Andy Reid’s clock management ruined any chance of a Chiefs comeback

It is very hard to win a football game when you’re trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter. That’s the situation the Chiefs found themselves Saturday night: They got the ball back from the Patriots down 27-13 with 6:29 remaining.

It’s especially hard to win a football game when you’re trailing by two scores in the fourth quarter and your coach farts on the concept of clock management. Unfortunately, Kansas City’s coach is Andy Reid, perhaps the NFL’s least clock-savvy coach. Over and over again throughout Reid’s career, he’s been baffled by the very concept of time.
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If the Chiefs are going to upset the defending Super Bowl champs, they need to pressure Brady with their strong defensive pass rush and make it difficult for him to distribute the ball to his playmakers. This is a matchup on paper that favors Kansas City. The Chiefs ranked fourth in sacks during the regular season, while the Patriots offensive line allowed a total of 221 quarterback pressures (26 sacks, 48 hits, 147 hurries), the second-highest amount in the NFL.

Even if Brady has a clean pocket, the Chiefs can lean on their dominant secondary to slow down the Patriots offense. During its 11-game win streak, Kansas City has surrendered the lowest completion rate, fewest yards per attempt and lowest passer rating of any team. They have twice as many interceptions (22) as passing touchdowns allowed (11) in that span, and could give New England a lot of problems in the passing game on Saturday.

With Jeremy Maclin hurting, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce instantly becomes Alex Smith’s top target. Kelce ranked in the top 10 in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions among tight ends this season, and is coming off a career-best performance (eight catches, 128 yards) against the Texans. The Patriots ranked just 15th in defending tight ends, per Football Outsiders efficiency ratings, making this a matchup that Smith can potentially exploit.
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For the Patriots, even if Edelman doesn’t play his normal amount of snaps, his mere presence on the field will provide a much-needed boost to the offense. He led the team in receptions at the time of his injury, and his ability to get open quickly should make life easier for Brady on Saturday. Edelman was also Brady’s most dependable guy to move the chains, catching a team-best 78 percent of his third-down targets.

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