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Chiefs Blitz: Q&A about 17-13 win over Cleveland on Sunday

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters intercepted a pass intended for Browns tight end Gary Barnidge (left) in the second quarter Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters intercepted a pass intended for Browns tight end Gary Barnidge (left) in the second quarter Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

1. What happened to the play calling in the second half? And did you think they didn’t blitz enough? - @KCChiefs_58

I think they went conservative against a bad team. Andy Reid said after the game that they wanted to get their running game going against the league’s 31st-ranked run defense, which makes sense. Problem is, it didn’t work — and the passing plays seemed very vanilla. Defensively, it’s not as simple as blitzing Johnny Manziel. When you blitz mobile quarterbacks like him, it creates natural running lanes. The dude ran for more than 100 yards and they “mush rushed” him plenty — he’d have had way more if they blitzed like crazy. The strategy paid off, by the way; Manziel completed only 13 of 32 passes.

2. Do you think the offense is taking its foot off the gas, or should we be concerned about letting these bad teams stay close? -@ActualJ_Proctor

I think they’re taking the foot off the pedal. Reid is going to dial up his good stuff for the playoffs, just like he did in the 2014 wild-card game against Indianapolis. Heck, he might bring it out next week against an ascending Raiders team, provided the Broncos lose Monday. A Denver loss means the Chiefs will clinch the AFC West title with a win over Oakland.

3. Biggest issue that needs correcting before playoffs? - @scottytheriault

The outside run defense. The Browns had far too much success pounding the ball at the edges on Sunday. The eventual return of linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston will do a lot to shore up this area; the Chiefs’ run defense has been really solid with them in the lineup.

4. Why couldn’t we establish a run game against the 31st-ranked run defense? Did (Jeff) Allen disrupt chemistry? - @azecho

That’s unlikely. The Chiefs have run the ball fine with Allen in the lineup. Give credit where it’s due — the Browns played the run well. But some of it may have been the play calling. Browns safety Donte Whitner said they had a pretty good idea of what the Chiefs were going to do in the second half. Again, it’s highly unlikely the Chiefs’ play calling will be this predictable in the playoffs.

5. Do you think Reid will start our starters next week? Or does it depend on whether the Broncos lose or not? - @Chief_Brizuela

Hard to say. Reid did not give any hints Sunday, and past history dictates that he won’t before the Raiders game. However, if the Broncos lose, it’s safe to say the Chiefs will do all they can to win the AFC West for the first time since 2010.

The Kansas City Star's Sam Melllinger, Blair Kerkhoff, Terez A. Paylor and Vahe Gregorian dissect the Chiefs' 17-13 win over the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 27, 2015.

The number

30: Andy Reid’s 30 wins in his first three seasons are the most of any Chiefs coach, including Marty Schottenheimer (29) and Dick Vermeil (27).

Highlights from the comments of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid following Sunday's 17-13 win over Cleveland, a win that, coupled with the Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the Baltimore Ravens, clinched a spot in the playoffs for Kansas City.

Terez A. Paylor: 816-234-4489, @TerezPaylor