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Make that five. That is the current number of consecutive wins for the Kansas City Chiefs, as they defeated the Los Angeles Rams 26-10 on Sunday. Kansas City was not necessarily perfect. However, they continued to play at different speeds and paces, dictating that they can win in a variety of ways. We saw some brilliant throws from Patrick Mahomes. On the other hand, the Chiefs defense was able to get many stops at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Each and every week, we will be listing players, position groups or coaches that improved or hurt their respective stock. Who saw their stock rise or fall in Week 12 for the Kansas City Chiefs? Let’s kick it off.
Isiah Pacheco had another commanding performance, punishing any opponents that were in his sights. On the ground, he totaled 69 rushing yards, 3.1 yards per carry and one rushing touchdown. His lone reception was also impressive, as the Chiefs motioned him in from out wide, where he ran an angle route. Pacheco has the perfect mix of power, speed and change of direction skills for an offense like this. Kansas City can spread it all around the yard when attacking through the air. But when defenses need an immediate stop, Pacheco is simply too much to handle. He brings the necessary energy, quickness out of the blocks and play extension to keep the Chiefs afloat.
L’Jarius Sneed is such a unique weapon as a defensive back. That is especially true, when you consider the aggressive style of defense that is run by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Chiefs benefitted from Sneed’s instincts and anticipation. He is one of the better tacklers against the run, as far as a defensive back is concerned. Meanwhile, Sneed does a good job of staying controlled and patient at the catch point. He simply picks his poison and frustrates opposing pass catchers in a multitude of ways. In total, Sneed finished the game with seven tackles, two passes defensed, one tackle for loss and one interception.
From one Chiefs do-it-all defender, to another Kansas City do-it-all defender. Linebacker Nick Bolton was all over the field on Sunday, making momentum-shifting stops. He showed off his downhill thumping ability, crashing through into the backfield to limit rushing yards for the Rams. He was also able to display his adequate range, racing from sideline to sideline to cut off outside run attempts. Finally, Bolton had his second interception in as many weeks, getting help from Carlos Dunlap, who tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage. He led the Chiefs with 11 total tackles against Los Angeles. Bolton is the perfect leader for the Chiefs in the middle of the defense. More importantly, Kansas City can rely on him to lead by example with his play and with his calming words in the huddle.
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Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub has long been revered on Andy Reid‘s staff. Nonetheless, we have seen certain gaffes grow in the last few years by the Kansas City special teams units. The Chiefs have already had some horrific blunders from those groups in earlier games this season. And while it has not always cost them in the win column, you cannot help but get nervous when situations are relying on the special teams to come through.
On Sunday, Kansas City gave up a fake punt pass for a first down. We also saw another muffed punt return by rookie Skyy Moore. Say what you will about Moore, but he did not allow that to hurt his confidence, hauling in a handful of passes afterwards on offense. You could argue that Toub should have stopped placing Moore in that precarious position long ago. Elsewhere, Kansas City gave up a decent chunk of yardage on kick returns by the Rams. There are certain quirks that must be ironed out by Toub going forward. If not, the Chiefs could be hindered in the playoffs by porous special teams play.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire did not play on Sunday. Furthermore, we will not see him for at least three more games, as he sits on the injured reserve list with an ankle sprain. Placing him on the stock down category has more to do with other Chiefs running backs performing well, rather than CEH himself. Outside of Pacheco’s strong few weeks, Jerick McKinnon continues to give Kansas City necessary jolts here and there. Ronald Jones finally got a chance against the Rams, to boot. During his minimal opportunities, he even looked to offer more juice than Edwards-Helaire has.
We know Pacheco is just getting started and looks to be top dog going into next season. You could very well see a return of either McKinnon or Jones, and it would not be shocking. If not, another veteran running back could step in as a depth piece. As a result of the last few weeks, it just seems like Edwards-Helaire’s shelf life is bare in Kansas City going forward. Who knows if he returns to the Chiefs next season.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles and analysis throughout this week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.