Reliving Andy Reid’s first game with Kansas City Chiefs

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 08: Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid shakes hands with Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 08: Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid shakes hands with Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 8, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Alex Smith’s first game

Opening week in Jacksonville wasn’t just Andy Reid’s first game for Kansas City; it was also the first time that Alex Smith took to the field in a Chiefs’ uniform. Kansas City traded for Smith in the offseason before the ’13 season, acquiring him from the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick and conditional mid-round pick.

In his debut for the Chiefs, Smith put up solid numbers and looked like a vast improvement from the Matt Cassel/Brady Quinn mess the season before. Smith had 173 yards and two touchdowns on 31 attempts, completing 62% of his passes. He had an extra 25 yards on the ground and he looked good on the day – making some good throws and moving the ball down the field well.

That day in Jacksonville would mark the start of a successful era for Smith and K.C. The former number one overall pick spent five years in Kansas City—the best five years of his career—and, alongside Reid, he played a massive role in changing the direction of the franchise.

Smith had 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2013, as well as a completion percentage north of 60 and a rating of 89.1—numbers that were all vast improvements over what the Chiefs had at QB in previous seasons—and he was even selected to the Pro Bowl that season. He threw for 17,608 yards and 102 touchdowns with a completion rate of 65.1 as a Chief, all higher numbers than he had over his seven years in San Francisco.

Smith led the Chiefs to the playoffs four out of the five seasons he was in K.C., and you could certainly argue that, without Smith, the Chiefs would not be where they are today.

Bob Sutton and KC’s defense

Kansas City’s defense was on fire that day in Jacksonville in what was actually Bob Sutton’s first game as the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator. After three years as the defensive coordinator with the New York Jets, Sutton came to K.C. and, like Reid, had an immediate impact on the team.

Sutton inherited a terrible Chiefs defense—one that had ranked in the bottom 10 in the league in just about every major defensive category—‚but they had a fantastic game in his debut. The Chiefs didn’t allow Jacksonville to score a single point on offense, and they had limited the Jags to just 70 total yards early in the fourth quarter.

Kansas City sacked Jags’ quarterback Blaine Gabbert six times on the day and had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and they limited the Jags to just four first downs in the first half.

It was a great start to what was a much better season defensively for the Chiefs. In Sutton’s first year as DC, the Chiefs improved to be fifth overall in points allowed and second in takeaways. They conceded an average of 19 points per game in 2013, having given up an average of 27 points the season before—although, they did give up 45 points to Indianapolis in the Wild Card Round in 2013.

Sutton’s defense got even better in 2014 and 2015, and although things started to fall off in his last three years in K.C. after that, he still played a crucial role in helping the Chiefs become a competitive defense once again.

Old friends galore

Rewatching old games brings back some great memories of players who used to be stars for Kansas City, and this game was no exception. Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Jamal Charles were all fantastic against Jacksonville, and it was cool to see familiar faces in Dustin Colquitt, Ryan Succop, Eric Berry, Geoff Schwartz, Jeff Allen, Dwayne Bowe, and Dexter McCluster in action as well.

Offensively, Charles had 77 yards on 16 carries with 1 touchdown. It was the first game in one of the best seasons of his career, in which he had 1,980 yards from scrimmage, with 12 rushing and 7 receiving TDs—all career highs. He was named a first-team All Pro that year.

Anthony Sherman (44 yards), McCluster (43 yards) and Bowe (30 yards) were K.C.’s leading receivers on the day.

On defense, Hali and Brandon Flowers both had interceptions, with Hali returning his pick for a touchdown. Houston had three sacks on the day and Dontari Poe had 1.5, while Eric Berry and Derrick Johnson led the team in tackles with seven each.

Eric Fisher wore a Chiefs uniform for the first time that day too, making his NFL debut after the Chiefs selected him with the number one overall pick during the offseason. Fisher was on the field for all but one of KC’s snaps on offense against the Jags, in what would be his first of 117 games for the Chiefs.

Another familiar face was on the field that day, with Chad Henne coming in at QB for the Jags late in the fourth quarter. 2013 was Henne’s second of five seasons in Jacksonville, and he would start 13 games for them that season, putting up 3,241 yards with 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Jacksonville was really bad

One final thing that stood out while watching the game was seeing how bad the Jacksonville Jaguars were. The only thing uglier than their on-field performance was the awful gold-black faded helmets that they wore that day.

Gabbert was the starting QB for the Jags, he threw for just 121 yards and completed less than 50 percent of his passes with a rating of just 30.8. Maurice Jones-Drew was at running back for the Jags, but coming off a career year that saw him named first-team All-Pro, even he was limited with just 45 yards on 15 carries.

The Jags didn’t score a single point on offense – their two points came from a safety early in the first quarter – and more than half of their total yards on offense came in garbage time. Jacksonville had six punts in the first half and nine on the day, and they did not get the ball into Chiefs territory for the first time until midway through the fourth quarter.

The Jags would finish the 2013 season with a 4-12 record, missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season.

Next. Ranking the Chiefs top 15 draft picks ever. dark