Andy Reid is one of the most accomplished head coaches of his era, compiling a 207-128-1 (.618 win percentage) in 21 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. Reid was won 10 division titles, made six conference championship games and reached the Super Bowl once in his career as a head coach. Despite all of Reid’s success, the conference championship game and the Tennessee Titans have been his biggest adversaries as a head coach.
Reid will get to tackle both on Sunday, as he is 1-5 in conference championship games and 1-8 against the Titans — his lowest winning percentage (.111) versus any opponent.
“It’s got to be better on my end,” Reid said. “I have players who have won more games than I have against them. I’m just going to bank on them.”
Sure Reid has had his failures against the Titans, but plenty of those losses have been self-inflicted. Reid’s teams have held a double-digit lead in four of those losses, failing to preserve either of them thanks to offensive ineptitude and turnovers leading to defensive scores.
In a 2002 loss to the Titans, the Eagles had a 24-10 halftime lead but punted on three of six possessions, threw two interceptions on the first plays from scrimmage and fumbled on the final possession. Kansas City had a 17-7 halftime lead against Tennessee in a 2016 loss but punted on four of five possessions in the second half with an interception in between in a 19-17 loss. The Chiefs had a 21-3 lead in the 2017 wild card playoff loss to the Titans, but punted twice, missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs, allowing the Titans to score 19 unanswered points to win 22-21.
The common theme repeats itself as Reid’s teams make a crucial mistake in the second half or refuse to stay aggressive when they have the ball and can put the game away.
Reid’s Chiefs did the exact opposite in last weeks’ AFC divisional playoff win over the Houston Texans. Kansas City had a 28-24 halftime lead over Houston after overcoming a 24-0 second-quarter deficit. The Chiefs remained aggressive and scored touchdowns on three consecutive possessions to take a 48-31 lead early in the fourth quarter. Reid and the Chiefs offense put the game out of reach by having 13 designed pass plays and five designed run plays, the 72.2% pass-run ratio was higher than the 61.58% the Chiefs had in the regular season.
Kansas City has a healthy Patrick Mahomes and a full arsenal of receivers in tight end Travis Kelce and wide receivers Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, and Demarcus Robinson. The Chiefs can outscore any team with the speed they possess on the outside and Mahomes’s ability to extend the play and get the ball downfield. There’s no need for the Chiefs to get conservative to run the ball when they don’t have to.
Maintaining aggressiveness and extending a lead would take Derrick Henry out of the game and force the Titans to become one dimensional and make quarterback Ryan Tannehill beat them. The Titans can win with Tannehill slinging the ball, but taking Henry out of the equation would benefit a Chiefs pass rush that can blitz the quarterback at will in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
The Chiefs are built to finish off the Titans if they get a double-digit lead. The poor second-half possessions must be eliminated by keeping their foot on the gas when Kansas City has the football. Reid can finally get back to the Super Bowl.