Expect Kyle Shanahan to exploit Chiefs’ penchant for defensive holding

Charean Williams

It’s a good bet officials will call a defensive holding penalty or pass interference penalty on the Chiefs. The question is: How many?

The Chiefs led the league in penalties on passing plays during the regular season, according to Matt Maiocco of NBCSportsBayArea.com. That included a league-high 21 defensive holding penalties, with three declined.

Kansas City’s 10 defensive pass interference penalties tied for 17th, but its 227 yards on those infractions was second most in the NFL behind only the Jets (254). The Chiefs were called for two more pass interference infractions in the postseason.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan might even call for a penalty on the Chiefs before it happens as he did in the NFC Championship Game.

The 49ers held a 34-20 lead over the Packers and faced a third-and-three with 5:56 remaining when Shanahan called a play for George Kittle on a short out route. Before the snap, Shanahan told side judge Eugene Hall that Packers cornerback Will Redmond was going to impede his Pro Bowl tight end.

“That’s how he installed the play, too,” Kittle said, via Maiocco. “So, yeah, that’s what happened.”

Two officials, including Hall, threw flags for the obvious penalty on Redmond.

Officials called defensive pass interference, giving the 49ers an automatic first down and 5 yards for the spot foul. The 49ers burned another 2:25 off the clock and kicked a 42-yard field goal.

“When it’s man-to-man coverage, you hope the play is on your sidelines so you can alert guys to stuff,” Shanahan said this week. “Sometimes it’s tough for those guys, especially when you have switch releases and receivers moving in and out.

“So you just try to give them a heads-up where we’re looking. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Usually it has to do with whether they [call] PI or not.”