Chiefs debuted intriguing formation on Monday night

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Last night’s game between Washington and Kansas City included a new formation for the Chiefs’ offense. A formation with intriguing possibilities going forward.

Fourth quarter. Third and two. Ball on the Washington 33. Quarterback Alex Smith stood in shotgun formation, running back Kareem Hunt to his right. Smith stepped back as tight end Travis Kelce came from the right side of the line to the position where Smith had been standing. Likewise, receiver Tyreek Hill shifted from the left slot to the left of Kelce.

After the quartet became set, a flinch of Hill’s left shoulder didn’t draw a flag for a false start (it should have). Eventually, Kelce took the snap, faked a handoff to Hill moving left to right, and ran the ball into the middle of the line for a first down. (Hunt moved to the right after the snap, and Smith started to the left, with no involvement in the play.)

The wrinkle, which hadn’t been used before by the Chiefs, gives defensive coordinators something to think about moving forward. Kelce could hand the ball off to Hill. Hunt could be the one who crosses Kelce for a fake or actual handoff, moving right to left. Kelce could fake a handoff to either guy and throw it. Also, Kelce could fake the handoff and pitch it to the fleet-footed Smith, who could (with a seal from the receiver of the cornerback) rocket down the left sideline.

Or they may never use it again. Regardless, smart coaches will spend time preparing for the possibility of facing the formation — which at a minimum will reduce the time they spend focusing on the rest of a diverse and effective offense.

For those reasons, the effort gets the nod for the Week Four play of the week on the PFTPM podcast. Listen to the less-than-30-minute show for that and other awards for the fourth week of the season.

24 responses to “Chiefs debuted intriguing formation on Monday night

  1. Can hardly talk about football play design without it being drawn, Mike.
    All you need is a $30 screen capture utility like snag it.

  2. Thought the play was stupid and unnecessary. Reid’s little gimmicks are fun until 1. They don’t work in the playoffs and 2. He gets a star player like Kelce hurt doing this stupidity.

  3. @mindcrashed

    reid’s “little gimmicks” have resulted in the chiefs leading the league with 6.8 yards per play, and leading the league in rushing despite being 21st in attempts. your hot take is bad and you should feel bad.

  4. It’s a bunch of great athletes who can do multiple things- running, catching, ball handling. If Kelce can take the snap, you could even get the QB off the field and bring in another speed guy like DeAnthony Thomas or Albert Wilson and just go nuts.

  5. It’s all good until January when we can look forward to Smith’s checkdoens and Reid’s brain farts in the last 2 minutes leading to yet another playoff loss. Book it!

  6. tootitan says:
    October 3, 2017 at 6:36 pm
    Kelce could also fake into the line and throw back to Smith for a long toss downfield.

    That would be a great play if Smith was capable of a “long toss downfield”, Andy Reid and the Chiefs regular season Champs!

  7. Yeah that play was confusing as it’s like a Pistol but Kelce was under snap, and Smith was behind him. Caught me off guard and I play football and study formations. I thought Kelce was there to block. There’s a lot that can be done out if it with their group. Heck they can avoid Kelce completely and just snap it back as a regular passing play.

  8. @davikes

    They let Poe toss one last season against Denver. I hope Kelce doesn’t get the chance, but I’d be surprised if it hasn’t been attempted in practice.

  9. It’s a good thing Reid didn’t use this deceptive formation against Baltimore. John Harbaugh would have thrown a fit post game and demanded an emergency meeting of the competition committee to ban it.

  10. red says:
    October 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm
    If the Pats had done this, everyone would be accusing them of cheating


    And they’d be right.

  11. spoaktown707 says:
    October 3, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    That would be a great play if Smith was capable of a “long toss downfield”, Andy Reid and the Chiefs regular season Champs!

    You should try actually watching a game sometime.

  12. These plays show the evolution of the game where we now have more running backs catching passes, wide receivers and tight ends rushing the football and more quarterbacks running the ball for long gains. Some will like it, some will not.

  13. spoaktown707 says:
    October 3, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    That would be a great play if Smith was capable of a “long toss downfield


    This would be a great point if Alex weren’t third in yards per attempt.

  14. davikes says:
    October 3, 2017 at 7:20 pm
    Interesting play, but I can’t imagine they would let Kelce throw it. It’s fun football to watch, anyway.

    Kelce was a QB in high school, so I’d bet money that we see it at some point this year.

  15. If it went for no gain the comment section would read ” It went no where, throw those gimmicks out!!”. But it gained a yard and got a first down and everyone is calling it a cool play..

    NFL fans…

  16. In short, they basically lined up, shifted one guy to shotgun rb spot, then motioned another into the backfield, then motioned another to his spot. And in the end you have a way to shift multible times into a wild cat. All that shifting isn’t anything new, the Redskins under Joe Gibbs would like up, and then shift 2 to 4 times, then set, then send a man in motion. It’s a way to run the same plays you have but shifting to confuse assignments on defense.
    Lucky to even win the game, in honestly they most likely should have lost! But in reality they didn’t so still undefeated!!!

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