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Chiefs Offense is an Enigma Wrapped in Promise

The talent and production are there, but the results are not right just yet

The enigma that is the Kansas City Chiefs offense once again defied us all who watched the game in hopeful anticipation of the consistency that's eluded a group full of talent and ability for the better part of the last few games.

"It was a tale of two halves," Chiefs coach Andy Reid explained after the game.

The first half, which Reid described as "completely unacceptable," yielded about as many penalty yards (50) as total yards (51).

But in very enigma-like fashion, the second half was a completely different story.

"I thought we clicked the whole second half," Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said after the game. "I thought we were running the ball well, getting first downs and driving down the field."

Kelce led the Chiefs with 5 receptions for 88 yards, all of which came in the second half and four of which went for at least 13 yards—the longest being 37.


He was making plays when his team needed him the most, but even Kelce couldn't do everything on his own.

The Chiefs offense is an enigma wrapped in promise.

It's difficult to understand how an offense can move the ball so well at times, only to ultimately struggle at the worst possible times, yet still do enough to warrant the palpable feeling that something could happen as soon as they line up again.

The promise is there because they have talent. The pieces to fix these issues are in place.

"The second half we kind of settled down and functioned the way I know we can function," Reid noted.

They moved the ball well in the second half. It's a fact.


They put up 277 yards of total offense in the second half. For comparison's sake, they put up a total of 287 yards last week against the Bears.

They outscored the Vikings 10-6 in the final 30 minutes of the game.

They had more total yards (328 to 321) and a better yards per play average (5.8 to 4.7) than the Vikings.

But the Vikings responded with the only statistic that matters, the number on the scoreboard, where the Chiefs once again fell short.  

There were two plays that stood above the rest in demonstrating the enigmatic feel of this offense.

The first was with a little more than 4 minutes left in the third quarter, when the Chiefs were trailing 13-0 and had put together their most promising drive of the game to that point.

It had taken the Chiefs just six plays to go from their own 20-yard line all the way down to the 10-yard line of the Vikings.  

Smith was 3 of 3 for 59 yards on the drive, including a beautiful 39-yard reception by Jeremy Maclin, who made a leaping catch across the middle to get the Chiefs deep in Vikings territory.

After rushing attempts on second and third down put the Chiefs in a fourth-and-inches situation from the Vikings 7-yard line, Reid decided to go for it.

"I thought it was the right thing to do," Reid explained after the game. "We were talking inches there. I thought we had a play in the bag there we could use and obviously I was wrong.

"I thought we needed a spark and I think a first down there gives you a little something."

The ball was handed to second-year running back Charcandrick West, who was making the first start of his career in place of the injured Jamaal Charles.

As West was being tackled to the ground, he rolled up over the Vikings defender and with the help of his left hand, he stayed balanced and off the ground, spun out of the grasp of the defender, hopped up and ran towards the end zone.

It was a nice display of athletic ability from West, but the referees had already blown the play dead and he was ruled down by contact, which was not reviewable.

"His knee didn't touch the ground," Reid noted after the game. "That was the bottom line. He wasn't down so that's why I tried to challenge it.

"I think when you look at it you probably see that."

It was a break that didn't go the Chiefs way, and while good teams find ways to overcome things like this—sometimes it'd just be nice if things fell your way when they haven't so many times recently.

The second key play came later in the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs were trailing 16-10 and driving on the Vikings side of the field thanks to a huge 37-yard hookup between Smith and Kelce.

On the first-down run, West took the handoff and quickly had the ball knocked out of his grasp by a teammate trying to help make a play as West fought for extra yardage.

"It doesn't matter who hits the ball or how it happens, I just have to hold on to the ball," West said after the game. "Fumbles are not acceptable."

While West took responsibility for the play after the game, Reid spoke highly of the young player's performance overall.

"He's a young guy who put together a pretty good game," he explained. "He'll have better games down the road and fix that problem."

West finished the game with 9 carries for 33 yards, both of which led the team.

One problem the Chiefs don't have is a lack of passion or effort, and anyone questioning it simply isn't paying attention.

As they sit at 1-5, Reid hasn't backed away from the belief of what this team could achieve if they become more consistent, less enigmatic.

"Crazier things have happened," Reid explained of maintaining positivity. "I think they can see, it was very obvious, in that second half, when we came alive, what we can do.

"We've just got to do it for four quarters."

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