The Chiefs received the ball at their 20-yard line with 6:29 to go in the fourth quarter. They were down by two scores. And while the situation was not ideal, it was not completely untenable.
But in a series of events that will again challenge Kansas City head coach Andy Reid's late-game clock management, the Chiefs weren't able to put in their first score until the 1:18 mark. They failed an onside kick attempt and went on to lose to the Patriots, 27-20.
The Chiefs advanced the ball to the Patriots' 1-yard line at the three-minute mark after a 19-yard pass from Alex Smith to wideout Albert Wilson. At that moment, they had all of their timeouts. The next play was a run for a loss by Charcandrick West which ended up burning a full minute off the clock before the two-minute warning. The team was then hit with a false start penalty and followed that by throwing a ball where the wideout was tackled in play.
During all this, the Chiefs seemed to have no sense of urgency. The team was still huddling down near the goal line as the final seconds ticked away.
"We wanted to get a play off right there. We had 20 seconds," Reid said after the game. "It was 2:20 on the clock. We wanted to make sure that we got our best personnel in for that play and we didn't get that done."
He insisted the Chiefs were in their standard hurry-up offense.
"We went hurry-up offense," he said. "We do that normally when we're down by two scores. Time was of the essence. We got down to the one-yard line and we end up going backwards."
While part of the issue was execution for sure, this was just the most blatant example of suspicious clock management on Saturday. In many situations when it would seem Kansas City had another play call in its hip pocket, they would revert back to a time-consuming huddle.
Clock management is such a nebulous aspect of the game. Rarely is a coach known for his mastery, and at times all 32 head coaches have been lambasted for their misuse of the clock. But the Chiefs' performance Saturday night will inevitably cause fans to associate the game with Reid's performance in the Super Bowl against New England back in 2005. In nearly identical fashion, the Eagles milked more than four minutes off the clock while trailing by 10.