The KC Chiefs never meant to throw that TD to Nick Allegretti. Here’s how it happened
At the start of each Friday afternoon practice, the Chiefs cycle through a fundamental football drill known as the Pat and Go, a form of warmup routine between quarterback and receivers. Think of it as the layup line before a basketball game.
Except there’s a quirk on Fridays.
It’s not only the receivers going through the Pat-and-Go lines.
It’s offensive linemen.
The gesture is mostly a reward — or as coach Andy Reid termed it, a break from hitting the blocking sled — but there’s an actual purpose to it. And every linemen is aware of it.
“You get an idea of who can catch and who can’t,” Reid said.
“If you’ve got a little bit of skill,” Reid said. “We’ll try to work with you.”
Like, in an actual game.
Chiefs backup lineman Nick Allegretti caught a 1-yard touchdown during the Chiefs’ 42-21 victory Sunday against the Steelers in the opening round of the NFL postseason. It started with the Pat-and-Go drills. Reid noticed he had good hands. Thought that might work in a game. And then it did.
Except that play was never intended to actually conclude with an Allegretti touchdown. Wasn’t Plan B, either. Not even Plan C.
While the Chiefs ran a handful of trick plays Sunday, they didn’t aspire to throw a pass to their offensive lineman. But, man, if he wasn’t open. And quarterback Patrick Mahomes couldn’t help but throw it.
“I think he was the fourth read on that play,” Mahomes said.
The actual play is to hit fullback Michael Burton in the flat as he moves to the near corner of the end zone. Mahomes rolled to his right at the snap and indeed looked Burton’s way. But there was congestion as Burton shifted through the backfield, so Mahomes looked elsewhere. He hoped Travis Kelce would be open in the back corner. He wasn’t.
Meanwhile, Allegretti, who had to report as eligible while wearing the offensive lineman’s No. 73, lined up to the right side of right tackle Andrew Wylie. His first assignment? Oh, just block T.J. Watt, the likely defensive player of the year.
And if you go back and watch the film, that’s his best work — the touchdown catch included. Allegretti kept Watt stationed in place before tossing him aside and throwing him to the ground.
At which point Allegretti was wide open.
Allegretti turned back to Mahomes, stood on the goal line, and before he knew it, the pass was on him.
“We kind of just tell Allegretti to leak out late, not thinking that we’re every going to throw it to him,” Mahomes said.
It’s just the way it worked out.
Only one showed up on film. But earlier in the week during practice, the Chiefs rehearsed the same play.
Same outcome. Allegretti blocked his guy, then turned and found himself open. And even though he was the fourth read, Mahomes threw it. Touchdown.
“I threw it to him because everyone else was covered,” Mahomes said. “I wasn’t trying to. It just happened. And of course it happens in the game the exact same way.”