Time didn’t heal the wounds of the Chiefs’ 12-9 overtime loss to the Giants on Sunday.
A day later, coach Andy Reid went directional in explaining what went wrong, especially with an offense that was so potent through the first weeks but went without a touchdown in its fourth loss in five games.
“We’re going backwards at times instead of going forward,” Reid said.
Backwards can be literal. Nine penalties against the Chiefs were the most since the third week, and a 9-yard run by Kareem Hunt in overtime wiped out by a Laurent Duvernay-Tardif hold was the final damaging flag.
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It can also be figurative, as in an offense with quarterback Alex Smith that has regressed. Smith had his worst day of the season with two interceptions and no touchdowns. A couple of his passes were woefully short and his second interception appeared to be an overthrow, although Reid cautioned to not overlook other factors.
“He’s a standup guy and he’s going to tell you he can do better,” Reid said. “With (Smith), he threw the ball but was there pressure on his arm? Was a route run 12 yards instead of 20 yards? It looks like a botched play by the quarterback and he’ll take responsibility, but I look at the other things that go into it.”
One play Reid put on his shoulders was the intercepted pass by tight end Travis Kelce in the fourth quarter.
Kelce lined up in the backfield and took a lateral from Smith. Kelce’s deep pass across the field intended for Demarcus Robinson was picked off by Landon Collins.
The ball was supposed to go to Tyreek Hill, who started the play lined up behind Smith to his right but streaked open in the middle of the field. Kelce instead made a longer throw.
“(Hill) was the primary receiver on that,” Reid said. “They did a good job covering it. I take responsibility for that one. All said and done, I should have just left that one on the play sheet.”
Added to Smith’s picks, the Chiefs had three giveaways. They had four in the first nine games.
Reid cited the turnovers and penalties and said the defense “played well enough, particularly early, to win the game.”
He didn’t want to blame the stalled offense on injuries. Asked if the Chiefs have been hurt by having starting wide receivers Chris Conley out for the season and Albert Wilson missing action because of a hamstring injury, Reid said he’s been happy with Robinson and DeAnthony Thomas. Rookie Jehu Chesson got seven snaps on Sunday.
“We’ve got young guys out there learning and getting better as they go on,” Reid said.
An offense that averaged 414 yards in the first five games and 328 in the next five isn’t far off, Reid insists.
“Right now we’re off by one tick on a play, unfortunately that’s what costing us,” Reid said.