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Grading Andy Reid: Week 4, Chiefs vs. Bengals

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here we go again. Week 4 happened. The Kansas City Chiefs are 1 - 3. All of our worst nightmares are upon us. Regardless of how several Chiefs fans feel, I am still optimistic for this season. (In fact, I still think the Chiefs can still win a playoff game this year ... but I digress.)

As far as Week 4 against the Bengals is concerned, things got a little weird. Years from now we will bring up the "seven field goal game" and ponder on its weirdness. Before we talk about Week 4 let's talk about some changes we've made to the grading scale.

The new scale looks as such:

Grading Criteria (Points Possible)

  • Player preparedness / discipline (20)
  • Offensive play calling (30)
  • Game altering decisions (30)
  • Clock management (20)
Notice something missing? I decided to remove the 15 points that were being used for the challenges grade. This does not mean that we won't be grading the challenges any more. The final grade each week will be altered based on good challenges or bad challenges. For example if Andy Reid makes a poor challenge then a few points will be deducted from his score. If no challenges are made then the grade is not affected.

Ten points were added to the player preparedness / discipline section. Five points were added to the clock management section. As we move on I promise we will perfect this grading scale. I think we've gotten better since the first week.  Let's get rolling on the grade shall we?

Player Preparedness / Discipline

I actually felt the Chiefs could have played much worse on the road in Cincinnati in terms of their preparedness and discipline. Below are factors that affected the Chiefs grade for player preparedness / discipline.
  1. The defense came out flat once again. If the Chiefs think they're going to be able to shut people out by just showing up it is going to take a lot more than that. The intensity needs to increase.
  2. The offense did not come out as flat as they did against Green Bay. However their effort still left much to be desired.
  3. The Chiefs had seven penalties that were upheld. None of which hurt more than the penalty that brought the 70 yard return by DAT back. Seven penalties is undesirable.
  4. I give credit to the Chiefs for being disciplined enough to not fall into the personal foul trap that opposing teams have tried to catch them in. There have been several opportunities this season where the Chiefs could have foolishly retaliated, but they have not. There were two unnecessary roughness calls on the Bengals in the first half and the Chiefs kept their cool.
  5. There was one questionable turnover that cost the Chiefs dearly. The Travis Kelce fumble could have gone either way, and unfortunately the call went against the Chiefs.
  6. We should not forget about the false start that happened immediately after a timeout late in the second half. There is no excuse for this.
All in all the Chiefs have looked worse in this category in Weeks 2 and 3. I blame most of their play by play losses to the fact that the Bengals players were simply better than the Chiefs players on this given Sunday.

Player Preparedness / Discipline grade:  11/20

Offensive Play Calling

This was a bizarre game, especially in the play calling department. The Chiefs were able to get a lot of yards and move the ball effectively -- except when it mattered most. I'm going to bring up some things that really haven't been talked about much in regards to how the Chiefs offensive play calling has affected their defense. Below are factors that brought me to my conclusion for this portion of Reid's grade.
  1. Let's start with a very frustrating play. Alex Smith had just thrown a beautiful deep ball to Maclin to put themselves in Bengal territory. A couple of plays later Reid decided to get cute and try and run a misdirection play with De'Anthony Thomas. The result was an eight yard loss that killed the drive. Teams know to protect against this sort of play when DAT is on the field. It's not working and hasn't been working all year yet Reid keeps going to it.
  2. Reid chose to run the ball 18 times compared to 50 pass plays. What sense does this make when Charles averaged 6.8 yards per carry in the game? If anyone is wondering why the defense has been so bad - this is one of the reasons. On the road against a good offense the best way to stay in the game is to run the ball, work the clock, and keep the other team's offense off the field. Although the Chiefs dominated in time of possession it could have been even more in their favor. Reid's decision to have Alex Smith try and out throw his opponents is not going to win many games against the likes of Manning, Rodgers, and Dalton. The offense continues to lack balance.
  3. At the end of the second half there was a bizarre sequence of plays that ate up the clock. I understand trying to keep the Bengals offense off the field but on this particular drive it appeared as though Reid was happy with kicking a field goal. There is a time to go for the jugular and this drive was one instance where Reid was conservative and should not have been. Very confusing.
  4. Where are the crossing routes to Kelce that had been so successful in the past? Are teams shutting this down?
  5. Even though the play calling was odd at times, the Chiefs were still able to move the ball very well. This can't be ignored.
  6. The Chiefs went 7/16 on third down which is an upgrade.
  7. The Chiefs didn't score a single touchdown even though they had multiple shots in the red zone. The red zone play calling must improve.
This was an odd game in terms of the play calling and the results. Generally speaking if the Chiefs amass 461 yards per game they should score a lot of points. I am optimistic about the offense after this game even though the red zone efficiency was non-existent. In games against elite QBs the Chiefs really need to consider running the ball more. Fortunately for Reid and the Chiefs they don't have too many games left against top tier QBs.

