The Chiefs’ run defense is more durable than in past years
Though it is a small sample size, the Chiefs’ defense against opposing running backs appears to be less porous than it has in recent years, which rings true with both the eye test and the stat line. Last year, the Chiefs’ defense gave up 114 rushing yards a game on average. Looking back a year further, it can be seen the run defense was even weaker as they let allowed an average of 123.2 yards on the ground per game.
It appears that the linebacker duo of Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. commanding starting rolls this season has allowed the KC defense to attack opposing rushers more effectively than in recent campaigns. Thus far, the defense has only allowed an average of 89 rushing yards per game and was particularly stifling against the Chargers, only allowing 75 yards on the ground. This was accomplished mainly through quickly bringing down Austin Ekeler, the Chargers’ top asset in their run game. Ekeler was held to only 39 yards on 14 carries, a measly 2.8 yards per attempt.
CEH is emerging as a dangerous weapon
Another highlight of the week 2 win involves third-year running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire playing some of his best football ever. CEH racked up 74 yards on only 8 carries, an impressive 9.2 average. This was aided mainly by a 52-yard run late in the fourth quarter. With less than four minutes on the clock, the Chiefs found themselves in a position to deplete the clock and secure the victory. Clyde was handed off the ball on first and ten and held onto the ball with both hands as he broke free for the longest run of his career.
This run allowed the Chiefs to get into field goal position and ultimately put away the game by securing a two-score lead. Additionally, Clyde was impressive as a pass-catcher, tallying up 44 yards through 4 catches. His time at LSU showcased his ability to be most effective through catching the ball and consistently netting positive yards after the catch. Finally, it appears that the Chiefs’ offensive attack is starting to use him in that capacity, thereby allowing him to be his best. Between his rushing and catching abilities, it appears that fans are looking to see Edwards-Helaire feast on more touches as he is poised to put together his best season yet.
Juju and MVS failed to leave much of an impact
On the flip side of things, the additions to the Chiefs’ receiving room in Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both saw their production drop compared to week 1. Juju only accounted for 10 yards and 3 catches, while MVS caught only 2 passes for 13 yards. Though no pass-catcher was highly featured with Travis Kelce leading the group with 5 catches, it is a bit concerning that the additions to the receiving room with the most experience barely left an impact on the game.
While the Chargers’ secondary is among the best in the league, the Chiefs will surely need to find more success against this level of talent if they hope to make a deep push into the playoffs as they have in recent years. No need to hit the panic button yet though. When their chemistry with Mahomes increases as the year progresses they will surely become bigger contributors to Andy Reid‘s dynamic offense.