Leading by 17 points at two different points on Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs still ended up having to outlast the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 27-24 win in Raymond James Stadium. But even after the Buccaneers scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid didn’t seem to be worried abut his defense’s performance in the team’s tenth victory of the season.
“I thought the defense did a great job.,” Reid declared to reporters after the game. “The second half, just putting it down — the two picks, our two turnovers, and an opportunity for us to offensively take over and go — and the offense, we weren’t able to get that thing going.”
The Chiefs had depended on a blistering first quarter offensive performance — in which quarterback Patrick Mahomes and wide receiver Tyreek Hill had combined for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns — to take a 17-0 lead. But in the third and fourth quarter, Kansas City was forced to punt on three consecutive drives — two of them that started with Tampa Bay turnovers.
“So, we keep playing like that on defense, being opportunistic, pressuring the quarterback, moving his feet — you don’t have to hit him all the way, but you get him moving in the pocket — and that can be just as effective as a sack. And that’s what we did.”
Reid felt it was important to emphasize that Buccaneers have been a very good offensive team since they acquired former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the offseason.
“That’s a great player,” said Reid of Brady, “and they’ve got a good offensive line and good receivers. I mean, that skill group that they have is ridiculous. So, for our defense to do what we did there — I thought [it was] was big.”
In fact, even though the Chiefs gave up a 34-yard run to running back Ronald Jones, they held the Buccaneers to just 75 yards rushing on 20 attempts — their fourth-worst performance of the season on the ground — and put enough pressure on Brady to hold his passer rating to just 96.1. This season, Tampa Bay is 1-4 when Brady’s rating is in the double digits.
Nor did Reid appear to be concerned with the team’s offensive performance in the second half — and for the same reason.
“Yeah, well listen, you’re playing against a good football team with good players,” said Reid. “I mean, the NFL, the parity in this league is ridiculous right now. So every week, you’ve got to be ready to go — and some drives aren’t going to be an absolute score. We’re going to try and score on every drive, but it doesn’t always happen that way.”
As we have come to expect from Reid, he put it all on his team’s weekly preparation routine.
“So you figure out: that’s why we coach. We go back and we study the tape and say, ‘How can we do it better the next time? What do we need to do to fix whatever problems there are and get better?’ And then we ask the players to do the same thing. But heck, you’re right: we want to score on every drive. It’s just [that] sometimes, other teams play pretty good on those drives.”
This far, that’s been good enough to get the Chiefs to 10-1 — a regular-season record Reid has held only once before during his 22 seasons as a head coach. The Philadelphia Eagles were 10-1 at this point of the 2004 season — when they were on the way to the Eagles’ only Super Bowl appearance during Reid’s tenure.