Kansas City coach Andy Reid backs London for NFL franchise

Published: Sunday 1st November 2015 by The News Editor

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Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid was a convert to the idea of a London NFL franchise after seeing his team give their stuttering season fresh impetus with victory over the Detroit Lions at Wembley.

The Chiefs have been well below expectations so far this season but their problems looked nothing compared to the Lions’ as they brushed dismal Detroit aside 45-10 to improve their record to 3-6.

It was the third NFL game at Wembley this season – and second in eight days – with another capacity crowd of almost 84,000 on hand as London’s love affair with the game continues to grow.

With many more NFL games on the horizon here – the league has committed to playing at least four per season in the capital from 2018-2020 – a franchise appears a more realistic prospect each year.

“I know there’s a lot of things that would have to go into making that possible,” said Reid. “But I know our league is trying to expand worldwide and there would be no better place than London right here to make it work.”

Reid got his Chiefs to work as they routed Detroit to make it two wins on the trot.

A combination of strong Kansas City defence and dismal offensive line play from Detroit allowed the Chiefs to sack Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford six times while intercepting him twice.

On the other side of the ball Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, not a noted runner, found his legs as he rushed for 78 yards – including a 49-yard dash from midfield and an 11-yard touchdown score – to go with 145 yards and two touchdowns in the air.

“We needed it,” Smith said. “I felt like we have played halves like that but we haven’t played a whole four quarters. We didn’t lose focus or energy.”

The Lions played at Wembley last year, falling behind 21-0 to the Atlanta Falcons before rallying for a stunning 22-21 victory.

“Our players had seen that game,” Reid said. “They were aware of it, and they made sure they kept the pedal to the metal there.”

That 2014 edition of the Lions ended up going to the play-offs, but the 2015 version is much sorrier affair.

Earlier this season a Wembley defeat proved to be the final stop for Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and with his team now 1-7, Detroit coach Jim Caldwell is firmly on the hot seat.

He began the week by firing offensive co-ordinator Joe Lombardi – grandson of the great Vince Lombardi – and two assistants, but with his team playing like this such moves can only buy him so much time.

“You ask me the question all the time and I’m going to answer the exact same way,” Caldwell said when asked about his job security. “This is a day-to-day business. I’ve known that since 1979 when I entered it. That’s just the way it is, so leave it at that.”

There was little obvious immediate impact from the coaching changes, with the offensive line continuing to crumble all too often.

“It’s not one of those situations you can fix overnight,” Caldwell added. “It’s not going to happen. There are several issues that popped up. We can get those corrected.”

Published: Sunday 1st November 2015 by The News Editor

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