Technically, the game and the score were meaningless. Yet you wouldn’t have known it by watching the preseason opener for the K.C Chiefs as they visited the San Francisco 49ers last Saturday night.
When backup quarterback Shane Buechele led the team to a game-winning touchdown with just over a minute left, it was an exciting moment worth celebrating as the Chiefs officially started the season with their first win and, hopefully, set the tone for the year ahead.
With Jody Fortson in motion on a third-and-goal attempt late in the fourth quarter, Buechele had to make the call in an instant to either hand it off to Derrick Gore or fake it and keep it himself. He chose the latter after reading the defense, who swarmed Gore, and he ran in the keeper to put the Chiefs up 19-17.
After the game, Buechele was clearly still excited as he sat down to chat with reporters, and he explained that he felt ready for the moment because the Chiefs coaches had prepared him for it even in his limited time with the team.
Shane Buechele credits Chiefs coaches for their preparation.
“We do those situations in practice, those two-minute situations, so I felt prepared,” said Buechele. “I was ready. My teammates did a great job of just helping me drive down the field and happily we got a touchdown. It was good.
“We work for these situations. A bunch of NFL games are tight at the end, so you know you’re going to have to do one of these situations eventually, so we’re working in practice and thankfully we’ll be prepared for that moment.”
Given the presence of Patrick Mahomes under center for the Chiefs, Buechele knows he’s not likely to enjoy many such moments when it actually counts. However, given the lack of any other long-term presence behind Mahomes for the Chiefs, Buechele’s early successes with the team could prove important for his future. After all, Chad Henne is 36 years old and signed only through the 2021 season.