in week one against the Tennessee Titans, the Kansas City Chiefs were torpedoed by questionable play calling. Head Coach Andy Reid tried to be fancy, ignoring the smash mouth mentality that saw his team win two straight games and now has to answer his critics.
His play calling blunders pushed his team from a likely win to an inevitable loss at a key moment in the second quarter. Facing a second and inches with momentum on his side, the Chiefs never saw another first down on that game changing drive. For his efforts, Reid dialed up a pair of failed pass attempts that ended with false start that forced the Chiefs to punt.
The result of that ill-fated series meant Reid would not pull the trigger on his running game. With the best running back on the planet on his roster, he continues to waffle in using him to keep churning first downs and wearing out opposing defenses.
Sadly it’s always been his mantra going back to Philadelphia. He was often criticized for being too fancy and cute when calling plays on short yardage situations. That’s why his actions on Sunday were so curious especially when you consider, he was so brilliant at calling plays in two consecutive wins using a smash mouth mentality. With a bye week upcoming, Reid must retool his mindset.
This particular loss hurts the Chiefs. Both the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers won their respective games on Sunday. Now Kansas City sits two plus games behind both, and unless they do something along the lines of winning nine of their final 13 games, the playoffs are nothing more than a dream.
Had they won on Sunday they would have traveled to San Diego in two weeks with a chance to make the AFC West a three team race. Now with their most recent loss the Chiefs have to redefine themselves and become a nearly flawless team the remainder of the season.
The worst part about this loss was the fact Reid didn’t seize the moment. He used DeAnthony Thomas twice offensively - once as a decoy and the other he scored a touchdown. Perhaps using him more often would have forced the 49ers to worry about something else and perhaps he could have made another play had he been given the chance to touch the ball.
But not using Charles is beyond my abilities to be practical. When he did run the ball, Reid ran up the middle where there was little room to maneuver. Charles has world class speed and he didn’t call any plays that put his best player on the edge, Further, I can't remember a time he ran a screen pass to his best offensive player. Lastly to dumbfound yours truly, why didn’t he use Knile Davis in this game?
I don’t understand how Reid can be so lights out calling plays in wins over the Dolphins and Patriots, yet he can’t deliver the goods against a 49ers team in complete turmoil. At the point of his most recent play-calling failures, he had San Francisco on the ropes and didn't knock them out old school. In sticking to his guns, and not adapting to the moment in the game to do just what I suggested by pounding the ball on the ground, he basically gave the game to the 49ers.
In the end, that series resulted in a 14-point swing because the 49ers scored their only touchdown on the afternoon after KC’s horrific offensive series. The fact Reid hasn't learned form his own mistakes in regards to over coaching, the Chiefs lost a game they should have won.
Yet Reid wasn’t the only culprit. With two special teams blunders at the foot of Dave Toub, and the fact the offense could do nothing in the second half taxing their defense, it was easy to see why the Chiefs lost this game.
With 11 games left, the Chiefs can’t afford anymore losses like this if they want to get back into the post season. But if the Head Coach doesn’t stop playing the game within the game by ignoring the strength of his football team offensively, it likely won’t matter the remainder of the season what plays he calls.
Photos: Jamaal Charles (Kelly L.Cox USA Today Sports) & Andy Reid (Kyle Terada USA Today Sports)
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