By HCR Staff | Oct. 18, 2019
HCR is not a fan of Thursday night football games. Never have been, and never will be.
One reason is that we don’t think it is safe for the players. For that reason alone, we cannot support Thursday Night Football. Another reason is that the short week simply doesn’t give coaches any time to prepare, and that leads to a disappointing product.
We submit into evidence last night’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos.
It was a sloppy affair, and it’s too bad that a traditionally tough divisional game was subjected to a short week. Both head coaches had major lapses, but Broncos head coach Vic Fangio’s were particularly egregious.
As we always say here at HCR, the first rule of head coaching is: Do Not Harm Your Own Team. In other words, beat your opponent, not yourself. Unfortunately for Broncos fans, Fangio broke this rule in the first quarter.
After watching their Broncos open the game with a nice touchdown drive, Broncos fans had their stadium rocking. Broncos players were high with confidence, and the Chiefs, confronting a two-game losing streak, already were behind. Everything was setting up nicely for Fangio…until he decided to attempt a two-point try after a penalty.
We get all the excitement about two-point tries, but when you’re the Broncos at 2-4 playing a great team and your beleaguered offense has managed to give you a lead, kicking the PAT for a 7-0 lead is not a bad thing. Most importantly, if you go for the two-point try and fail, it is a downer and a momentum killer.
Fangio disregarded this reasoning and went for it. Not only did he go for it, he tried to slam it in behind a poor offensive line with a 175 lb back. It failed miserably, and some air went out of the stadium.
Everything went downhill fast for Fangio after that. Fangio’s offense was so poor that Fox color commentator Troy Aikman was completely baffled as to the lack of energy and passion. Fangio also inexplicably tried a fake punt. That failed too. Not surprising, considering that it is a short week game, and one of the consequences is that nobody has any time to try anything exotic.
Fangio’s rookie offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello seems completely overmatched at this point. To be fair to him, he’s playing with a quarterback in Joe Flacco that lacks the necessary athleticism to run the offense that Scangarello wants to run. We’ve mentioned here before that Scangarello has a low energy personality. Well, that may be rubbing off on his offense as Aikman mentioned the lack of energy several times during the telecast.
As for Andy Reid’s Chiefs, it was a get-right type of win after two consecutive losses.
While Reid got the win, his decision to run QB Patrick Mahomes on a quarterback sneak on 4th and 1 early in the game may threaten their season.
As New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels noted earlier in the week, quarterback sneaks are a physical and “courageous” play by quarterbacks, and that it’s a play that is more dangerous than it looks.
Well, Reid’s decision put Mahomes directly into a very physical play, and the consequence was that Mahomes somehow dislocated his right kneecap. Early reports indicate he will be out at least three weeks, but his MRI revealed no additional damage, fortunately. What made Reid’s decision curious was that Mahomes already had been struggling with an compromised left ankle.
Is it wise to have the league MVP, who already is struggling with a left ankle injury, run a quarterback sneak?
We believe this is a reasonable inquiry of a great coach. What is telling is that later in the game, Chiefs backup QB Matt Moore was confronted with a short-yardage situation, and the play that was sent in from the sidelines was not a quarterback sneak. Rather, the Chiefs decided to run fullback Anthony Sherman.
Thursday Night Football is here to stay, but it’s not something we look forward to.