The presence of the young star would have given Kansas City a better chance of winning at Arrowhead Stadium against the Green Bay Packers, but the Chiefs didn’t lose because the offense was inept. 24 points is above the Chiefs’ scoring defense average and enough to beat the average of more than half the league.
When you’re without a rare talent like Mahomes, it requires the rest of the unit to dig in and make marginal elevations to its game to help minimize the impact as much as possible. From head coach down, the team had to trust each other to make it successful. Backup quarterback Matt Moore was an excellent caretaker for the Chiefs this week. He did more than enough to put the team in position to win. The weapons around him all showed ultimate faith in the play-calling and signal-caller throughout the game.
The effort put forth by the group is exemplified on their first scoring play of the game. A beautiful design from Andy Reid that was executed to perfection by the players he tasked with running it. The coaches’ belief that they could go out and run a play with several intricate moving pieces with the timing and precision required was rewarded with a touchdown.
The design and execution across the board was so great here. Closed formation, Packers in man.— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 30, 2019
Fake to DRob, then to Hill takes both corners away. Watkins attacks MOF safety and takes Tremon Williams with him. Excellent timing by Kelce on delay release. Great touch by Moore. pic.twitter.com/NKUXmmLT90
The Chiefs line up in a closed formation with Travis Kelce to the left and a bunch formation to the right with Sammy Watkins as the point man, Demarcus Robinson is outside and Tyreek Hill tucked inside the bunch.
The Packers are in man coverage, and you can tell as the bunch is set up and the corners travel with the receivers. They’re in a corners over look. Rookie safety Darnell Savage sits over the top of Kelce.
Andy Reid gives defenses time to think when he wants them to and little time when he wants them to react. This play had a little bit of both, as Reid creates space down the field by stretching the defense and man coverage horizontally in both directions.
The quick snap off the jet motion from Robinson initiates the action but no ball fake. The outside corner, Jaire Alexander, chases Robinson in man coverage. Moore and running back Damien Williams roll right. Hill comes across on the snap of the ball on yet another fake with the inside corner, Kevin King, trailing. Moore gives his best ball fake on this one. It’s a logical progression off the initial jet by Robinson to give to Hill underneath to your most dynamic weapon off of a misdirection. It makes perfect sense, but what actually happens plays against the instincts of the defenders.
This play somehow ends as designed with Travis Kelce catching the ball at the five yard line. pic.twitter.com/0gD5KvApAD— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 30, 2019
Instead of giving to Hill, the Chiefs use the heavy action to get their elite tight end lost down the field.
Moore keeps drifting away from both fakes with Williams. Kelce holds his block for an extended period of time and is late to leak out down the field and space to work, with horizontal movement in both directions. Both cornerbacks wind up outside the left hash and away from the play. Sammy Watkins runs a vertical right at the middle-field safety, Josh Jackson, with Tremon Williams trailing. There is all the space in the world for Kelce who sneaks behind linebacker Blake Martinez.
This ball is completed at the five yard line, outside the numbers. pic.twitter.com/BUdxCy0ARL— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) October 30, 2019
A lot of credit deserves to go to Moore on this play.
After the excellent ball fake, he drifts away from the rush to his right to help give Kelce time to get to open space after the clear outs. To give even more time, Moore has to show ultimate trust in Kelce and the design. He throws the ball with about as much loft as you’ll see in an NFL game.
When you throw a ball up that high, you create margin for error for the receiver to adjust. The problem with that is it also allows that time for any defenders in the area too. Moore trusted the play and knew it created margin for error for Kelce with no one in the area to make a play on the ball. The tight end turned to his inside shoulder initially but was afforded the time and space to run under the ball because of the loft.
Kelce made a great play to catch it and finish for six. This play is the manifestation of the ultimate trust required by all involved to commit to and run the game plan and put up a fight without their star quarterback.