The Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts took a few risks that ultimately backfired. This included Todd Haley's decision to open the game with an onside kick and his decision to go for it on 4th and 2 in the first quarter.
Neither worked out. But were they the best calls?
I'm here to say, yes, they were. There's no doubt Haley made the right call in both instances. Kicking a surprise onside worked for the Saints in the Super Bowl. Going for it on 4th and 2 was something the Chiefs fans should have expected after hearing the team talk throughout the week.
The reason I like the onside kick is because, with a team like the Colts, you don't lose a lot if you miss it.
Let's be honest. Is there a huge difference between Peyton Manning 40 yards away and 80 yards away? The Chiefs accepted before the game that Manning was going to be able to move the ball up and down the field. He was able to do that in the first half.
The onside kick was a risk worth taking. From that point on, the Colts special teams were on notice.
It's interesting that Sean Payton, coach of the New Orleans Saints, used the same tactic to open the second half against the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Payton and Haley come from similar backgrounds.
Haley said after the game that he had done a study on teams that open halves with onside kicks. He says the teams that did that were generally successful in winning the game. He's not talking about actually being successful on that particular onside kick but that the mindset of people are willing to do an onside kick has won more often that not. I thought that was a very interesting passage from the Chiefs coach after the game.
4th and 2 call
In the first quarter the Chiefs drove down to the Colts eight yard line and faced a 4th and 2.
There were the easy three points or there was the chance to turn that into seven. Which one's the right call?
Let's take a look back at some of Charlie Weis' comments during the week.
"But if we hand the ball off or if we throw a pass on the first play that goes for a touchdown," Weis says, "you’ve got to score touchdowns. That’s the other thing, you can’t just go on long drives and have to punt. You have to score touchdowns because at the end of the day, especially playing at home, they’re a tough bunch to deal with."
I like this mindset. You need touchdowns instead of field goals. It's worth the risk against the Colts.
The Chiefs ran a pass play and Matt Cassel threw to Dwayne Bowe in triple coverage.
This particular wasn't all that unusual for Haley. He's generally taken more risks than most of the coaches we see strolling through here.
The Chiefs are second in the NFL in 4th down attempts with seven (they've made three of those).
The top team? Colts.
The risks are not only worth it but in some cases they're necessary.