Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry returned to action in Thursday night's 29-28 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Berry, whose heel injury kept him off the field through the first 13 games, led the Chiefs with six tackles in the first half on 30 defensive snaps as the team entered halftime with a 14-7 lead.
The decision to sit Berry had nothing to do with his performance or a setback. Instead, the Chiefs had a plan entering the game on how much he would play.
"He had his reps that first half and then we kind of just backed off there," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. "We were going to see how he felt as we went, and he gave us some good snaps there."
Berry echoed his head coach.
"We came in with a plan and we just stuck with it," Berry said. "We didn't want to push it past that, so just stayed true to that."
The safety's return marked his first regular-season action since he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in Week 1 of the 2017 season. Berry battled a heel injury in training camp, prompting the Chiefs to take a cautious day-to-day approach throughout this season before Thursday night, and he energized the Chiefs defense in the first half.
"I thought he did OK, I thought he did good," Reid said. "He hasn't had pads on since training camp and that was only for a couple of days there, so it's kind of expected. Nice and slow with it. That's kind of where we are at. We didn't expect him to play the whole game."
Still, the Chiefs certainly could've used the three-time All-Pro safety's leadership on the field in the final quarter despite the plan to ease him back.
Without Berry on the back end of coverage, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers picked apart the Chiefs' defense, completing 10 of 16 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Rivers also took advantage of a communication breakdown during the game-winning two-point conversion, where wide receiver Mike Williams was inexplicably left alone in the end zone.
"Obviously, I wanted to be out there in the second half," Berry said. "But like I said, we came in with a plan and we just stuck to it."