Bengals Capitalize on Chiefs Miscues


This season has been a time to learn for Patrick Mahomes. He has become comfortable with reading defenses. He has learned to take what the defense is giving him. He learned to execute the check down game with efficiency. However, Mahomes is still not a polished and finished product yet. He still has room to grow. What he does have is confidence in himself and his teammates. Couple that with his immense talent and the Chiefs will be back in the championship mix next year.

The Kansas City Chiefs started the game about as well as you can start against the Cincinnati Bengals. They scored a touchdown on each of their first three possessions. Each drive used clock allowing their defense to rest. The defense forced a punt in each quarter of the first half and only allowed a field goal on the Bengals second possession. The Bengals finally scored a touchdown late in the 2nd quarter allowing Patrick Mahomes only one minute and five seconds to possess the ball.

The Chiefs had methodically moved the ball down the field with a mix of run and pass their first three scoring drives. They didn’t open the offense up until the last minute of the 2nd quarter. It was prolific. Four pass plays in a row brought the Chiefs to the Bengal 15-yard line. Eli Apple committed a pass interference penalty against Tyreek Hill putting the Chiefs on the Bengal one yard line with 13 seconds to go. They didn’t have any timeouts left so running the football was out of the question. On first down, Mahomes threw an incomplete pass. At this point they only had five seconds left on the clock and no timeouts. Instead of kicking a field goal and getting some points before half time, Andy Reid called another pass play. Mahomes tried to make something happen by throwing the ball to Hill, who was tackled in the field of play. The clock ran out and the Chiefs wasted an perfect opportunity to score. In this scenario, Mahomes has 2 seconds to decide and throw the ball. Instead of throwing it away, he threw it to Hill. Mahomes’s mistake, coupled with Coach Reid’s mistake was the first step towards the Chiefs eventual defeat.

The Chiefs came out flat in the 3rd quarter. They received the ball and were forced to punt in five plays. Their defense held but again the offense was forced to punt in five plays again. The Bengals were starting to gain momentum and drove down the field to score a field goal. Then, just two plays later, Mahomes throws an interception on the Chiefs on 30-yard line. Again, the Bengals capitalized on a Chiefs mistake and scored a touchdown, tying the Chiefs; 21 to 21.

The Bengals defense came to play. They forced four punts, two interceptions and only allowed one field goal in the second half. The Chiefs ended regulation by executing a six-minute 14 play 49-yard drive to kick a field goal and tie the game. The Chiefs managed the careful balance of controlling the clock and obtaining points to prevent the Bengals from getting the ball again. Many might say they should have just gone and scored and let the defense play. There is merit to that since the Chiefs defense had held the Bengals to just two touchdowns the whole game. Coach Reid opted to milk the clock and the offense sputtered just outside the red zone leaving a field goal attempt as the only option. The attempt was made, and the AFC Championship went to overtime.

When the Chiefs won the toss, everyone thought the game was over. Arrowhead and Chiefs fans watching around the country knew that Mahomes would drive down the field just like last week and end the game with a touchdown. However, the Bengals defense didn’t get the memo. They were operating on a different sheet of music. The Chiefs thought they overcame their in-game mistakes. Unfortunately, the Bengals forced one more Chiefs mistake five seconds into overtime. Mahomes was rushed and he threw a deep interception to Vonn Bell. The Bengals drove to field goal range and kicked themselves into the Super Bowl.

The Bengals did not win this game. The Chiefs lost it. The Chiefs are a high-powered team who lost their discipline late in the 2nd quarter and never recovered it. Andy Reid’s decision to allow Mahomes one more throw was ill advised. Sometimes coaches need to protect their players and thus the team. Coach Reid failed his team. Worse, he blamed his quarterback for his own mistake. Coach Reid should have taken ownership of a bad call instead of berating Mahomes for a bad throw. I think Coach Reid’s reaction had a detrimental effect on the team, and it played itself out the rest of the game. In the 2nd half the failures to execute continued, allowing the game to get tight. Mahomes’s throws were off target leading to multiple incompletes and two interceptions. The Chiefs blew a two-score lead and failed to score a touchdown in the second half. The enemy always gets a vote. The Bengals defense were confident that they could stop the Chiefs high powered offense because they had done it once already this year. They carried that confidence thru to the AFC Championship game. The Bengals took advantage of an undisciplined team’s miscues and secured themselves a spot in the Super Bowl.

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