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.