With starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes out of the game because of a concussion, the Kansas City Chiefs edged past the Cleveland Browns thanks to a gutsy call by coach Andy Reid and solid execution from ... Chad Henne?
Yes, that Chad Henne. Prior to playing in place of Mahomes in Week 17 of this season, when the Chiefs had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC, Henne had not thrown a touchdown since 2014 as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On Sunday against the Browns, Henne entered the game in the third quarter and kept the Chiefs' season alive. He saved his best for last, though, rushing for 13 yards on third-and-14 just ahead of the 2-minute warning and then throwing, inexplicably, for a first down to receiver Tyreek Hill on fourth down from the Kansas City 48-yard line to seal the game.
According to Seth Walder, ESPN's win probability model thought that punting, on average, was the better choice, though it knew only that it was fourth-and-1 and not fourth-and-inches, which can make a significant difference. Coaches often choose a more conservative option than the model suggests, but in the biggest spot Reid went more aggressive -- and with his backup quarterback. (The model takes into account the score, clock, number of timeouts, down, distance, yard line and the pregame win probability to perform its decision analysis.)
The Chiefs had to think they had an 82% chance of converting to justify going for it (the league average on a standard fourth-and-1 is 65%). Evidently, they did.
The fourth-down play drew praise and surprise from across social media, including from the player Henne replaced.
No one was gonna be able to guard Tyrek on that quickie route— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) January 17, 2021
I can't believe they passed the ball!!!!!! I thought that was a no play.— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) January 17, 2021
Wowww!!!— Allen Robinson II (@AllenRobinson) January 17, 2021
Chad Henne!!— ⚡️Primetime!!!⚡️ (@Joe_MainMixon) January 17, 2021
Woah what guts!!— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) January 17, 2021
Got to have Onions and job Security to make that call.— Kirk Morrison (@kirkmorrison) January 17, 2021
What a play!!!!— D-Ware (@DeMarcusWare) January 17, 2021
That's a big time play— Arthur Moats (@dabody52) January 17, 2021
Andy freakin Reid— Sam Acho (@TheSamAcho) January 17, 2021
Andy Reid is the coach of the year.— Shaun Phillips (@ShaunPhillips95) January 17, 2021
I wasn't shocked Tony Romo— Cris Carter (@criscarter80) January 17, 2021