Two drives made Andy Reid a bum.
While I was commuting in to work today, I was reflecting on how angry Chiefs fans are following yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bears. I always find that fan anger interesting.
As a fan myself, I know just how badly it feels to watch my favorite teams lose. For years, the Chiefs losing on Sunday would straight-up ruin my week. I’m serious. I love sports, in particular, the NFL. Yet following a Chiefs loss, I couldn’t bring myself to read articles about them. Following winning streaks, I’d obsessively consume every outlet’s power rankings. After a defeat, I felt like seeing others confirm what I already knew — that the Chiefs were rubbish — was like pouring salt on a wound.
When I became editor of AA so long ago, I no longer had the luxury of burying my head in the sand. Maybe my professional obligations numbed me to the pain a little bit or at the very least, helped me learn how to deal with the bad feelings. Whatever caused it, however, I do feel like these days I have a little more perspective following a Chiefs loss than I did all those years ago.
Or maybe it’s just apathy. I dunno.
Anyway, my point is, these days I am more reflective than emotional. So as I pondered yesterday’s game on my way into work, I was trying to decide how bad Andy Reid really is as a coach. As I weighed Big Red’s pros and cons, it occurred to me that the narrative surrounding the Chiefs might be very different if not for the end results of two drives.
The first is obviously the drive at the end on the Denver game, which saw the Chiefs allow Peyton Manning to drive down the field and tie the game. Later, Jamaal Charles fumbled and the Broncos recovered and ran the ball into the end zone.
The second drive was the one we saw yesterday, which saw a bad Bears team take the ball down the field and secure a late lead.
These two drives turned Andy Reid into a bum.
Think about it. If the KC defense manages to get a stop on that Broncos drive, the Chiefs start the season 2-0.
It very easily could have happened. Sean Smith could have not gotten himself suspended. You could argue that had the CB played in that game, there is little chance the Broncos would have won. Or maybe Bob Sutton could have called better plays on the final drive. Or maybe Justin Houston or Tamba Hali could have come up with a big sack. Or maybe the Chiefs players could have not turned the ball over five times. Or maybe the Chiefs defenders could have caught one of the multiple interceptions they dropped in that game. Hell, maybe Jamaal Charles could have held on to the football at the end.
Any which way you look at it, there are a lot of people to point fingers at for that loss in addition to Andy Reid.
KC also could have easily defeated the Chicago Bears yesterday. If not for a blocked FG earlier in the game, the Bears would have had a much more difficult task ahead of them when trying to mount their comeback. If not for a bogus pass interference call, Chicago might not have had enough time to find the end zone.
If any of these things happen, the 1-4 Kansas City Chiefs could very well be the 3-2 Kansas City Chiefs. Instead of talking about the team securing the #1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, we’d be talking about how KC’s only two losses came on the road vs. two potential Super Bowl contenders. The Chiefs would also have three winnable games coming up against the Vikings, Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers and the winless Lions.
Unfortunately, for the Chiefs, they didn’t find a way to win these two games. KC’s season is all but dead, especially considering the team lost its most potent offensive weapon yesterday in Jamaal Charles.
Look, I’m not saying Andy Reid is getting an unfair shake here. The Chiefs, on paper at least, are talented enough to have a much better record than they do right now. And Reid certainly received his share of criticism even when the Chiefs put together back-to-back winning seasons the last two years. Maybe the Chiefs are underachieving under Reid. Maybe they would be better with anyone else at QB other than Alex Smith. Maybe Bob Sutton needs to go.
That said, I doubt the “fire Reid” rumblings would be as loud if not for the two drives discussed here. Currently Reid still has a winning record as a head coach in KC. Including the playoffs, the Chiefs are 21-17 under Big Red.
The two years before Reid, Dorsey, Smith and Sutton arrived, KC was 9-23. And while the team should be getting better in year three of this regime rather than worse, we are only five games into the season. It is possible, that despite some idiots declaring the 2015 season over that the Chiefs will turn things around. History says that Andy Reid’s teams win more often than they lose. While it might not end in a playoff appearance, there might be more left to this 2015 Chiefs season than we all think right now.
Lastly, on Reid, maybe let’s pump the brakes. I am not saying that the man is perfect or even that his job should be safe.
I’m just saying, be careful what you wish for.
Oct 20, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley reacts after defeating the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel walks onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Team Nitro head coach Herm Edwards during the second half at Tropicana Field. Team Highlight defeated the Team Nitro 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2015; Pittsford, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Cassel (16) signs autographs for fans after a practice session during training camp at St. John Fisher College. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyler Thigpen (4) before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Brady Quinn looks on before facing the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
December 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton (18) during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli shown on the sideline of the game against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Ravens 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports