The Kansas City Chiefs, now winners of two straight, may have found their identity on Sunday morning. Andy Reid and company humiliated the Detroit Lions 45-10 in London’s Wembley Stadium. The team departed the United Kingdom on a return flight to Kansas City in finely tailored, European-cut suits.
I mean that metaphorically. This weekend’s trip across the pond may have revealed the truth of who the Chiefs really are. The Lions are clearly a team in dire straits, but I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss what we saw on Sunday.
It all started with the Chiefs’ offense. When Reid came to Kansas City, we knew he’d bring the West Coast offense with him. It’s a system that emphasizes a high-percentage passing attack over the run game. It was clear the Chiefs were never going to be Mike Martz’s “Greatest Show on Turf” or the Spygate Patriots of 2007.
That’s mostly been the case since the new administration took office. In Reid’s first two seasons, his offense finished sixth and 16th in the leaugue, respectively, in 2013 and 2014. Over that stretch, the Chiefs have scored 30 or more points only twice in contests where the passing game was a relatively insignificant piece of the offensive puzzle.
The most intriguing part of Kansas City’s third win of the season wasn’t the box score; it was how they won the game that impressed me. Offensively, the Chiefs scored six touchdowns despite only three big plays the entire day (two of which were on the ground).
Think about that for a second. All offseason, there was a focus both by the team and the Kingdom on chunk plays. It’s been said that the final frontier for Reid’s offensive group is the ability to stretch the field. Sunday proved this offense can be potent even in the absence of the big play. Reid’s offensive unit worked for one reason against the Lions — efficiency (both on third down and in the red zone).
Kansas City converted 8-of-13 third down plays on Sunday (61%). The Chiefs also scored touchdowns on 6-of-7 red zone trips (85%). That kind of success rate can be a major benefit to an offense that isn’t chewing up yardage on a regular basis.
This is exactly what Reid’s offense can be when called creatively. Reid’s offensive mix the past two weeks has been much improved. The Chiefs displayed a prominent, interior ground game, but also mixed in crossers, quick screens, and misdirection plays. In crucial situations, Reid was at his absolute best. He seemed to dig deep into his playbook to dial up creative plays when Kansas City needed them the most.
Next: Can't forget the defensive/special teams units...