Raiders vs. Chiefs: Chris Jones comes to life

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25: Defensive end Chris Jones
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25: Defensive end Chris Jones /

Chris Jones has given the Kansas City Chiefs a serious defensive boost against the Oakland Raiders in Week 14.

Coming into his second season, Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones was predicted to be an anchor along the defensive front, a young impact player capable of making a Pro Bowl who showed very impressive signs of life during his freshman season in the NFL.

Together with new import Bennie Logan and Allen Bailey, another lineman returning from injury, Jones was going to help provide a push in the pocket from the front line to help free up the likes of Dee Ford and Justin Houston at linebacker. Overall, the front seven was expected to keep the Chiefs in the conversation among the NFL’s elite defensive units. Instead, the discussion has turned out much differently.

Early on the Chiefs were winning in multiple ways, beating the very best teams offered by the NFL schedule one week after another. Through five games, the Chiefs were the lone unbeaten team in the league and looked to be headed for a deep playoff run. Then came the slide.

Through the last seven games, the Chiefs have six of their last seven games overall and have forfeited any division lead they had in the AFC West. Part of that problem has been a permissive defense that has allowed passers to take the time they need to make their throws while also giving up generous running lanes for opposing tailbacks. This, in part, is linked to Jones’s inability to turn a corner and develop as expected this year. Although he has 3.5 sacks on the year before today, he earned 3 of those in a single game, and Jones has been inconsistent to say the least.

Enter today and he’s changing that narrative late in his second season. Jones has instead turned on the gas in today’s must win game against the Oakland Raiders. Through three quarters, the Chiefs are up by 26 points and that’s in large part due to the ability of the defensive line to get to Derek Carr. Both Jones and others like Jarvis Jenkins have done a great job getting through Oakland’s heralded offensive line to disrupt the passer.

Check out the following play which resulted in a turnover by Derek Carr:

So far, Jones has 2 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hits and 1 official sack. It’s the sort of overall dominant performance that earned him comparisons to Aaron Donald on the inside as a rookie last season out of Mississippi State. If the Chiefs are going to make the playoffs this year, it will likely be because Jones was finally able to break through, for one reason or another, to become the force the Chiefs needed in the trenches all along.