Pederson explains slow pace of play calling late in Chiefs-Patriots


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.

50 responses to “Pederson explains slow pace of play calling late in Chiefs-Patriots

  1. It’s a ridiculous explanation by Pederson and by Reid.

    They needed to score ASAP so they did not have to resort to a low percentage onside kick in order to try to tie it.

    How is that the fans and the media all know this, but the coaches don’t?

  2. “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.”

    It’s a plausible explanation … if the Chiefs were going to tie or take the lead with the score. The fact they failed to realize they needed two makes it boneheaded at best.

  3. This sounds worse the more they try and explain. They were so scared of giving the ball back to Brady with any time left they lost sight of the fact they were trailing by 2 scores and needed time to get the second one. And they’re essentially bragging about it like everybody is supposed to nod in agreement with them. Bizarre.

    Sure, trailing by 5 you’d prefer not scoring with 2 full minutes left because Brady would have plenty of time to beat you. But you were down two scores and your methodical pace made it almost impossible for you to get the second score even had the onside kick went your way. Dumb.

  4. Clearly Jeff Lurie offered Pederson the job before the Chiefs played New England. I wonder if he wanted to rescind the offer after watching Pederson’s “hurry up” offense?

  5. I honestly felt like his answer about not wanting to give the ball back to Brady – when his team was down 14 points in the final minutes of a playoff game – was one of the 10 worst answers I’ve ever heard in a press conference.

  6. Did they realize they were down by two scores? Did they know that if they scored quickly, they would have three time outs and the two minute warning working for them? Did they even consider an on sides kick? I think the answer to all three of these questions is, “no.”

  7. They had a better chance giving Brady the ball back and trying to stop them, with the Pats trying to run out the clock, than they did trying to recover an onside kick with under a minute left. Nice he’s defending Reid, but don’t be ridiculous.

  8. Not giving Brady the ball back makes sense if you will hold the lead after you score, but you were down two (2) scores. To get two scores, you usually need the ball twice. You had it once because you wasted all that time. So you lost. That’ll be $50,000.

  9. The drive was fine, not perfect, but fine. The decision to go for the onside kick wasn’t. That move would have cost them 40-yards in field position with a minute left had they gotten the ball back. It sounds like it was Reid’s decision, (“even with the onside kick”) though I’d like Pederson to be more forthcoming.

  10. What Pederson and the Chiefs did was the equivalent in basketball of playing the four corners offense even though you’re down by ten with two minutes to play.

  11. Not plausible at all. Lame excuses nothing more.

    Among the worst clock management I’ve ever seen in 50+ years of watching the NFL.

  12. “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.”


    The welcome wagon isn’t very friendly here either — a post that holds him singularly accountable for his team’s coming up short last weekend and an intentionally nasty photograph.

    All of Pederson’s answers (7 consecutive sentences) begin with “We”, not “I”. If his explanation proves anythings, it’s that on Saturday the Chiefs coaching staff had little confidene in their defense late in the game.

  13. Even if their strategy of playing for an onside kick to keep Brady from getting the ball back was a good one; they did it completely wrong.

    The chances of recovering an onside kick plummet when the other team knows you are going for one. If that is what they wanted to do, the Chiefs had to play for a QUICK first score. That way there would have been enough time left that the Patriots wouldn’t know if they were going for the onside kick or if they would kick it deep and play for their defense to get a stop to set up the second score. You them milk the clock on the drive for the SECOND score.

  14. Horrible explanation. Here’s actually more of a statement, which Madden player can tell you.

    When it’s first and goal inside the 5 – even on the 1 – and time is short, you should throw into the end zone on every down. That way you only run off six or seven second and you can try again. Never run until fourth down because the clock impact of not getting in catastrophic.

    I know this, you all know this, whey doesn’t an NFL coach know this? We are reminded that they would all be HS Gym teachers if not employed in football…

  15. .
    If Brady got the ball back in that situation, he wouldn’t be going 5 wide, no huddle. He would have been handing off, killing the clock. If KC stopped them, they would have had plenty of time to score.

