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The Chiefs and to QB sneak, or not to QB sneak — that is the question

The Chiefs’ QB continues to lobby for the keeper.

Kansas City Chiefs v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Every Kansas City Chiefs fan remembers the moment: October 17, 2019.

Patrick Mahomes is lying on his back on the Empower Field turf, his hands clutching his face to hide the pain. The Chiefs were facing fourth-and-1 at the Denver 4-yard line, and Mahomes dislocated his kneecap attempting one of the more mundane plays in football — the quarterback sneak. He hasn’t attempted one since.

Mahomes did pick up the first down on the keeper, in case you were wondering. In the immediate aftermath of the play that resulted in the Chiefs’ franchise quarterback missing two games, the debate didn’t focus on whether or not the quarterback sneak is an effective play, but instead on whether or not it is a safe play. Everyone wants to see their team move the chains, but not at the risk of injuring their franchise’s most valuable commodity.

It’s easy to understand why Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has elected to stay away from the play in recent years. But after the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night — a game in which the Chiefs’ offense struggled more than once in short-yardage situations — questions arose as to whether or not we’ll ever see Kansas City run the play again.

“Well, [Mahomes has] asked me about it,” Andy Reid joked to reporters on Wednesday. “You saw what we did.”

Mahomes is a “competitive prick,” as offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy so eloquently put it. He wants the ball in his hands in those critical junctures during a game. He also gets it. He understands his coach’s insistence on protecting him at all costs. But that doesn’t mean he’s given up on the idea, rather that he just has to choose his spots.

“I’m usually pretty good at the quarterback sneak,” Mahomes told reporters. “Even though he (Reid) says he doesn’t expect it to happen, there’s a time and place for it. I’ll keep that on his radar.”

So, when is the time and place for it? For a quarterback that’s started in each of the last four AFC championship games, the answer is simple.

“My plan is to save it until the Super Bowl,” Mahomes continued. “I might go over the top this time to save that knee.”


Should the Chiefs be more willing to sneak with Patrick Mahomes during the regular season?

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