Who knew that left tackle would turn out to be such a tremendous concern just a few minutes into the first quarter of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals? During the pre-game, the Chiefs lost starter Orlando Brown Jr. to a calf injury and now Lucas Niang was forced to leave the game on the Chiefs second offensive drive.
Niang was actually playing on the left side of the line to make up for the loss of Brown when he went down shortly before the Chiefs scored their first touchdown of the game—a 29-yard pass to Demarcus Robinson—when he went down in pain in his knee. The Chiefs training staff used a cart to come in and take him away from the field, which shows the level of seriousness for the injury. He’s been ruled out for the rest of the game.
The Chiefs then found their offensive line depth tested as Joe Thuney moved outside to left tackle and Nick Allegretti took his place outside. Andrew Wylie remains in as the starting right tackle outside in a makeshift line that must now hold up against the strong offense of the Cincinnati Bengals on the road.
Niang was the team’s third-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but this has been his rookie season alongside Creed Humphrey at center and Trey Smith at right guard after he opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Niang has looked solid as a right tackle, but he’s also missed significant time due to injury.
His ability to slide out left makes him a valuable bookend as well as a potential starter, but the Chiefs have to hope they stay healthy for the rest of this game as they wait to see the nature of these injuries to both Brown and Niang.