Andy Reid: I was optimistic, but didn’t know rookie DBs would step up

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs
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The Chiefs got big plays from established stars like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, and Frank Clark on their way to Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game, but there were some less heralded names playing big roles as well.

After L'Jarius Sneed was injured early in the first quarter, the Chiefs were left with rookies Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson, and Joshua Williams at cornerback. Second-round pick Bryan Cook was also frequently in the game at safety as the Chiefs were left with a very young secondary.

Watson had an interception in the first half and Cook deflected a pass that Williams picked off for another turnover in the fourth quarter of what turned out to be an effective day for the Chiefs defense. On Monday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he always hoped that the rookies would be able to perform well but that they still had to prove it in a big spot.

“It’s crazy how those things work, but the kids stepped up,” Reid said, via Charles Goldman of “They didn’t lose their confidence. I was optimistic, but you don’t know how the journey is going to go. Here we sit and they did a good job.”

The Chiefs will hope to get Sneed back from the concussion protocol in time to face the Eagles, but they’ll be able to feel a bit more confident about the other pieces of their defensive puzzle after Sunday’s outing.

8 responses to “Andy Reid: I was optimistic, but didn’t know rookie DBs would step up

  1. Chiefs had plays from every round of the draft in this game, McDuffie, Karlaftis with a sack and pressures, skyy Moore with the big punt return, Williams and Watson detailed in the article, Pacheco with a good game.

  2. Holding off Joe Burrows and his receivers with rookies? This did not seem possible until it happened, and it’s still hard to believe. BOTH defense teams stepped up for that game.

  3. The Chiefs Young DB’s did step up. They have played quite a bit throughout the season, but to play like that in an AFC Championship game is Truly Remarkable.

  4. When Bengals got the ball the final time I thought the game was over because there was no way the Chiefs could keep them out of field goal range. Then they immediately gave up a 3rd and long I was even more convinced. I’m still sort of in disbelief they not only force them to punt but got it back with enough time to score themselves.

  5. That team is well coached and has leaders who lead. Many teams would give up and sulk but these young players rose to the challenge – suddenly the team has bench strength from which to build. The NFL should take note.

  6. I was optimistic about the nfl not being rigged but the officials really stepped for the chiefs

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