In Sunday's loss to the New York Giants, the Kansas City Chiefs had the ball inside the two yard line of enemy territory on seven occasions (I'm including a two point conversion) in the second half. On only two of those plays did the Chiefs run the ball and only one of those two runs went to Larry Johnson.
(Take a look at the play-by-play here)
We've got a couple of reactions to these decisions.
First, Larry Johnson. Following the game, reporters in the locker room asked him a few questions regarding the playcalling situation late in the game and other game-related topics. LJ's only response? Ego.
No, really. All he said was "ego" to the questions. He later talked about the game but there was a strange sequence there where he wouldn't elaborate on any of it. Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, who was in the locker room after the game, appeared on 610 Sports yesterday afternoon and said his best guess was that the exchange was related to the playcalling decision not to use LJ on the goal line.
In fact, just a couple hours after the game, LJ posted this message on his Twitter account:
An LJ blow-up? It's possible. More explanation after the jump.
Honestly, in the back of my mind I've been wondering when (not if) it will come. Past history has indicated that he will be (publicly) upset if things aren't going his way and since his past history is the best indicator of the future then it's a legitimate thought process. LJ definitely causes our emotions to rise, for better or worse, so I try to take an objective view.
I hope it doesn't come to that. The last player who tried to publicly (via Jason Whitlock) question the coaching staff was Brian Waters and the public has generally sided with Haley on that issue. Only time will tell whether this is a continuation of the LJ of old or just a blip in the new LJ.
I hope (and for the time being, suspect) it's the latter.
Haley was asked about the strange "ego" exchange with LJ and reporters and he said he didn't know anything about it.
The Chiefs coach was also asked about the decision to pass rather than run near the goal line and, frankly, his explanation makes a lot of sense. When you run the ball and don't score, time comes off the clock. When you pass the ball, and it's incomplete, time doesn't come off the clock.
"We were 27-3 one time down there and 27-9 another time," Haley explained. "Just common sense-wise I’ve been in games where you’ve had to come back and when you are down that far and you’re trying to win the game – which we were definitely trying to do – you’re going to have to do some things to conserve time.
"A run down there that doesn’t score uses approximately 35 to 40 seconds sometimes as opposed to a pass that can use four seconds if it’s incomplete."
Haley said in games like that, where time is as big of an opponent as the Giants, you do things you wouldn't normally do like, uh, conserve the clock.
His explanation was acceptable in my mind, which makes LJ's behavior even more perplexing.