There's 1:09 left on the clock. 76 yards stand between the Chiefs and their first victory in nearly three weeks. The Cardinals have shut down the running game with nine men in the box. Arizona is utilizing man coverage with stunts and blitzes to force the ball out of Alex Smith's hands quickly. Here is what the Chiefs dialed up on their final drive against the Cardinals.
First play: 2-yard pass to Jamaal Charles
Kansas City goes with three in routes on the left side. Albert Wilson runs the slant and Jamaal Charles will work in the flats. Wilson's route is likely designed to be a clear out so Charles can work in space.
Smith has two rushers bearing down on him and has to make a decision. Charles is his best bet from a mechanics standpoint.
Second play: 4-yard pass to Jason Avant
Wilson runs a clear out for Jason Avant. If Wilson hits the slant right it will be a pick based on the man coverage and Avant can work for a first.
Third play: 6-yard pass to Jason Avant
It is now 3rd-and-4 with 40 seconds left. The Chiefs have to get a first down. Travis Kelce, Avant and Dwayne Bowe all run in routes from the right side. The safety will take away the slant and first in route. The corner is off against Avant.
The safety backs off but Avant us the best option. This is the first play Smith is not hurried on his throw. First down.
Fourth play: Incomplete to Jamaal Charles
The Chiefs are now facing a 1st-and-10 with 22 seconds left. The clock is still running and the team has only gained seven yards. They run a potential go or comeback with Bowe. The ball gets out so quick that it looks like a go. Charles is the target.
A rusher is bearing down on Smith and the clock is running. A sack will crush any chance of victory. So he essentially throws it away or it was a very inaccurate throw.
Fifth play: Incomplete to Albert Wilson
2nd-and-15 now after the Eric Fisher false start. 19 seconds on the clock and still not to midfield. The Chiefs elect to go with a wide receiver screen to Wilson. The corner is playing off and soft. Avant will not have an easy block.
A blitzer gets into the throwing lane. Smith has to throw it higher and hope Wilson can catch it but the ball is high and incomplete.
Sixth play: Incomplete to Albert Wilson
The second vertical of the drive are called. It's 3rd-and-15 with 16 seconds left. Bowe and Avant run the go routes. Kelce runs the post. Charles stays in to pass protect the free blitzers that have been coming through. Wilson has off coverage for his 15-yard out.
Smith has not thrown the ball by the start of Wilson's break so it will make for a very tight throw near the sidelines. Smith will need to be spot on with his throw for a chance. He has one of the cleaner pockets he's had on this drive but the pass falls incomplete. Good decision but the timing and accuracy were not there. Wilson runs his route short of the first down marker anyway.
Seventh play: Incomplete to Jason Avant
It is now 4th-and-15 with 11 seconds left. Kelce is out. Frankie Hammond has come in and will run the post. Wilson runs the trail. Avant runs the cross and Bowe runs the hook with Charles in the flat.
It looks like they are trying to execute the hook and ladder (lateral for some) against man coverage. Smith has two rushers coming at him. He can either stand tall in the pocket and fire as accurate as a ball possible before being crushed or he can throw off his back foot, attempt to buy a little extra time but lose some accuracy. The execution is off on the play and the ball game is over.
Plays six and seven were their most creative efforts to move the ball. The coaching staff clearly expected the blitzers and man coverage. So they attempted to work within the parameters of what they believed their team could execute. Unfortunately, the Chiefs could not.