Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid drew criticism for poor clock management in the final minutes of a Divisional round loss to the New England Patriots, but on Sunday he said that the slow pace was intentional.
A touchdown with 1:13 left in regulation cut the Patriots' lead to 27-20, but it came after the Chiefs drove to the 1-yard line with 2:33 remaining. Kansas City had no problem winding the clock all the way to the two-minute warning after just one play and then huddling after a second down play, allowing the clock to tick off another 30 seconds. All the while, Reid had three timeouts at his disposal.
"We wanted to maintain our timeouts the best we could," Reid said on Sunday, one day after the loss. "We didn't want to give the ball back, at any point, to New England after we go ahead and score that next touchdown."
After finally finding the end zone, the Chiefs attempted an onside kick that was recovered by the Patriots. If Kansas City managed to grab the onside kick, Reid says the team would've been in perfect position to tie the game as time expired in the half.
"We potentially would've had three timeouts and an opportunity to drive the field, which I thought was huge," Reid said. "It put us in a perfect position to do that, we work, again on that every week. And so I thought that part was handled right."
Even with the Patriots recovering the onside kick, the Chiefs had a chance to get another possession thanks to the conservation of the timeouts. But getting the New England offense off the field was a problem all game and the Chiefs couldn't force Ryan Allen's fourth punt of the game, due plenty to a blown opportunity that came with some bad luck.
Reid's clock management has been consistently criticized throughout his coaching career and he joked on Sunday that he "could tell the Philly media was up in the booth" watching his handling of the final minutes.
The Chiefs also dealt with communication problems, although Reid dismissed the idea that those were a reason for the loss. While headset communication problems are often tied to Gillette Stadium, Reid said after the game on Saturday that it was just small problems in the first half that weren't out of the ordinary.
"Just a little bit from coach to quarterback," Reid said. "The coach to quarterback headset was cutting in and out just a little bit, not much, though. It wasn't bad, but a couple of those first half ones, couple of those."
Kansas City outgained the Patriots 378 yards to 340, but were unable to force a single turnover, despite a few errant throws by Tom Brady. The Chiefs forced at least one turnover and a total of 28 during an 11-game winning streak that ended on Saturday.
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