Chiefs coach Andy Reid defended his team’s clock management at the end of Saturday night’s 27-20 playoff loss at New England.
The Chiefs squandered about 59 seconds in the final 2 minutes, 29 seconds of the game as they tried to overcome a 14-point deficit.
“I thought the situation we were in, I thought we were handling it the right way,” Reid said. “We had the plays. We knew what we wanted … the bottom line is we scored. And we had time to score again and not give them the ball back.”
After Charcandrick West was stopped for a 1-yard loss at the New England 2 with 2:29 to play, the Chiefs failed to get off a play before the 2-minute warning. And after wide receiver Jason Avant was tackled at the New England 3 with 1:56 to play, the Chiefs huddled and took another 30 seconds before the next snap.
West scored a touchdown with 1:13 left, and Reid preserved his three time outs if the Chiefs were successful on the ensuing on-side kick. When the Patriots recovered the kick, the 59 wasted seconds became moot.
“At 2:20, we had an opportunity to get a play in ... to run a play,” Reid said on Sunday. “We thought it was a good play and an opportunity to possibly score. Now you’re sitting at the 2 minute warning with a touchdown and opportunity for an on-side kick. … We work those situations all the time, so we wanted to maintain our timeouts the best we could.
“But that play with 2:20 left, we didn’t get it run. We needed to get that done. There are things to go into that … we had run 89 plays, 83 official plays … and we were a bit tired at that point, so I put the big fellas (goal-line personnel) in, and we didn’t get that play off.”
The Chiefs did not have two plays called in the huddle in the event West didn’t score with 2:29 left or when Avant was stopped short of the goal line, requiring them to re-huddle.
“When you’re at the plus-5,” Reid said, “you want to score. It’s easy to say, ‘Why not have another play called?’ We had another play, but you want to give it your best plays down there. Not necessarily a 2-minute play but the best play you have in the game plan.
“You have anywhere from a minute on, after an onside kick, you have time to tie the game. When it was all said and done, we gave it our best shots, we were able to score, we still had plenty of time on the clock. … So I thought that part was handled right.”
That didn’t stop a torrent of criticism of Reid, who had a reputation of poor clock management with the Eagles, especially at the end of Super Bowl XXXIX, also against New England.
“I could tell the Philly media was up in the booth,” Reid said with a smile.
Reid was more upset with the Chiefs’ having to spend two time outs within a span of three plays on their first possession of the game that ended with a field goal.
“That (play) clock was moving fast, baby,” Reid said. “We need to do a little bit better job there.”
Reid on staff changes
Reid said he did not expect any members of his current staff to accompany offensive coordinator Doug Pederson to Philadelphia, where he is expected to be announced as the Eagles’ new head coach this week.
“You normally start with your own guys and build a program,” Reid said. “It was a little different in my situation coming here, because we were all released. If the staff is intact, you talk with the head coach, and we’ll do that. But I don’t foresee a lot of guys leaving to do that.”
Reid also said he plans to promote Pederson’s replacement as Chiefs offensive coordinator from within the staff. He wouldn’t go beyond that, but the logicial candidates would be among assistant head coach/wide receivers coach David Culley; running backs coach Eric Bieniemy; quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy or Brad Childress, the club’s spread-game analyst/special projects, who served as Reid’s offensive coordinator at Philadelphia during 2002-05 before becoming Minnesota’s head coach.
Houston’s eight snaps
Pro Bowl outside linebacker Justin Houston, who missed the last five regular-season games because of a knee injury, participated in only eight snaps against the Patriots.
The previous week, he took part in 44 snaps (or 69 percent of the defensive plays) in the wild-card win at Houston but said he was bothered by wearing a knee brace for the first time in his career. He was listed as questionable going into Saturday’s game, and Reid said he didn’t expect much participation from Houston.
“I thought Justin would be able to hold the point OK,’ Reid said, “but being able to push off and run with speed, he was going to struggle with that a little. When it was all said and done, we probably got just what we thought we’d get out of him.”
Getting the homefield edge
Had the Chiefs not suffered a last-second loss to Denver or blown a 14-point lead to Chicago, they would have won the AFC West, enjoyed a first-round bye and played a divisional-round game at Arrowhead Stadium last weekend.
Reid stressed the importance of securing the homefield to his players on the flight home from New England.
“You want to shoot for that and keep yourself in position right from the beginning of the year,” Reid said. “That’s got to drive you. I talked to the players individually and they understand that.
“That bye week is not a bad thing. Look at the players who got to play for the Patriots … (Rob) Gronkowski … (Julian) Edelman ... these were guys who contributed big in that game. It gave Tom (Brady) back his full bunch. It’s big.”