Following the loss to the Cowboys, plenty of things could be blamed. But for the second time this season, it was the Chiefs’ offense that fell short.
This isn’t an attack on Alex Smith or Andy Reid or Kareem Hunt or the offensive line. No need to jump to the defense of whichever part of the offense you hold most dear. The season isn’t over, but there are problems to be solved. Take a breath and we’ll get through the bye week.
But on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs lost with lackluster performances on both sides of the ball. No need to fight over that point. However, the Chiefs allowed 28 points to the Cowboys – exactly what the Cowboys’ offense averages. The Chiefs defense, a much-maligned unit, did enough for the team to win. They held the Cowboys to an average performance. It was a flat offensive showing that left the Chiefs with the loss.
With a pseudo-punt return for a touchdown as time expired in the first half, the Chiefs offense managed 17 points with one explosive play, one good drive, and one field goal. With a dominant defense, that probably won’t be enough to win most NFL games. Even the Jaguars, with the NFL’s lowest points-per-game-allowed total (14.6) lost the last time they scored only 17 points (though 17 would have been plenty against the Colts and Bengals). But against a competent offense and when your defense is at least somewhat porous, your offense simply must produce better than the Chiefs’ offense has produced vs. the Steelers and at the Cowboys. Andy Reid knows this.
For as much criticism as Bob Sutton receives for his bend-don’t-break defense, there’s a reason that Reid gives half of the gameplan to Sutton every week. Reid likes it that way. Simply hold the opponent to an average offensive showing, and Reid will scheme up the victory. (Similar logic has applied to Alex Smith’s role in Reid’s offense in the past. Put up an average performance and Reid will do the rest.) But when your offense puts up an inept performance (17 points against Dallas and 13 against Pittsburgh), the lights shine brighter on your defensive flaws. That’s not how it works in Kansas City.
Andy Reid is the kingpin of the organization, and he is here to win games with his offense. The defense can still be criticized for its shortcomings (as it was after the loss to the Raiders), but in this week’s loss, it’s Reid’s side of the ball that failed to live up to its purpose.
(For more on this topic and everything else we saw on Sunday against the Cowboys, listen to Monday’s episode of Roughing the Kicker – embedded above.)
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