From the FanPosts -Joel
With just over three and a half minutes to go in the first quarter in Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs were driving the football and looking to take the lead over the Colts on Wild Card Weekend. On a 2nd-and-6, quarterback Alex Smith hit wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on a slanting route.
That's when it happened.
Junior Hemingway is a 6'1", 225-pound second-year receiver out of Michigan that joined the Chiefs in 2012 as a seventh round draft pick. On this particular play that went for 63 yards, Hemingway arguably cost the Chiefs a touchdown.
After Bowe made the catch and proceeded to break a tackle, it was two-on-one in a race to the endzone.
Hemingway slows up as it appears that Bowe is going to be tackled, but after Bowe breaks away, he has one Colts defender to beat to reach the endzone—Antoine Bethea.
At this point I began screaming at the television screen for Hemingway to block the defender (and I was rooting for the Colts!). The wide receiver in me was coming out as I yelled at the TV, "Block him! Block him! Blockkkk him!"
Hemingway turned and looked at Bethea for a brief moment as if he was going to block him and then slowed down, perhaps thinking Bowe had the speed to beat him to the endzone. But after running stride for stride with Bowe and choosing to not block the defensive back, Hemingway slows down and watches as his teammate is tackled.
Bowe was tackled inside the five-yard line and though he potentially could have lateraled the ball to Hemingway, that's a conversation for another time. Coaches often advise against tossing the ball around and Bowe is not the chief offender on this play—Hemingway is. Blocking is a fundamental part of the game, lateraling is not.
The Chiefs ended up settling for a field goal and taking a 10-7 lead over a 14-7 lead, ultimately because of a block that never was. The play cost Kansas City four points and arguably the game as four more points would have put the final score at 48-45, Kansas City.
With three quarters still to play, however, there's no guarantee that Kansas City would have actually won 48-45, but in a game of inches that can be—and in this case was—won by a single point, every snap, block, tackle, and point counts.
I don't want to beat a dead horse, and the point of this article is not to point out the "if's, but's, and could-have-been's," or to flash it in Chiefs fan's faces and laugh. Rather, it should serve as a reminder of the importance of down field blocking and never, ever, ever giving up on a play.
Play—and block—until the whistle blows. Every game, every series, every play.
Hemingway learned the hard way. Young players can learn from his mistake. Hopefully he will, too.