How the Kansas City Chiefs choked away a Super Bowl
Not Getting Points Before Halftime Was A Killer
The Chiefs had a great first half of football. They jumped out to a commanding 21-3 lead and it looked like they would cruise to a third straight Super Bowl appearance. The offense was continuing the elite play we’d seen throughout the playoffs and the defense was making enough stops to get the job done. Life was good and I was feeling good about saying that this game would be much different than their first meeting.
Then with just over a minute to go in the half, Samaje Perine took a screen pass 41 yards for the Bengals’ first touchdown of the game. It cut KC’s lead to 21-10, but only allowing 10 points in the first half was acceptable for K.C., plus Mahomes and the offense had over a minute to try to add to their lead before halftime. Plus, KC would get the ball first in the second half. Things still looked good.
The Chiefs continued their offensive success and quickly moved all the way down the field and after a defensive pass interference call against Cincinnati in the end zone they found themselves with 1st and goal from the 1-yard line with 9 seconds to go in the half.
At that point, I was all for trying to get two quick shots to the end zone to see if K.C. could get a touchdown before settling for a field goal. The Chiefs did run two plays, but neither was quick or in the end zone. It still boggles my mind. How do you mess that up? Why do you run a play to Tyreek Hill where he gets the ball behind the line of scrimmage in that situation. You take two QUICK shots to the END ZONE. I get that the defense is looking for that, but come on now. Having to settle for a field goal isn’t the end of the world. Take your safe shots and extend your lead one way or the other.
I put that on Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy for the play call. I put that on Patrick Mahomes for deciding to throw that ball. The entire thing was an inexcusable mess and, unfortunately, it was a sign of things to come in the second half. Before I move on I just want to be crystal clear here. If the Chiefs are just marginally competent with how they handle the end of the first half, the game may have never gone to overtime and the Chiefs might be headed to their third straight Super Bowl.
While I put most of this choke job on the offense for this drive and their second-half performance (more on that in a minute), I do want to point out one critical shortcoming of the defense that helped fuel their collapse.