Playing same team again in playoffs is familiar territory for Reid
Another matchup with the Indianapolis Colts? Recent familiarity with a team can be a good thing, Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid says -- even if not all the thoughts are warm and fuzzy. Derrick Johnson
Though images of Donald Brown and the Colts running past Brandon Flowers and the Chiefs in Week 16 were unpleasant, they can help Kansas City prepare for its playoff date in Indianapolis.
Charlie Riedel / AP
By Jeffrey Flanagan
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Playing a team in the playoffs that you just faced two weeks ago is nothing Chiefs coach Andy Reid hasn't encountered before.
In 2001 with Philadelphia, Reid's Eagles played Tampa Bay in the regular-season finale and beat the Bucs 17-13. Then in the first round of the playoffs, the Eagles prevailed again over the Bucs, 31-9.
In 2006, Reid and the Eagles beat the New York Giants, 36-22, in Week 15. The two teams met again in the first round of the playoffs, and the Eagles won again, 23-20.
The only time that scenario hasn't worked out for Reid came in 2009, when the Eagles lost to Dallas in Week 17. Then in the opening round of the playoffs, Dallas again dropped the Eagles.
So, as his Chiefs prepare this week for a rematch with the Colts on Saturday, Reid said it will help to be so familiar with an opponent. The preparation and recollection from their first meeting should be fresh in everyone's minds, though not all the thoughts will be warm and fuzzy, as the Colts won that first meeting rather easily, 23-7, in Week 16.
"You look back at the things you did well and study them," Reid said. "So will they (the Colts). But you have to look at it all (including the negative). You study it all."
The Chiefs jumped to an early lead against the Colts in their first meeting at Arrowhead. But leading 7-3 in the second quarter, Knile Davis coughed up a fumble in Chiefs territory. The Colts scored a touchdown two plays later and dominated the rest of the game.
That domination didn't sit well with many of the Chiefs, including linebacker Derrick Johnson, who already was thinking about a rematch in the locker room after their first meeting.
"We'll see them again," Johnson said. "They've got the upper hand on us right now because in their minds they think they can beat us. If we go down there (to Indianapolis), it will be a different story."
That the Colts handled the 11-5 Chiefs so handily at Arrowhead surprised many observers, leading some to wonder if Reid and his staff didn't purposely hold back from their game plan in anticipation of a rematch.
Reid made it clear before and after the first meeting that that wouldn't be the case.
"I don't think you do," he said then. "We're far enough in the year where you have enough in the playbook on both sides of the ball and in special teams to play it normal. I don't think there's any reason to (hold back).
"You give it your best shot. It's what I told you when we played Denver. We played them, gave it our best shot. Then you play them again (in two weeks) and you give your best shot again."
Reid likely is more concerned this week with getting his troops in a playoff mindset than he is of the opponent.
Twenty-five players on the Chiefs' roster have never played in a playoff game. Twelve other players have been to the playoffs but never won.
Reid said he already has started to prepare his team mentally for the sudden-death atmosphere that is the playoffs.
"They are aware that it's different," Reid said. "I talked to them a little on the plane (Sunday) night and I'll talk more about it Tuesday. It's a different feel in the playoffs.
"For whatever reason, everything in the playoffs comes a little faster. Every step you take ... it's all faster. Both teams know it's single elimination."
One thing Reid won't have to preach to his team is staying composed in a hostile environment. The Chiefs were 6-2 on the road this season, with one of those losses coming Sunday when they primarily used backups.
"The team has confidence," Reid said. "We have confidence to go into a stadium where it's loud, like Denver was loud, and play good, solid and productive football."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter @jflanagankc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.