Offensive Play Calling Grade:  23/30

Game Altering Decisions

Reid had a lot of decisions to make in this game. Strangely enough he was constantly conservative. I believe that teams need to be more aggressive on the road when playing against tough competition. This wasn't exactly the case for Reid's decision making in this game.
  1. 1st Quarter 0:58:  4th and 4 on CIN 4 - On the road on their first drive Reid decided to take the safe route and kick the field goal while down seven. This wasn't a bad decision early in the game. I think most people would have kicked the field goal here.
  2. 2nd Quarter 12:48:  4th and 9 on CIN 22 - Reid elected to kick the FG with the Chiefs down 3 to 14 - once again the right decision in the early part of the game.
  3. 2nd Quarter 6:13: 4th and 10 on CIN 33 - Santos was sent out to kick a FG, and this was the right decision.
  4. 2nd Quarter 0:09: 4th and 1 on CIN 17 - With it being fourth down and only one timeout remaining Reid chose to once again kick the field goal. I'm not too sure about this choice but it will be covered in the clock management section.
  5. 3rd Quarter 4:42: 4th and 4 on CIN 22 - At some point in this game perhaps Reid should have said enough is enough and tried to go for it. The score was 12 - 21. Once again Reid chose to kick the FG and get the Chiefs within a score. This decision could have gone either way.
  6. 4th Quarter 9:31: 4th and 10 on CIN 11 - Even though the Chiefs were down by 14 it's hard to argue kicking a field goal on 4th and 10. However as mentioned above, maybe Reid should have said enough is enough and went for it given the time on the clock.
  7. 4th Quarter 2:39: 4th and 7 on CIN 33 - At this point in the game was anyone wondering why Reid was choosing to kick the FG? It appeared as though he wanted to boost Santos' confidence. This move may pay off later in the year but in terms of the game it was a 'blah' move.
So many field goals, so little touchdowns. The Chiefs needed a touchdown in the worst way, but time and time again Reid chose to kick the field goal. Sometimes taking a calculated risk pays off, and sometimes it hurts more. Unfortunately we'll never know what could have happened in this game. I believe the Chiefs should have gone for it on the 4th and 4 on Cincinnati's 22 yard line but honestly that's hindsight. Ultimately I have no major beef with Reid's decision making.

Game Altering Decisions Grade:  25/30

Clock Management

Once again Reid and the Chiefs struggled with managing the clock. This can't fall 100 percent on Reid, but it appears as though this team is incapable of scoring in a hurry. The uptempo offense is about as fast as some teams regular offensive pace (see the Eagles.) It only compounds the issue when timeouts aren't called effectively, or run plays are dialed up when passes should be thrown to the sideline.
  1. At the end of the second quarter the Chiefs had the ball on the CIN 36 yard line with 1:54 remaining and two timeouts. The Chiefs were able to run four plays before they had to kick a field goal. If the clock was managed better they may have been able to go for it on 4th and 1 and take a couple of shots at the end zone. The offense has to get better in these situations because they are killing themselves so far this season.
  2. Down two scores in the fourth quarter the offense put together a drive that resulted in a FG. This drive took 5:34 to develop. The Chiefs ran 15 plays, three of which were runs. There were five incomplete passes on this drive. If each of those five incomplete passing plays lasted six seconds, this means the Chiefs averaged 30.4 seconds per play that didn't result in a stoppage of the clock. Down by 14 in the fourth quarter the Chiefs HAVE to move more quickly than this.
Clock Management Grade:  7/20


Reid made no challenges in the game so there will be no points deducted or added for Challenge related decisions.

Overall Grade:  66/100

Takeaways: Reid needs to focus on maintaining balance with the play calling. Passing the ball 75 percent of the time will spell doom for the Chiefs. The offense also needs to focus on getting better with the hurry up opportunities. All in all the play calling was fairly successful in terms of yardage but the end result needs to include more touchdowns.

2015 Average Grade:  68.75

One quarter through the season and Reid is pulling a D. He is not off to a good start in 2015.

Below is a very simple bar chart for Reid's grade throughout the year. If there are different visualizations you would like to see regarding the information I have been covering in these posts please let me know and I can add them. Blue represents a win and red represents a loss.

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