Life after 3rd and 27: How the Chiefs’ defense plans to get ready for the playoffs

Kansas City Chiefs

CINCINNATI, OHIO – JANUARY 02: Ja’Marr Chase #1of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a game where fingers can be pointed at many parts of the Kansas City Chiefs’ performance vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, a vital third-down conversion on the final drive of the game received most of the lore along with penalties (or lack thereof).

With Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo being an aggressive play-caller, he was looking for an incompletion rather than giving up yards to force a field goal on fourth down.

“Hindsight is 20/20.”

“I think all the guys are comfortable with trying to get them to punt the football on fourth and 27.”

Spagnuolo also adds that the coaching staff evaluates situations like these in the offseason and has a plan for how they want to attack.

“(Statistical Analysis Coordinator) Mike Frazier is here, and he does a great job with the situations. He’ll come up with something that happened in a game, let’s say one of the games was played this Sunday and he might walk in and say this happened, here’s the thinking, we go through it. So, it’s ongoing. That wasn’t a unique situation. It just worked out the way it did.”

The Chiefs need a win on Saturday and to hope for a Tennessee Titans loss on Sunday to earn the #1 seed back. But moving forward, players and coaches are looking ahead towards a goal of playing a complete game.

“We’ve played good football these last few weeks and I still think we can be better,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said.

“I still think we’ve played great halves or great couple quarters, but we haven’t played the great full game
yet, so I think that’ll be something we continue to work on. You want to be the best going into the playoffs
and I think offensively we’ve gotten better and better as the season’s gone on.”

“I trust these guys (defensive backs),” Spagnuolo said.

“I can see it in the last two practices that we’ve had… We’re all hoping that mistakes are not repeated. So any mistake that we’ve made, if we fix that, that’s good going forward.”

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