  16. The only more brilliant idea than running out the clock would be to NOT score at all — then the Chiefs would have been ASSURED that Tom Brady did not get the ball back! The Chiefs even failed at that objective.

  17. This is why I always laugh at fans who complain about other fans defending coaching gaffes simply on the basis of , “He’s a coach and you think you know more than him?” A lot of coaches are walking examples of the Peter Principle, having risen to the level of their incompetence being unmasked.

    At the NFL level I simply wouldn’t hire a head coach who had not previously shown success as a head coach somewhere else at some level – college or pro. It’s not a position for OTJ training.

  18. Oops, I actually thought that was what they were doing – and it does make some sense if they calculated that their chance of winning the onside kick, plus the better field position, plus Brady not getting the ball, is all a better proposition than your chance of stopping Brady and having further to go to score again. However, I’m suspicious because Alex Smith would have had to be in on the plan and yet he seems genuinely irritated that they weren’t quicker.

  19. He looks like that Rob Riggle comedian guy, who come to think of it, might have been a more inspiring HC choice.

  20. I have my own theory. He couldn’t accept the Eagles job until the Chief’s season was over. He didn’t see anyway the Chiefs would win either the AFCCG or the Superbowl, so he might as well get it over with.

    Cynical? Yes, but let’s face it, this league has lost integrity. If Indy could “Suck for Luck” and no eyebrows were raised in Roger’s office, why on earth would any front office or coaching staff be concerned about their choices? Unless their balls weren’t at the PSI the scientifically challenged thought it should be.

  21. This is laughable. Brady turns slightly less than 50% of his drives into scores whereas onside kicks succeed about 10% of the time. So in your infinite wisdom you bet on the 10% chance instead of the 50% chance?

    yeah, makes perfect sense.

  22. If I was the Eagles that’s the 1st question I would have asked him before hiring him as my HC. Eagles did not upgrade their HC position from Kelly with this hire.

  23. The more time left in the game, the more likely an on-side kick will be a surprise. Score with four minutes left, and you could force a 3-and-out and get the ball back. Then, if you kick an onside, even if the other team is watching for it, they can’t commit to have the ‘hands team’ out to receive. And if they do put the hands team out, kick it deep, there’s no return, and then try for a 3-and-out.

  24. If they were only down one score instead of two this would have been a plausible explanation. But it’s not.

  25. If he has a different time management philosophy than Andy, that would make him like the rest of the known world.

    He wasn’t gonna use this opportunity to lay it out. Do you really expect him to throw his mentor under the bus as he takes the podium for the first time as a HC?

  26. I truly hope this was not the real explanation because it shows a lack of understanding of the situation.

    If they had been down by 7 or less, it makes sense that you want this to be the last drive of the game.

    Down by 14, you need to get the ball back and if you score quickly then you both give yourself sufficient time to score if you recover the onside kick (since they didn’t want to give Brady a chance I assume they are always kicking it unless they scored on the first play) or get a chance to get the ball back with time if you don’t recover the onside kick.

    I mean the Eagles lost Superbowl XXXIX largely because of bad play calling. Watch what happens on their final drive, they throw a check down despite the fact they need to go 95 yards in 60 seconds to win and probably 60 to have a chance to tie.

  27. This is not an “explanation”. It is babbling, incoherent nonsense. I’m almost positive Pederson didn’t want to throw Reid under the bus but I really don’t believe that Pederson was calling the shots on that drive. The complete lack of awareness has Reid’s fingerprints all over it.

    This explanation aside I don’t think we should assume that Pederson will automatically fail. He was an uninspiring hire, that I did not support, but he’s putting together a good staff and in a weak division the Eagles can still compete.

  28. So his logic is he’d rather let the game come down to an onsides kick than score and play D? If that’s legit and just not a way to excuse Big Red it’s scary this guy is gonna be in charge.

    Also reassuring that he was calling the plays in the second half of KC games.

    1st half scoring rank= 3rd in the NFL
    2nd half scoring= 15th in the NFL

    Obviously score etc. plays a role but clearly the O was less effective with Pederson calling the plays.

    Have to wait and see but the more I hear the more this hire became about getting the anti-Chip than the best coach available.

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