In this week’s Chiefs Blitz, The Star’s Terez A. Paylor answers five postgame Twitter questions about the Chiefs’ suddenly-aggressive offense (and coach!), Eric Berry’s long-term future and more, including the stat of the day.
1. Did Andy finally open up the playbook or what was different for offense today? And run game still struggling. What's the deal? – @riesejr
Coach Andy Reid turned to a ton of shotgun against the league’s worst defense passing defense, and the Chiefs were very effective. They opened things up against a vulnerable defense, and the play calling was on point. The Falcons have a solid run defense, so the Chiefs’ running struggles weren’t a total surprise, but there was no way Atlanta could defend both. They had to choose, and the Chiefs made them pay enough to win.
2. Will we see more gutsy calls from Reid? #AskTerez – @ForeverChiefs01
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Reid had a great day Sunday; let’s give him credit for that. In the second quarter, he went for it on fourth and 1 on the Falcons’ 3 and scored a touchdown. In the third quarter, he forced the Falcons to burn a timeout by sending the offense back out on fourth and 1 at the Chiefs’ 45 – which led to a fake-punt touchdown. Even the offensive play calling was more aggressive than normal. Reid was on his game against the Falcons, so while it’s impossible to know if he will continue to be aggressive going forward, it’s certainly possible as this team continues to earn his trust in tough, high-leverage situations.
3. How do the Chiefs not pay Eric Berry this offseason – @lukeeugenehealy
It’s getting harder and harder to justify. His leadership, both on and off the field, continues to earn praise from teammates, and Berry has made game-changing plays in two of the Chiefs’ biggest wins this year (Atlanta and Carolina). His interceptions Sunday were impressive, largely because he jumped some route concepts — he’s made some improvements in that area — against a quarterback (Matt Ryan) who had a 26-6 interception ratio entering the game. Money should be tight for the Chiefs next offseason, but they need to find a way to retain their heart and soul, regardless of how good they are at finding safeties on the cheap (and they are)
4. Any idea about the crazy D personnel today? Zombo played a lot, so did Mitchell instead of White/Acker, and all of the weird DL combos? – @chiefsmaniac
Good question. I’m pretty sure Frank Zombo played a lot because Justin Houston (shoulder) and Dee Ford (hamstring) were both banged up. D.J. White and Kenneth Acker weren’t listed on the injury report, so Terrance Mitchell must have overtaken them. Good observation on the D-line combos; the Chiefs added a new wrinkle this week by using hockey-style shifts to keep their interior guys fresh against an explosive offense. Good move.
5. How does this win impact Thursday night’s Raiders matchup – @Schimerda
It’s crucial, because the Chiefs have a chance to seize control of the AFC West on Thursday with a home victory against the archrival Oakland Raiders. Beyond that, the Chiefs also have games looming against Tennessee (6-6), Denver (8-4) and San Diego (5-7), which means the path to a top-two seed in the AFC — and perhaps the top seed, thanks to the season-ending injury to New England tight end Rob Gronkowski — is there for the taking.
1 — Safety Eric Berry became the first player in franchise history to record multiple seasons with two or more interception-return touchdowns.