L’Jarius Sneed‘s importance
While the outbreak of COVID took over the headlines surrounding the Chiefs in the last week, one of the most overlooked storylines coming into Week 16 was the return of cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.
Sneed missed the previous two games for the Chiefs dealing with personal matters in the wake of the tragic murder of his brother back home in Louisiana. He died shortly before the Chiefs were slated to play the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14 and he went on to take a private jet home to be with family and friends and remained out through the team’s Week 15 road win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
From the beginning of the game, Sneed was a hero on defense for the Chiefs with numerous plays to affect the Steelers offensive plans both against the run and the pass. He finished the game with 6 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and another deflected pass, and he reminded everyone how his versatility and well-rounded skill set makes him such an important part of this now-dominant defense.
Life without specialists
There’s no denying that the wind was a big factor for both teams at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It made some passes float a bit more than normal, which means the kicking units were especially affected. That said, everyone is going to be very happy to see Harrison Butker and Tommy Townsend back at work soon enough—hopefully by next week when the Chiefs hit the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Townsend and Butker both were placed on the Chiefs COVID reserve list earlier this week along with more than a dozen other players. While some were able to return, many more were unable to put together the required negative results in order to come back. If either player is unvaccinated, the wait will be a lot longer on the sidelines.
On Sunday, the Chiefs watched substitute kicker Elliott Fry make his first field goal attempt only to the miss an extra point as well as a shorter 39-yard field goal in the second quarter as he finished 3 of 4 in FG attempts for the game. . Fry wasn’t alone, however, as Steelers kicker Chris Boswell also finished with a miss from 36 yards out.