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Chiefs seem OK with their run-pass balance ... for now

LeSean McCoy carried the ball eight times for 44 yards on Sunday.

Kansas City Chiefs v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Despite Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes dealing with a lingering ankle injury and the Chiefs struggling to keep the football, running back LeSean McCoy only registered eight carries — four in each half — for 44 yards on Sunday during the 31-24 loss to the Houston Texans. That equates to 5.5 yards per carry for McCoy.

The number 5.5 pops — and it might make one ponder why he did not get the ball more. Asked about the lack of run calls after the game, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid cited the run-pass option (RPO).

“That’s some of what you do when you’re in an RPO game,” said Reid. “If you’re doing that, then you’ll have some that end up being throws. That’s how we roll.

“We’ll go back and look at it and see what we need to do better there. That starts with me.”

The Chiefs’ refusal to run the football coincided with the Texans’ willingness to do so, and their success led to the Chiefs having the football for just 5:53 in the second half, including under two minutes in the fourth quarter.

No matter how you feel about the correlation between time of possession — which Reid called “out of whack” on Monday — and wins, that little of an opportunity to score in a close game does not seem like a solid recipe for victories.

“I guess I’ve become a sellout, haven’t I? — I might be the biggest offender,” joked offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who was the Chiefs’ running backs coach for five years prior to his 2018 promotion. “But yeah, we do need to run the ball. But one thing with our run game — you’ll see — we have our RPOs. And we give our quarterback an opportunity to make the best read for us because we don’t want to second-guess exactly what he’s doing, because if they’re not going to cover us on the perimeter, we want to make sure we’re taking advantage of what they’re not doing. But at the end of the day, we’re calling runs. We just got to make sure that we’re executing the run scheme that we’re calling.”

Still, Mahomes sounded comfortable with his RPO decision-making after the loss.

“You look at the positive parts of each play and a lot of the RPOs, we completed a lot of the passes,” said Mahomes, when asked about his RPO self-scouting. “I think there was one time if I look back right now, I’m about to watch the film after this, but I think there was one time I made a throw to (Byron) Pringle that we almost hit on that missed that the run could’ve been out from the pictures I saw on the tablet.

“For the most part on those things, I’m kind of always throwing them to Tyreek (Hill) on the side where he’s getting nine yards a catch and stuff like that whereas those RPO options and you get plus-nine on those throws, those are success plays for us.”

What that means is the Chiefs remain satisfied with their process — even if it did not lead to a win on Sunday.

It is worth wondering, however, considering Mahomes is less than 100 percent, if the Chiefs ought to be taking the decision to run out of his hands — at least until he can get back to perfect health.

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