Following the KC Chiefs’ 19-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, KC Star beat writer Terez A. Paylor answered Twitter questions about why coach Andy Reid went for it on fourth down, didn’t challenge Demetrius Harris’ incompletion, ways to improve the run defense and more.
The media asked Reid about this after the game. Reid said he saw a replay of the catch and made a judgment call.
“I didn’t think he had it,” Reid said. “He didn’t have complete control of it.”
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Reid was also asked about this after the game. Here’s what he said:
“There was almost 13 minutes left to go and we hadn’t been down and hadn’t done much throughout the afternoon,” Reid said. “We had an opportunity to get down there and potentially score and we felt like we had a couple plays that we felt real good about and we called on them. That didn’t work out, so hindsight ends up being that you wish you would’ve kicked it. But at the time, I felt pretty strong that we would complete it.”
Reid has a point. I, personally, despise short field goals, because I think they end up coming back to bite you more often than not, and players love when their coach shows confidence in them. It didn’t work out though, so bash away. That’s why Reid gets paid millions every season, to make that call and take the heat if it doesn’t work.
The Chiefs’ gap discipline and physicality didn’t match the Steelers’ up front –– period. The Steelers used lots of zone and power concepts with pulling linemen that the Chiefs failed to defend correctly. Linemen and linebackers failed to get off blocks, and when they actually did line up Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell for a hit, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Pro Bowler often shimmied or stiff-armed or ran over them.
Here’s more bad news, guys –– typically, improving gap discipline and physicality takes reps, and since teams are no longer allowed to hit in practice the way they used to, it’s certainly no guarantee this issue will be addressed before 2018. The coaches can try adding an additional defender to the box –– and boy, Eric Berry sure was good at playing the run in that role –– but all that does is create more space for quarterbacks to throw in today’s pass-happy NFL, which is hardly ideal. Guys, to stop the run in today’s NFL, defenders simply have to shed blocks and make plays in “even” boxes (i.e. seven blockers vs. seven defenders near the line of scrimmage, for example). Too often this season, the Chiefs have failed to do that, and I don’t think there’s a quick fix.
Not necessarily. These guys have the Chiefs’ number –– they’ve lost to the Steelers the last three times they’ve faced them –– but all runs like that eventually come to an end. Remember when the Broncos used to own the Chiefs? Right. The Chiefs flipped that rivalry on its head. I think it would be interesting to see these squads meet again in the playoffs, especially if the Chiefs are a little healthier. Don’t give up the faith, guys. You’re rooting for a 5-1 football team. That’s a hard record to obtain. Chill.
There are two primary areas of concern after this game –– the run defense and injuries. I covered the run defense issues a few questions ago, and the injuries are a big, big problem. Reid didn’t want to make any excuses when asked about it –– “There have been a few (injuries) but the next guys step up and they do a good job,” he said –– but the Chiefs played this game without starters like Mitch Morse, Chris Conley, Eric Berry, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Albert Wilson, while others like Tyreek Hill, Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Travis Kelce all played hurt.
Throw in the concussions suffered by Hill and running back Charcandrick West, and the Chiefs’ depth will be seriously tested for the foreseeable future, especially since they’ll only come out of their showdown against Oakland on Thursday –– which will be played on three days rest –– even more beat up than before.