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Opinion: Andy Reid ran the ball down the throat of the Buffalo Bills’ defense

Andy Reid knew it and used it.

Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle JAMIE GERMANO/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE via Imagn Content Services, LLC

On the surface, holding the reigning NFL champion Kansas City Chiefs and their high-powered offense to only 26 points sounds like a nice defensive showing. Not so, on this Monday Night evening game.

Andy Reid’s offense ran the ball 46 times, more than he has ever run before in his coaching career. That was not by mistake. Reid came into the game recognizing the Buffalo Bills’ weakness on defense. Even with the best quarterback in the game and one of the most explosive offenses through the air, Reid chose to twist the Bills into pretzels by shoving Clyde Edwards-Helaire down their throats.

The Chiefs were choosing to take four to six yards per play on the ground over even trying to go through the air. One consequence of that was fewer offensive points. The other was having almost 38 minutes of time of possession compared to the Bills at just over 22 minutes. The Chiefs were playing keep away because they knew they could against this defense, and so does the rest of the league at this point.

One of the things that has been the biggest breath of fresh air about head coach Sean McDermott’s tenure for Bills fans has been that his leadership and way of doing things seemed to actually translate into the product on the field. It was obvious enough that it could be seen. McDermott talks about being mentally tough. He talks about adhering to a process that rewards the guys who put in the work. He talks about being smart and tough and having sound fundamentals. Those proprieties seemed to consistently reflect the way his defense went about its job.

Not so in 2020. In 2020, McDermott’s defense is soft, undisciplined, and poor at the fundamentals. Whether it’s because there is no crowd noise, the players are getting older, or he just doesn’t have the talent necessary, the end result is the same. McDermott’s mentor from his days back with the Philadelphia Eagles came into Buffalo and decided it was easier to win with what Buffalo is bad at rather than what Kansas City was good at. That’s a pretty big insult when you are as good at being a passing, high-powered offense as the Chiefs are.