At the beginning of every Friday afternoon practice, the chiefs circulate a basic soccer drill called putt and go, which is a form of warm-up routine between the quarterback and the receiver. Think of it as a pre-game layup line for basketball.
Except for having a habit on Friday.
It’s not just the receiver that crosses the putt and go line.
It’s an aggressive lineman.
Gestures are primarily a reward — or a break from hitting a blocking thread, as Andy Reid coach called it — but it has a real purpose. And every lineman knows that.
“We know who can and cannot be caught,” Reed said.
“If you have a little skill,” Reed said. “We will try to cooperate with you.”
Like a real game.
Chiefs backup lineman Nick Alegretti caught a one-yard touchdown during the Chiefs’ 42-21 victory over the Steelers in the opening round of the NFL postseason on Sunday. It started with a putt and go drill. Reed noticed that he had a good hand. I thought it might work in the game. And it did.
However, it was not intended that the play would actually end with an Allegretti touchdown. It wasn’t Plan B either. Not even Plan C.
The Chiefs performed some trick play on Sunday, but weren’t eager to throw a pass at the offensive lineman. But if he wasn’t open, a man. And quarterback Patrick Mahomes had to throw it.
“I think he read it fourth in the play,” Mahomes said.
The actual play is to hit a flat, full-back Michael Burton when moving to a corner near the end zone. Mahomes snapped to his right and actually saw Burton’s road. However, Mahomes looked elsewhere because of the congestion as Burton moved through the backfield. He wanted Travis Kelce to be open in the back corner. He wasn’t.
Meanwhile, Allegretti, who had to wear Offensive Lineman No. 73 and report eligibility, lined up to the right of Andrew Wylie on the right tackle. What was his first mission? Oh, it just blocks TJ Watt, who seems to be the defender of the year.
And when I go back and watch the movie, that’s his best work. Includes touchdown catch. Allegretti left Watt in place before throwing it aside and throwing it to the ground.
At that point, Allegretti was wide open.
And I’m ready.
Alegretti returned to Mahomes and stood at the goal line. And before he knew it, the pass was to him.
“We’re just telling Allegretti to leak late, and I don’t think we’re all going to throw it at him,” Mahomes said.
That’s how it worked.
Only one appeared on the film. However, at the beginning of the week during practice, the Chiefs rehearsed the same play.
Same result. Alegretti blocked his man and then turned around and found himself open. And even if he was reading for the fourth time, Mahomes threw it. Touchdown.
“I threw it at him because everyone else was covered,” Mahomes said. “I wasn’t trying to do that. It happened. And, of course, it happens exactly in the game.”