Trick play said everything about unfair Jets-Chiefs matchup

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It felt almost unfair.

The 7-1 Chiefs are so much better than the sad-sack 0-8 Jets they could have run the ball on every offensive play, won the game and still covered the 19.5 point betting line.

So, when the Chiefs ran — and executed perfectly — a fake punt in the first quarter of Sunday’s 35-9 walkover of the 0-8 Jets at Arrowhead Stadium, it felt like a superior team toying with an inferior one.

Here’s how it went down:

The Jets, trailing 7-3, had just stopped the Chiefs on third-and-6, leaving them with a fourth-and-4 from the 48-yard line. Kansas City punter Tommy Townsend fielded the snap and, while Pierre Desir turned to run down the field to cover the return, Chiefs receiver Byron Pringle stopped, turned and caught the pass thrown by Townsend, and gained 13 yards for the first down.

On the next play, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes connected with Tyreek Hill for a 36-yard TD pass and a 14-3 lead.

Jets
Adam Gase shakes hands with Andy Reid after the Chiefs beat the Jets on Sunday.Getty Images

“That play was to me,’’ Desir said. “It was one of those things you’ve got to be aware of [because] they like to run fakes. [I’ve] just got to clue into the situation and play the ball better.’’

It was a play the Chiefs said they’d been working on for the past few weeks, and the time was right Sunday.

“You never know in this league,’’ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I’ve been through too many of those where you pull off the accelerator and then something bad happens. You’re better off keeping it down and going for all four quarters.’’

Reid called his rookie punter Townsend “a real good athlete and he was able to show a little bit of that today.’’

Townsend’s teammates, particularly Mahomes, who threw five TD passes in the game, loved it.

“That changes the whole entire game,’’ Mahomes said. “Obviously, it was a big play. I’ve seen Tommy throw, but you never know when someone gets under pressure how they’re going to perform.’’

Townsend said it was the first pass he’s thrown in a game since he was a freshman in high school.

“We’ve been practicing it the past couple weeks and executing it great, so I was pretty confident going into that,’’ Townsend said.

“I thought it was sweet, man, he ripped that thing,’’ Mahomes said. “It wasn’t no, like, lollipop at all. It was pretty impressive.”

Asked about Mahomes’ spirited reaction to the completion, Townsend joked: “We have lockers right next to each other, so I can’t help but say it rubbed off on me a little bit on that throw. I’d like to compare our [velocity] on that throw.’’

For all the fun the Chiefs had with the fake, the Jets were sickened by it.

“We end up giving up a fake punt, where that gives them extra possessions,’’ Jets coach Adam Gase said. “Not what we needed to do.’’

Nor was having kicker Sergio Castillo’s 47-yard field goal at the end of the first half blocked by Armani Watts and recovered by Mecole Hardman on the final play of the half.

Castillo, the Jets journeyman kicker who’s had stops in the CFL, AAF, XFL and was celebrating his 30th birthday Sunday in his second NFL game, had kicked field goals of 39, 55 and 48 yards in the first half. Had he made that 47-yarder, it would have cut the Kansas City lead to 21-12 at the half.

“Our margin for error,’’ Gase said, “is very slim.’’

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