AP Analysis: Poe the QB no longer under wraps
The Kansas City Chiefs can score in all sorts of ways, so was it really necessary for Andy Reid to turn his 346-pound defensive tackle into a quarterback ?
The Chiefs capped their 33-10 rout of Denver by sending in Dontari Poe to take a direct snap and toss a 2-yard jump pass to Demetrius Harris for a touchdown just after the two-minute warning Sunday night.
Reid, whose sit-on-a-lead style has haunted him at times this season, explained he was just trying to score as many points as possible because ''I've learned this over time: You can't score enough points against these teams.''
Yet, these are the defending Super Bowl champs in name only. Officially eliminated from the playoffs with their third consecutive loss, the Broncos (8-7) have been utterly unable to produce points lately because they can't protect their QB or run the ball.
They've scored 23 points combined in their last three games, their worst three-game slide since 1978 when Craig Morton was quarterback. And they've scored 10 or fewer points in three consecutive games for the first time since 1966, when John McCormick and Max Choboian split duties under center.
Although embarrassing or emboldening a divisional rival is usually something coaches avoid, Gary Kubiak said he had no problem with the move, noting, ''It's our job to stop him,'' and adding that Reid ''has a lot of class.''
''It's football,'' Aqib Talib added.
''I'm happy for the big guy,'' said Von Miller. ''... They were up, they had the opportunity to score a touchdown. If the joystick was in my hand, I probably would have done it the same way. It's all good, and we'll see those guys two times next year.''
Chris Harris Jr. wondered about the timing of the trick play.
''I would have saved it for another game if I was them,'' Harris said. ''They might need it more later.''
Like in the playoffs.
''And now it's out,'' Harris said.
Poe lined up at tight end in a game against Oakland in October and caught a 1-yard TD pass.
Poe's TD toss might just give opponents one more thing to worry about besides Spencer Ware, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Alex Smith in the playoffs.
The gutsiest call of Week 16 was Ben Roethlisberger's decision to throw over the middle with time ticking away and no timeouts remaining. It paid off when Antonio Brown reached the ball over the goal line with 9 seconds left for a 31-27 win over Baltimore that clinched the AFC North title and eliminated the Ravens.
The biggest backfire of the week belonged to the Minnesota Vikings' secondary for its decision to ignore coach Mike Zimmer's plan to cover Packers star receiver Jordy Nelson .
MINNESOTA MUTINY: After the Vikings' 38-25 loss , cornerback Xavier Rhodes said the D-backs decided to ignore Zimmer's game plan to have Rhodes shadow Nelson in the first half. Instead, the DBs decided to have Rhodes stay at right cornerback with veteran Terence Newman on the left.
The result: Nelson had seven catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns as Green Bay built a 28-13 lead.
It wasn't until the second half that Rhodes did as he'd been instructed with Nelson, whom he held to two catches for 9 yards after halftime.
''That's what he was supposed to do the whole game,'' Zimmer said. ''Someone decided they wouldn't do that.''
VERSATILE SHERMAN: Seahawks star Richard Sherman has tried to expand his role lately. But he's taking the term ''all-purpose'' to a whole new level by assuming he can have a hand in calling offensive plays, and that he can have a say in who gets to cover the team.
After he berated coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a pass play on first-and-goal at the 1 last week, Sherman threatened to have the credentials revoked for a local radio reporter who had questioned his sideline outburst.
During his weekly availability last Tuesday, Sherman did not back down from his stance. He offered no apologies, as Carroll had expected following a clear-the-air meeting. Sherman also threatened to ''ruin'' the career of a radio reporter as he left the room, a comment he later apologized for on Twitter.
COLORFUL CLEATS: Odell Beckham Jr. said he was docked $18,000 last week for wearing colorful cleats in honor of the late broadcaster Craig Sager that were later auctioned to raise funds to cancer research. The league made an exemption to its strict dress code this season and allowed customized cleats for Week 13 only.
Players can wear whatever cleats they want during warm-ups, but OBJ broke out his Sager cleats for the game against Detroit itself.
Last week, Beckham complained that the league was applying a double standard because the NFL declined to fine Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott for celebrating a touchdown by jumping into a giant red Salvation Army donation kettle.
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