One of the most examined parts of the Kansas City Chiefs' 20-17 Week 3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning has been the discussion between quarterback Patrick Mahomes and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy caught on CBS cameras before the end of the half.
Reiterating the situation: with the Chiefs leading 14-10 at their own 36 facing second-and-20, the team decided to hand the ball off to running back Jerick McKinnon, who was tackled after a 6-yard gain, thus ending the half. It is worth noting Mahomes was hit by Colts defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on the previous play.
The quarterback was not happy with the second-down decision, leading to this:
Patrick Mahomes and Eric Bieniemy having some words before halftime pic.twitter.com/g7aqsi0oQk— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) September 25, 2022
Addressing the situation on his early-Monday afternoon conference call, Reid said that the situation may have looked different on television than it actually was.
“I don’t think the camera probably showed the reality,” began Reid. “EB (Eric Bieniemy) was just communicating, saying, ‘Listen, we’ll get it the second half here. That’s what we’re thinking.’ He was explaining the situation to him. Patrick... and this is what makes him great, is he wants to rip your heart out on every play and every opportunity he gets. He had taken a pretty good lick the play before, and so my decision was to do that. It wasn’t EB. EB was just the calming effect there.
“But sometimes, things look — they look different. It’s an emotional game. I mean, it’s an emotional game. I wouldn’t want it any other way. That’s what makes it great... and that’s why we all love Pat. He wants to play. There are guys that’ll shy away from that right there, and say, ‘Hey, let’s just take it in and go the other direction.’ He wants to get in there and go. But that’s where I come in, and I got to make sure that I do what I think is best, and Pat explained it, I thought very well [Sunday]. Let’s not change Pat Mahomes, man. Let’s not change that or EB for that matter. Let’s not change that. Those are two great men right there.”
Asked about it after the game, Mahomes told reporters he wanted to score before half, and he was not happy to get the ball taken out of his hands.
“That’s just who I am,” said the QB. “We were in a tough situation. I believe it was like second (or third) and 20 — or something like that — and probably the smart decision was to just take it; we get the ball out of the half, [so] we’ll just go to halftime.
“But I’m always gonna be wanting to score — and I pretty much just said, ‘Let me have a chance at it.’ Then [Bieniemy] was just like, ‘Let’s get back to the locker room and we’ll get something going for the next half.’
“I don’t know if that’s an altercation, but that was the end of the conversation.”
Given that the Chiefs eventually could have used another three points at the end of the game, it has become quite the topic of debate in Kansas City. But as to be expected, Reid would not blame Bieniemy — or anyone but himself — for the call.
Reid iterated that the offensive playcalling is a group effort in Kansas City.
“Everybody has their area they contribute to, and we go through and stack the plays and work it from there without giving too much there,” said Reid. “We have a pretty good idea what order we’re going in, and then we just talk through it. EB and I talk through it, [quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy] does this year like Mike [Kafka] did last year. (Wide receivers coach) Joe Bleymaier’s part of it. Everybody kind of has their part that we talk through and make sure that we’re seeing things right.
“But listen, inevitably, it’s my responsibility to make sure the right things get in at the right time. And that comes strictly onto me, that part. But I thought our guys — the communication was very well and good [Sunday], and EB was great with the quarterback on the headset and getting things in and that.
“But we got to get the guys into a rhythm, and I didn’t think that that took place [Sunday]. It was spurty at best, and you don’t want that.”
The Chiefs will look to rebound against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football.