FOXBORO, Mass. — Trailing the New England Patriots by 14 points with just 6:29 remaining, the Kansas City Chiefs needed a touchdown.
They accomplished that task, but not before all but blowing Saturday’s AFC Divisional Playoff matchup with some brutal clock management.
The Chiefs embarked on a glacial 5-minute and 16-second drive that finally ended on Charcandrick West’s 1-yard touchdown run with just 1:13 left on the game clock. The 16-play, 80-yard drive would have been impressive in the first half, but the dinking-and-dunking strategy employed by Alex Smith and Co. was not how you mount a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback in a playoff game.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid has had past issues with clock management, most notably against the Patriots when his Philadelphia Eagles took their time down with the ball while down 10 points in Super Bowl XXXIX. But after the Patriots’ 27-20 win Saturday, Reid didn’t seem to believe his team did anything wrong.
“We went hurry-up offense,” Reid said when asked to explain his clock management. “You do that normally when you’re down by two scores, and so time was of the essence. We got down to the 1-yard line and we ended up going backwards, but we ended up punching it in there, too. I?m not exactly sure what you?re talking about.”
For starters, Reid had the Chiefs on the Patriots’ 1-yard line with 2:45 remaining but declined to use any of his timeouts, letting another minute and a half run off the clock before his team scored. But the play that had everyone talking was when Kansas City huddled up with less than three minutes left and the clock running.
“Yeah, we wanted to get a play off,” Reid explained. “We had 20 seconds. It was 2:20 on the clock. We wanted to make sure we got our best personnel in for that play, and we didn’t get that done.”
Apparently someone on the Kansas City sideline was aware of Reid’s game management struggles. As the two-minute warning approached, a KC staffer literally stole the challenge flag from the head coach’s pocket so he wouldn’t accidentally throw it on the field.
Other NFL fans might find this humorous, but it’s likely not too amusing for those supporting the Chiefs, who now have only one win in four playoff games under Reid.
It appears those fans already have expressed their frustration, too, as Reid’s Wikipedia page received a creative edit shortly after the loss.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images