In Week 11, the Kansas City Chiefs will play the Philadelphia Eagles in a rematch of February’s Super Bowl — which means that the Chiefs will inevitably encounter the Eagles’ vaunted tush push short-yardage play, which has a near-perfect success rate.
“They haven’t been stopped all year,” Kansas City defensive lineman Chris Jones told reporters on Thursday. “I think the one that did get stopped was with Washington — but they fumbled the ball.
“So I don’t know, man. We’ve just got to go figure something out.”
The Eagles ran it six times during last year’s championship game. It succeeded every time, netting the Eagles four first downs and two touchdowns.
“I mean, they’ve really perfected it,” said safety Justin Reid. “A very high success rate. Those front-line guys get really low. Then you’ve got Jalen Hurts — who can squat a ton — too. He could push that along with some help behind him. So I think that their personnel for it is really good — and really unique for them.”
Defensive lineman Charles Omenihu — who faced the play in the NFC Championship while playing with the San Francisco 49ers last season — believes stopping the Eagles in these short-yardage situations will not be easy.
“They’ve got big O-linemen — and Jalen (Hurts) is a big quarterback — so they perfected it,” he said. “We’re going to have to find a way on fourth-and-1 to stop that.”
But according to Reid, the best way to stop it might be to simply keep Philadelphia out of short yardage situations altogether — by being stout on earlier downs.
“One of the best things we can do is probably not let them get in that yardage in the first place,” noted the veteran safety. “We don’t give them a chance to run it.”
Reid also explained that the Eagles have added some wrinkles to the play, hoping to keep opposing defenses even more unbalanced through subtle counters.
“We’re going to see it more than once during the course of the game,” said Reid. “So it’s about how many times can you stop it — [and] not just selling out on one, because then you see what they did with Washington: they put [in] the trick play off of it. [So] if you sell out too hard, I’m sure they have some wrinkles in it to where they’re trying capitalize on that, too. You have to really cover all your bases.”
Kansas City left guard Trey Smith believes it’s all about Philadelphia’s personnel.
“The interior three — and the fact that their quarterback can squat like 600 pounds — that has to play into it a little bit,” he said. “You look at how low they are — the movement that they generate underneath the defensive line to get that extra shove — and [the] push with those two guys pushing the quarterback as well. I mean, it’s extremely effective.
“Obviously, they’re one of the best teams [in] football that does it, so it’s hard to stop that much force that’s coming — especially after [the] initial force is already stopped. Then you get those two guys pushing behind with the quarterback churning his legs. It’s a little unstoppable.”
While some would push for the play to be made illegal, Smith isn’t having of it — at least, not now.
“It’s legal,” he said. “Until people stop it, they’re going to keep doing it. Makes sense to me.”
Even so, Smith hasn’t suggested to his coaches that the Chiefs should consider running such a play.
“Nah,” he laughed. “I haven’t personally — but it is fun to watch.”