The Eagles introduced coach Doug Pederson on Tuesday, only three days after his prior employer lost in the postseason to the highest-profile team Philly actually beat in 2015: The Patriots. Pederson’s welcome wagon consisted of a grilling regarding his role in the historically slow march to the end zone when the Chiefs were down by 14 points.
As MDS has pointed out, the Chiefs’ took more time than all but one of the 2,111 drives since 1998 in which a team trailed by 9-17 points with less than seven minutes to play. But it was Pederson, the offensive coordinator, not coach Andy Reid who called the plays during the drive that started with 6:29 to play and ended after 5:16 had evaporated.
“It took us time because No. 1, we did not want to give Tom Brady the ball back,” Pederson said. “We knew we were going to score. We knew we had timeouts and time. We were also limited with the number of receivers; we had Jeremy Maclin out of the game at the time. We were down numbers. We felt like at that point, not to give the ball back to Tom Brady. We still had timeouts and time, even with the onside kick, to put ourselves in a position to tie the football game.”
It’s a plausible explanation, even though quarterback Alex Smith has lamented the team’s failure to score before the two-minute warning despite having the ball at the New England one with 2:33 to play. But whether it’s plausible and whether it’s the unvarnished truth could be two different realities. The truth simply could be that the Chiefs simply were taking too long to pick plays and to communicate plays given the magnitude of the moment, with seconds flying by faster as the pressure intensified.
Indeed, if the goal was to not give Brady the ball back, the Chiefs should have simply scored as quickly as possible and kicked it onside anyway, like former Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil considered doing a dozen years earlier against the Colts and Peyton Manning, after the Chiefs cut the score to 38-31 with 4:22 to play.
Regardless of the reason for the deliberate pace, Pederson’s 0-0 record with the Eagles already comes with a footnote. If/when Pederson (who will call the plays in Philly) fails to quickly get the plays called, the fans will roll their eyes and say the powers-that-be should have seen this coming based on the final act of Pederson’s career as a coordinator in Kansas City.