Chiefs' Players Motivated to Win for Andy Reid Against His Former Team

Reid spent 14 years as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles

"That's who we were doing it for."

Much like the Week 1 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots meant a little bit more because of the opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles may have meant a little more as well, but for a different reason.

As tight end Travis Kelce said, the players in the locker room were very aware of the fact that the Chiefs were playing against the team that head coach Andy Reid had spent 14 years leading before joining the Chiefs in 2013.

"We know his past and we know this game meant a lot to him, and sure enough, we were there and we had his back," Kelce said.

Not only was Reid facing his former team in the Eagles, which he led to 140 victories in his 14 years there, but he was also going up a former assistant in Eagles' head coach Doug Pederson.

"He tried to play cool about it the whole time, but I know we needed this game for him," defensive lineman Chris Jones added. "I know how much this game meant to him and I know how big this is to him.

"They come to our field—we had to show up for him today. It was a great team effort."

The effort was there and the Chiefs showed some grit to work through a slow start, but nobody in the locker room was calling this a perfect performance by any means, although it did seem like the kind of character-building game that will serve the team well moving forward.

"The entire team came together," Kelce said of the difference in the second half, when the Chiefs scored 21 of their 27 points. "Everyone started to do their job, we started to get some momentum going and from there it's just guys making plays."

One of the guys that began making plays that proved to be a difference in the game was quarterback Alex Smith, who finished 21 of 25 for 251 yards and a touchdown—following up a big-time performance against the Patriots last week.

Despite taking four sacks and constantly being under pressure by a solid Eagles' defensive front, Smith kept firing away.

"He was resilient as he went and took some big hits there," Reid said of Smith after the game. "He rebounded and kept playing, and first of all, he kept the guys around him fighting and that's an important trait when you're a quarterback in this league to get everybody, not only yourself, but everybody around you to rise up and continue to fight when things aren't going great."

One of the key plays from Smith that ultimately proved to be the difference and showed everyone what he's about was a third-and-four scramble for a first down late in the fourth quarter.

At the time, the game was tied and could have gone either direction.

Smith sold out on the run and it's the kind of equity-building play that gains respect in the locker room, not that Smith needs it after consistently showing this same kind of determination ever since he first arrived in Kansas City four years ago.

Two plays later, the Chiefs were in the end zone with a lead after a 15-yard reception from Kelce.

"Alex is one of those fearless-leader types and that was a moment where the play broke down and he was going to sacrifice his body to make sure we got this first down, and everyone rallied behind that," receiver Chris Conley explained.

On the drive following the Smith-to-Kelce touchdown, the Chiefs had the ball at their own 44-yard line with a little less than five minutes left in the game, and they were facing a second-and-10.

Rather than be conservative and run some clock, Smith hit Conley for a gain of 35 yards deep down the right sideline.

"That was Alex and Conley just working together," Reid said after the game. "The last time those two hooked up (on that play) was the Rams' preseason game last year. It was the same play. They just give each other the eye and change it up a little bit and went for it. They have some options on that play and it worked out well. I thought Chris did a great job at disguising that he wasn't getting the ball— man coverage. He gave no indications with his hands or eyes he was getting the football, and it paid off."

"Alex gave me eyes, and said, 'Hey, it's time to go, it's time to go right now,'" Conley recalled. "It was a great ball."

"It was a nice adjustment on the fly there, had a call and a lot of options on and had a good look there with Chris, had a lot of faith in him," Smith said after the game. "We'd been talking about it all game that they would come up and challenge us, and finally they did there at the four-minute.

"I think those are situations in the past we haven't stayed aggressive and it was nice to be able to hit that today. I think it played a big part in the game."

The Conley reception led to a two-yard touchdown from rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who had another solid performance Sunday after an all-time NFL debut against the Patriots.

It all led to the Chiefs picking up their second win in as many games.

"It was a big win," Jones said. "Every win is big. When you get your wins early in the season, they're going to mean a lot at the end of the season, so we just need to keep stacking and keep building to get better."

"We have a lot of improving to do," Houston added. "We've got to get better. I think we're going to continue to prove the mindset of the locker room and the guys in here is we want to do better, and we will do better."

They were good enough to win for their coach on Sunday, but as it was also apparent last week, the self-congratulations won't last long.

The goals for this team are bigger than intrinsic victories that don't also build towards something more tangible and shiny.

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