Clyde’s picturesque performance
Along the same line of the offensive front, it appears Clyde Edwards-Helaire was on a mission to topple critics. A week which saw wild speculation and eventual confirmation that Le’Veon Bell would be joining the Chiefs was jet fuel for Edwards-Helaire’s signature game.
Now, you may believe (as I do) that the Chiefs would have been better served investing in a corner or lineman with their first round pick. But that does not exclude you from admiring the impressive play of Edwards-Helaire. There is nothing contradictory about criticizing the selection of CEH while simultaneously praising him when he performs well. At times, it seems we confuse the positional value of running backs with the excellence of a particular running back.
I start with that preface because, oh boy, do I have some nice things to say about Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Edwards-Helaire is a virtuoso. What do I mean by that? Well, to paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart, “I don’t know, but I know it when I see it.”
So here is what I see: Edwards-Helaire’s game is a seamless expression of these god-given features: he knows how to maneuver his speed, when to duck his head, when to juke, when to simply fall forward. And all of these traits would be unremarkable if not for the fact that Edwards-Helaire combines each in a sort of controlled, confident flurry he unleashes each time he runs the ball. I mean, even three yard runs are pretty exciting with him at the helm.
I can’t remember a game since the Alex Smith era where a running back conducted the offense like he did. Even in those rare games where Mahomes struggles, the victory or defeat begins and ends with Mahomes’ ability to uncork the football, typically near the end of the game. This Week 6 victory was a rare revisitation of those days where the result of the contest depended on the legs of Jamaal Charles of Priest Holmes. It was weirdly refreshing to win a game against a solid opponent without the need for a prolific Mahomes performance (he was still quite good, though.)
Now, the superb play of the offensive line opened a lot of gaps. But watch how Edwards-Helaire maneuvered on plays where the gaps fill. He has an uncanny knack of turning a 2-yard plunge into a 6 -ard one. The ability to turn 2 yards into 6 is sort of the trademark of a great running back. Jamaal Charles did that, too. Maybe there is something magical about wearing #25.
Time will tell if Edwards-Helaire enters that pantheon of great Chiefs tailbacks. His absolute shredding of the Buffalo defense proves one thing: he is a playmaker who does not depend on the arm of Mahomes to move the needle.