Late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game between the Chiefs and Patriots, the Chiefs got the ball to New England’s 1-yard-line down 27-13 with 2:33 left in the game.
Kansas City had all three of their timeouts left, so a score before the two minute warning would offer them the option of kicking off deep and trying to force a punt that got them the ball back with enough time for a shot at tying the game. Things didn’t play out that way.
Charcandrick West lost a yard on a running play and the Chiefs didn’t get another play off before the two minute mark as they huddled up while the seconds fell away. Coach Andy Reid, whose Eagles had some urgency issues against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX, said after the game that they “wanted to make sure we got our best personnel in for that play and we didn’t get that done.” Quarterback Alex Smith had a different take, though.
He said throwing the ball in that spot would have offered the team the chance to stop the clock with an incompletion and wondered if getting things exactly right was more important that keeping the momentum going after Albert Wilson put them on the doorstep.
“It’s a fine line, you know, we were down numbers there at receivers. We only had three there at the end and those guys going and doing the best they can,” Smith said in comments distributed by the Patriots. “Then it’s a fine line getting in the best play versus keep going at the line of scrimmage. Certainly would have been nice to get a score before the two-minute warning, would have helped, you know tremendously, with three timeouts. That probably hurt us there, you know, having the opportunity. Probably could have just kicked off and go for the stop and then would have had decent position potentially with the three timeouts. But it definitely hurt us there not being able to get that off before the two-minute warning.”
The Chiefs would make matters worse after the break with a false start and it took five more snaps overall for them to get the ball in the end zone with 73 seconds left to play. Getting in the end zone quicker might not have changed the outcome, but a minute of game time was too much for the Chiefs to lose at that point in the proceedings.