The red zone tactic that won the Chiefs the Super Bowl

Kadarius Toney shined in Kansas City's offensive scheme on Sunday.

Kadarius Toney shined in Kansas City’s offensive scheme on Sunday.
Photography: AP

Down 10 at half time, the Kansas City Chiefs did what they do best, came back and won their second Super Bowl title in four years. It was a masterful second half the performance of Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who outplayed Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon at every turn. However, the two plays I want to call attention to are the touchdowns by Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore.

These are two very similar plays. They’re practically identical, they’re just flipped toward which mark the Chiefs’ offense was closer to. Essentially, what happened on each of these plays was that Mahomes realized the Eagles were in man coverage. In man coverage, the Eagles like to switch responsibilities if the wide receiver goes. As the corner covering the wide receiver moves toward the center of the formation, he transfers the responsibility to the safety on the other side of the formation following the receiver in the event of a jet sweep. It works great when the receiver goes all the way through the formation because that safety will often have a step or two on the receiver and can keep up with them as they accelerate. However, when that receiver doesn’t go through the formation completely and instead changes direction, the Eagles defense has trouble communicating accountability and it leads to wide openings touchdowns like the two in the tweet above.

But how did the Chiefs take this feat? Well, the Chiefs weren’t the first team to play that way against Philadelphia.

On October 2, 2022, during Week 4 of the NFL season, the Eagles faced off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and despite the Eagles being the objectively better team, the Jaguars took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Their second touchdown came on a five-yard pass to Jamal Agnew. Did you notice anything familiar about this play?

The Jaguars signaled Agnew on the wide side of the field and made him reverse course just as the snap was coming. It worked wonders, and that’s exactly what Bieniemy drew on for his touchdowns against Moore and Toney. Don’t just take my word for it, take Chiefs backup quarterback Chad Henne. In an interview with The Athletic, stated “On Saturday night, Bieniemy put the play on the screen for all to see for the Chiefs offense. It came from the Eagles’ game against the Jaguars earlier this season, and it featured Jacksonville receiver Jamal Agnew acting like he was in motion before stopping, changing course and opening up for a touchdown.” Henne continued, “[The Eagles] they’re just trying to protect themselves from jet attacks and trying to jump over the top and get an extra player [on the other side of the field]. But we faked the plane twice and they didn’t realize it.”

This play, aptly named “Corn Dog” by Andy Reid, was arguably the most effective in the Chiefs’ playbook. As much as Reid loves corn dogs, I’m sure he loved this play after it helped his team pull off a ten-point comeback. On the other hand, this attention to detail and fervent research is just another reason why Eric Bieniemy’s inability to land a head coaching gig is appalling. He’s obviously done more than enough to deserve consideration for the best coordinator in the NFL. When everyone thought the Chiefs would regress without Tyreek Hill, Bieniemy helped Patrick Mahomes earn his second MVP award. Sure, having Mahomes at quarterback definitely made Bieniemy’s job easier, but it wouldn’t have mattered who the Chiefs had at quarterback for those Moore and Toney touchdowns. They were wide open, uncovered in the apartments. Any quarterback can make those throws, and that’s a testament to a top game.

Although Bieniemy has been linked to several open offensive coordinator positions – notably s Washington Commanders and Baltimore Ravens — the fact that he didn’t earn the head coaching job is a blow to NFL fans everywhere. Bieniemy is one of the best football minds in the league and despite years and years of success, he still hasn’t earned the title of head coachMr? That’s absurd!

Bieniemy said that he is ready to become a head coach in 2020. Since then, he has only gotten better as a player. Give the man credit!

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