Why did Andy Reid go for 4th and 25 in crunch time against Detroit Lions?

Kansas City Chiefs still had plenty of time to punt

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid looks on during warm-ups before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo. (Reed Hoffmann, Associated Press)

DETROIT – Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid risked it all against the Detroit Lions when he decided to go for a 4th and 25 instead of punting in the final minutes of the game.

The question is... why?

Detroit had just turned the ball over on downs at the Kansas City 45-yard line with 2:33 left to play. A holding penalty and a false start derailed the ensuing Chiefs drive, and Patrick Mahomes found himself facing a 4th and 25 from his own 30-yard line.

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There was still 2:09 left on the clock, and the Chiefs had all three timeouts remaining, in addition to the two-minute warning. Tommy Townsend averaged about 49.4 yards per punt that night, so the Chiefs conceivably could have given the Lions the ball around their own 20-yard line with just over two minutes to play.

Instead, Reid opted for the hectic, low-percentage pass, and the Chiefs didn’t convert. The Lions got one first down, and the game was over.

David Montgomery #5 of the Detroit Lions carries the ball during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on September 7, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (2023 Getty Images)

The only explanation is that Reid knew his defense couldn’t stop the Lions from moving the chains. Otherwise, he would have said, “OK, I can punt the ball, get a stop, and give Patrick 90 seconds and a timeout to work with.”

All the Chiefs needed was a field goal. Reid basically just told the entire world that his defense couldn’t get one stop, even though everyone in the stadium knew David Montgomery was going to carry the ball three times.

Reid has won multiple Super Bowls and is unquestionably one of the most accomplished coaches in the league. The fact that he showed so much respect for the Lions’ running game should give fans in Detroit even more confidence.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.