Backfield depth questions
Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked good in the early going with a memorable touchdown run to put the Chiefs up 7-0, but this game could be remembered more for the latest injury suffered by the team’s former first-round running back.
Edwards-Helaire left in the third quarter after landing hard on his shoulder during a tackle. He soon left the game was designated as questionable to return due to a collarbone injury. By the end of the third quarter, he’d been downgraded to out.
While nothing official is known at this time, we should at least note that a collarbone injury is what kept Tyreek Hill out for a full month just two years ago in early 2019. Given that the Chiefs also have Jerick McKinnon on injured reserve, the depth of this backfield is going to be tested going forward.
Some key questions arise here. Will Darrel Williams be forced to handle a lead role at the most pivotal point in the season? Will Derrick Gore be given substantial reps with greater pressure? Will the Chiefs make a move or simply elevate Elijah McGuire from the practice squad? These are questions that we’ll ask in the days to come, depending on how the status of CEH and McKinnon looks heading into Week 17
Tests for Tyrann
Late in the game, the Chiefs announced news that star safety Tyrann Mathieu, who was just voted to the Pro Bowl—his third career appearance—earlier this week, was forced to leave with a quad injury. He was immediately termed “out” for the rest of the contest against the Steelers.
After any and all celebrations following such an impressive win in Week 16, there are going to be questions and concerns about the Chiefs’ defense and Mathieu’s availability going forward. After all, it’s no secret how important Mathieu is to every wrinkle of the defense. Not only is he one of the most dynamic weapons in any secondary in football, but he’s also the ultimate teammate in how he helps make everyone around him better.
Mathieu is a teacher and motivator, a leader and performer. It’s going to be hard for the Chiefs to maintain as much confidence in what they want to do defensively going forward if Mathieu’s status is up in the air. That’s why we know there will be plenty of questions for the team’s coaches and trainers in the days ahead.