It is very hard to win a football game when you're trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter. That's the situation the Chiefs found themselves Saturday night: They got the ball back from the Patriots down 27-13 with 6:29 remaining.
It's especially hard to win a football game when you're trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter and your coach farts on the concept of clock management. Unfortunately, Kansas City's coach is Andy Reid, perhaps the NFL's least clock-savvy coach. Over and over again throughout Reid's career, he's been baffled by the very concept of time.
And so, the Chiefs were more doomed than most teams. With Reid manning an astrolabe, the Chiefs embarked on a 17-play drive that took a staggering five minutes and 26 seconds, leaving them little to no chance of winning.
The ugliness really started when Kansas City got down to the one-yard line. Alex Smith threw a pass to Albert Wilson that got the Chiefs down three feet from paydirt with 2:52 remaining. You're a yard away from the end zone with three minutes left. Let's catch up with what happens next. (Oh, and by the way: The Chiefs had all three timeouts, so keep that in mind as the time ticks away.)
1-1-NE 1(2:33) (No Huddle) C.West right guard to NE 2 for -1 yards (J.Sheard; D.Watson).
They ran the ball with Charcandrick West. This is a good idea if you get into the end zone. If you don't, the clock is running, and you won't want to use your last timeout.
West didn't get into the end zone. In fact, he went back a yard. The Chiefs wouldn't be able to set up a play in the next 33 seconds, which is pretty embarrassing when you're down two scores in the final five minutes of the game, and we got to the two-minute warning. A throw would've avoided that loss of 30 seconds.
2-2-NE 2(2:00) (Shotgun) PENALTY on KC-E.Fisher, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at NE 2 - No Play.
Doesn't hurt the clock, but the false start pushed them back five yards, which will eventually hurt the clock.
2-7-NE 7(2:00) (Shotgun) A.Smith pass short right to J.Avant to NE 3 for 4 yards (L.Ryan).
They threw the ball short of the end zone, which is just as bad as a run. The clock starts again. And then ...
WITH UNDER TWO MINUTES AND THE CLOCK RUNNING IN A TWO-SCORE GAME, THE CHIEFS HUDDLED.
THEY GATHERED TOGETHER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD TO DISCUSS WHAT PLAY THEY WERE GOING TO RUN. THE PATRIOTS STARED AT THEM, WAITING.
JUST GO DO SOMETHING
DO ANYTHING BESIDES STANDING AND WAITING
EVERY SECOND THAT PASSES MAKES YOU MORE LIKELY TO LOSE. EVEN IF THE PLAY YOU RUN IS BAD, YOU GOTTA RUN SOMETHING.
They don't run a play until the 1:27 mark.
3-3-NE 3(1:27) (Shotgun) A.Smith pass incomplete short right to J.Avant. PENALTY on NE-L.Ryan, Defensive Pass Interference, 2 yards, enforced at NE 3 - No Play.
Great, pass interference and a fresh set of downs. Now Andy Reid can run the ball three more times.
1-1-NE 1(1:22) (Shotgun) A.Smith pass incomplete short left to C.Conley.
2-1-NE 1(1:18) (Shotgun) C.West right end for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.
Ha, they actually did run. It worked. Only a minute and 34 seconds after getting to the 1-yard line, the Chiefs had finally reached paydirt.
The Chiefs didn't recover the onside kick. Luckily, they had all three timeouts remaining to call on the Patriots' next drive! Unfortunately, it didn't matter, because the Patriots picked up a first down and won.
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