I'll set the scene for you....
The Kansas City Chiefs are sitting at the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-yard line with just over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. They're holding a 28-20 lead and momentum is on their side after Derrick Johnson's interception return for a touchdown and they were on a long drive that started at their own 20.
With an eight point lead, most would say you line up for the field goal in this case. You should feel pretty good about Ryan Succop on a 41-yard field goal. That would put the Chiefs lead to two possessions which in my mind was the key at that point.
Todd Haley disagreed. He kept the offense out there and went for it on fourth down. Jamaal Charles run to the right side lost a yard and the Chiefs turned it over on downs giving Jacksonville the ball in the fourth quarter within one score.
The defensive players we talked to in the locker room after the game said it showed faith in them while the offensive players said it goes along with a sense of urgency and an aggressive philosophy.
Earlier in that series, Haley had told his players that this was four-down territory. "That usually means, if fourth down comes up and we’re in a manageable fourth down situation, then we’ll go for it," Chiefs QB Matt Cassel said after the game. I'm not sure why that decision was made. Haley didn't explain his thought process adding that some decisions are for the short-term and some are for the long-term.
"I think everybody recognized that he’s probably in that mindset and so it’s our job to get the first down in that situation," Cassel said.
I think to understand the call you have to think more about Haley's philosophy and less about the call itself. The Chiefs have done a couple of surprise onside kicks this year and Haley has pointed out that whether or not the kick itself actually works, teams that try those types of plays are usually successful. It's about the aggressive philosophy that we hear people talk about when describing Haley.
While I disagree with that particular call I can understand that "mindset" Haley and the players talk about.