You know it and we know it: the Kansas City Chiefs depend on passing plays.
Through the first five weeks of the season, Kansas City passed the ball on 60% of their offensive snaps. But things changed on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. For the first time all season, the Chiefs not only ran the ball significantly more than they passed it, they also more than reversed their season average, running the ball on 63% of their offensive plays.
Was it part of the game plan because of the steady rain in Buffalo on Monday afternoon and evening? Was it because of the changes in the offensive line that began by replacing center Austin Reiter with veteran Daniel Kilgore? Was it because that’s just how the game played out?
“This is me talking,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after the game, “so I didn’t think I gave the guys enough of a chance last week with it — especially in the second half.”
Reid was referring to the Week 5 game against the Las Vegas Raiders, in which the Chiefs ran the ball at the lowest rate of the season: just 30%.
“So, we wanted to make sure — you know, we’re best when we have some kind of a balance going,” continued Reid. “When you can go back and forth, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the defense. So, we were able to do both, and we felt like we needed both in this game.”
But it also appears that at least some of the run-heavy game script happened simply because it was working.
“Obviously we had a few more pass plays called,” said quarterback Patrick Mahomes, “I mean, we always do — but once we saw how deep their linebackers, safeties and corners were playing, we knew that we had the run game.”
Mahomes told reporters it required some adjustment on his part.
“It was definitely different,” he said. “I had a few of the RPOs called — and I had to keep telling myself not to throw it and just keep handing the thing off. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was running well, [the] o-Line was blocking well — and I just want to win. I don’t care how that’s done. Pass, run, defense — whatever [it] is — and we found a way to do that.”
As the game played out, it reminded him of something.
“Kind of takes me back to my college days at Texas Tech,” he recalled, “where we’re getting like drop eight — and linebackers are six, seven yards deep. If teams are going to do that, [we’ve] got to run the football until they come up — and when they come up, we’ll throw the football again. We’re a well-versatile offense that can do it all — and so we’re going to prove that week to week.”
So was it because of the game plan in the rain? Or was it because of the changes in the offensive line? Or was it just how the game played out?
Yes. It was.