Miami Dolphins: Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs OC)
The Dolphins are seeking a culture change from Brian Flores and appear to be looking for a coach to continue to develop Tua Tagovailoa. While Miami hasn’t interviewed Bieniemy yet (they interviewed him in 2019 before settling on Flores), they take a chance on Bieniemy this time around.
Bieniemy’s resume speaks for itself. The Chiefs have scored the most points per game in the NFL (30.3) since Bieniemy became the offensive coordinator in 2018, along with the most yards per game (404.2). Kansas City also has the best record in the NFL during Bieniemy’s run, going 50-15 with three conference championship game appearances and a Super Bowl title in the 2019 season. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also has the most passing yards, passing touchdowns, and the second-highest passer rating since the start of the 2018 season.
Coming from the Andy Reid tree, Bieniemy knows how to build a staff and can work well with a front office. He appears to be the right fit for Miami, even though the Dolphins haven’t sought him out in the early stages of their head coaching search. If the Dolphins are committed to Tagovailoa, Bieniemy seems like the coach to get the most out of him.
Miami is set to win now, giving Bieniemy an opportunity to win immediately with a good defense already in place. The offense is the unit that needs significant work, which is where Bieniemy comes in.
Two years ago, when the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, their route to the championship included games against the Texans and Titans — two teams who had defeated them in the regular season.
The Chiefs won both rematches by double digits.
“I know the players and their attitude,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “They love that part of it.”
The initial rematch comes Sunday, when the Chiefs host the Bills at 5:30 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium. The winner moves on to the AFC Championship Game and will already know the opponent. On Saturday, the Bengals travel to Tennessee to play the top-seeded Titans.
Although the Chiefs are plenty familiar with the remaining field — thanks to those early-season looks — history has taught them things change in the rematch.
“(When) you play a team twice, you’re going to throw some different wrinkles at them,” Reid said. “So you don’t just study the last couple games; you study the whole season when you go into something like this.”
The Chiefs were OK this whole time
How else do you explain the ease with which they cruised into the playoffs and then dominated the Steelers? No, Pittsburgh was never a match for them offensively, but still, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were all in peak playoff form. They had some ugly moments this season, but Andy Reid’s contenders are as ready as ever to challenge for a title.
Bills at Chiefs
Divisional round weekend will commence with a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game. It is also between two teams that scored a combined 89 points in wild card wins over New England and Pittsburgh. On Saturday, the Bills became the NFL’s first team to not punt, attempt a field goal or commit a turnover while scoring seven touchdowns against the Patriots. On Sunday, the Chiefs scored on six consecutive drives that included five touchdown passes from Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs posted a 38-24 win over the Bills in last year’s AFC Championship Game. But they were on the short end of a 38-20 score back in Week 5. Josh Allen torched the Chiefs’ defense to the tune of 315 yards and three touchdown passes. Buffalo’s defense forced two interceptions off of Mahomes, who attempted. season-high 54 passes. The game’s critical play was turned in by Bills defensive back Micah Hyde, who gave his team a 31-13 lead after returning an interception 26 yards for a score midway through the third quarter.
Previous rank: No. 3
It started poorly for the Chiefs. The offense was out of sync, there was yet another interception on a tipped pass in scoring range, then disaster in the form of a T.J. Watt fumble return for a touchdown. What Watt didn’t realize as he crossed the goal line, what Watt couldn’t have known, was that he had just functioned as a human alarm clock for the two-time defending conference champs. The Chiefs scored touchdowns on their next six possessions, led — of course — by Patrick Mahomes, who threw five touchdown passes in less than 11 minutes of game time. It was a staggering display of might that puts the rest of the NFL on notice: Unique greatness still exists in Kansas City, despite the potholes that dotted the road during the regular season. Sunday night’s blowout clears the decks for a fascinating showdown against the similarly offensively gifted Bills.
Kansas City Chiefs
Have another big draft.
Three of the Chiefs’ six picks from last year had big rookie seasons, and another couple have developmental possibilities. The Chiefs absolutely have to keep finding young and inexpensive players to fill in around their many high-priced players. Positions matter less than finding players who will contribute at a low cost for the next four years. — Adam Teicher
Around the NFL
A postgame question to Prescott on Sunday initially indicated the fans were throwing things at his teammates in anger, which he called, “sad.” However, when he was told the objects were directed at the officials, he said, “Credit to them then. Credit to them.”
He was given a chance to walk the comments back at the end of his news conference and didn’t.
On Tuesday, he tweeted three times to his 1.4 million followers to apologize, writing:
“I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday. I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair.
“I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs. The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter.
“That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry.”
I imagine this makes Saints fans nervous. Any quarterback would cause jitters after eons of Drew Brees under center. New Orleans is learning how hard it is to find the next guy. It sure doesn’t feel like Taysom Hill, who keeps netting new money from the team but fits better as a saucy Swiss Army knife than a 17-game starter. I don’t see Jameis Winston returning.
Sean Payton endured a long campaign steering a quarterback clown car into the abyss. The Saints are a candidate to explore trades for everyone from Wilson to Rodgers to fill in the blank. Carr represents the next-best thing, but he’s a viable option for a team expected to aggressively upgrade at the most important position in sports.
Later Tuesday, Baker posted a video on his Instagram Story, expressing thanks for the support he has received and saying he’s “going to make a full recovery.”
“I just want to say thank you for all the well wishes and the prayers from everyone and I appreciate you guys. Everything came out clean and I’m going to make a full recovery. So, definitely blessed,” he said.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The Bills’ offense has the capability to be historically good — and last Saturday night, it was. That doesn’t mean it’ll repeat that performance in Arrowhead Stadium, but even a drop-off in performance would still be light-years better than what the Steelers showed on Sunday. Another slow start against such a dynamic offense could put the Chiefs in an insurmountable hole.
It’s easy to point to the comebacks of the 2019 postseason — but neither of those teams represented the same kind of offensive threat that Buffalo does. The Houston Texans had good players — but in both points and yards, it was an average offense. The Tennessee Titans of that year were hot, but didn’t have the Bills’ offensive firepower.
Buffalo finished third in points scored and fifth in total yards this season. Last season, they finished second in both categories. Head coach Sean McDermott is a good coach — and so is offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who will be a hot candidate for a head coaching position this offseason.
A tweet to make you think
"All or nothing, LET'S GO!" pic.twitter.com/nXJVqDS5ZQ— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 18, 2022