Nick Bolton continues to be KC Chiefs’ unsung hero
By Josh Fann
In the midst of the Kansas City Chiefs’ thrilling win over the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, everyone is talking about Patrick Mahomes and the huge stars on offense. Rightfully, because they pretty much won that game.
Yet, the defense did not have what you would call a banner day. They gave up 422 total yards of offense and allowed multiple touchdowns in the last two minutes of the game. The secondary was porous, the pass-rush was silent most of the night and Josh Allen was still able to exploit weaknesses on the K.C. Chiefs defense.
Despite the rough night, rookie linebacker Nick Bolton made a huge impact and it is kind of going unnoticed for the aforementioned reasons.
Nick Bolton continues to be an unsung hero for the defense
Bolton has been knocked by a specific group of fans all year long because of his struggles in coverage and in space. Yes, those criticisms are valid, but let’s stop trying to play “gotcha” about Bolton because of his weaknesses any time he has a good game and appreciate what he’s done for this defense.
For years all we wanted as fans was a linebacker that was a sledgehammer in the middle and could stop the run. Bolton is exactly that and he is great at what he does. If you want to sit there and complain about all the things he doesn’t do, fine, but the reality is he wasn’t drafted to do that and he was forced to play out of position and not to his strengths early on due to necessity.
Bolton only played 60% of the team’s defensive snaps in the regular season yet still led the team in tackles and nearly led the entire league in tackles for a loss. Is that not what fans wanted in a linebacker? Someone who plays smart and racks up tackles?
Either way, Bolton continues to be an unsung hero for the Chiefs defense and his presence definitely made a difference last night as he racked up 8 tackles, 1 TFL, and made multiple third-down stops including a tackle for a loss on Devin Singletary on 3rd and two that forced the Bills to punt when they didn’t want to.
I also noticed Bolton did a pretty nice job shadowing Dawson Knox in coverage early on. The only thing that concerned me was why the heck Bolton was not on the field for the entire last two defensive drives in which Josh Allen ran the ball multiple times for his team and was able to advance with ease. Actually, neither Gay nor Bolton seemed to be present on the field for those last two drives. (COME ON SPAGS!!!)
Either way, Bolton’s impact is one that has been felt down the stretch and the Chiefs will need him to come up with big plays against explosive offenses so that we don’t have to stress out as much as we did this past Sunday.