An international journalist posed the question to Andy Reid in a crowded German press conference room, saying she’d been telling everyone to watch for a great offensive game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins.
Instead, the matchup became a great defensive one in KC’s 21-14 victory at Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany.
So, before the season began, would Reid have expected the contest in Germany to play out the way it did?
“I wouldn’t have guessed that,” Reid said with a smile.
To be clear, the Chiefs coach wasn’t apologizing. Nor should he.
In an ultra-competitive AFC race, the Chiefs’ win in Germany has huge seeding ramifications. The rest of the league is still chasing KC, just like a year ago when the Chiefs ultimately parlayed their top seed into a Super Bowl title.
But how the Chiefs won Sunday — especially considering the previous week’s offensive thud in a 24-9 loss to the Denver Broncos — remained unlike what the league has come to expect from an offense led by Reid and captained by Patrick Mahomes.
What happened here was rare, with the final stats providing the evidence.
• KC’s 267 total yards was its fewest in a regular-season game since Nov. 7, 2021, against Green Bay.
• Mahomes had just 184 passing yards, failing to reach the 200-yard plateau for the first time in 30 regular-season games.
• The Chiefs had 22 plays for 67 yards in the second half. That included just 27 passing yards, with Mahomes completing 6 of 11 passes for 38 yards while taking an 11-yard sack.
“We’ve got to watch the film and break it down. But just know we’ve got to be better as an offense,” Chiefs receiver Justin Watson said. “We did enough to win today, and that’s always the goal. But I know each of us have higher expectations, and we’re capable of reaching those expectations.”
Afterward, Mahomes said it was important for everyone to keep working to improve. He sees progress “in spurts,” even if the consistency wasn’t there Sunday.
Specifically, he said he needed to work on his timing while also hitting the deep shots when they’re available.
“Lucky for us, our defense is playing so good, so we are sitting here 7-2 going into the bye,” Mahomes said. “But we can get a lot better as an offense. And I think if the offense gets to where I think it can be, we’ll be a hard team to beat.”
Reid described the offense this way afterward: “We did some great things, and then we sputtered at times.”
Two drives generated nearly all the highlights. That included the opening possession of the game, which Reid labeled as a “thing of beauty” when KC went 75 yards on seven plays to set up Rashee Rice’s 11-yard touchdown catch.
The second successful trip was late in the second quarter, when Mahomes led the Chiefs 95 yards with Jerick McKinnon capping it with a touchdown catch.
KC’s offense was ineffective every other time. All the other seven non-kneel down drives failed to produce 30 yards, while also generating six punts and an ugly sack-fumble that Mahomes lost after holding it too long.
Reid praised Miami’s defense afterward for making it difficult, especially on Travis Kelce. The tight end was limited to three catches for 14 yards, with Reid saying the Dolphins’ combination coverage made it challenging for him to come open whether breaking in or out.
Twice, however, Reid mentioned later that he needed to figure out ways to get Kelce the ball more.
When he told Kelce that after the win, however, he said the tight end didn’t seem to mind.
“He goes, ‘Hey, the offensive line played great. We were running the ball well,’” Reid said, recalling their conversation. “I appreciate that attitude.”
The Chiefs will have additional time to self-scout this week, and one area of focus could be trying to reverse a trend of fading offensive success.
Reid has long been known for having an excellent “opening script,” the first 15 plays created from film study the previous week while designed to expose an opponent’s tendencies.
And while the Chiefs have been excellent with that, they have struggled to keep up production in the latter portion of games.
Case in point: Coming into this week, the Chiefs had averaged 7.1 yards per play in the first half of games, and 4.6 in the second half.
That split was just as pronounced Sunday. KC went for 5.9 yards per play before halftime before mustering just 3.0 after the break.
Add it to the list that Reid will likely examine in the next few days, given the extra time a week off provides.
“Listen, we came out of this with things we can work on to get better,” Reid said of Sunday’s game. “And we’ll do that.”