The Kansas City Chiefs’ bye week was in week ten. Now, due partly to an outstanding defensive performance, they will have another one. With a 14-1 record, the Chiefs are having their best regular season of all time. However, it is all about how you finish, not how you start.
This season has had some ups, for sure. However, the defense has also had some downs. Much like the last two years, the Chiefs have had struggles on that side of the ball. The issues started in 2018 and seemed to alleviate a bit last season.
In the 2019 off-season, the Chiefs went out and got Tyrann Mathieu, a pro-bowl safety who has been nothing short of amazing. They also picked up Frank Clark, a great edge defender from Seattle, to pair with Chris Jones.
To start the 2019 season, Kansas City was not great on the defensive side. But as time went on, and they played more games together, Kansas City’s defense shut down their opponents. This includes a game in Tennessee that featured the best running back in the league in Derrick Henry.
This season, they have not played as well as 2019 but they are looking like they are catching fire at the right time. Kansas City has turned the NFL’s wild card weekend into a Chiefs bye week. That gives them two weeks to prepare for their next big game. Let’s take a look at what got them here.
Defense Helps Clinch a Chiefs Bye Week
The defensive line played one of their best games of the season, possibly being the biggest reason that Kansas City has now made the first round of the playoffs into a Chiefs bye week. in a matchup that saw opposing quarterback Matt Ryan get hit 12 times. Much of the praise can go to both Jones and Clark for the recent clinching of the Chiefs bye week. Those two have been the anchors of the line for the past few seasons.
Both Jones and Clark had a sack apiece on Sunday, along with at least three hits on the quarterback. Alex Okafor was another player on this unit who stepped up, grabbing a sack and two hits.
Two others performed pretty well from the defensive line as well, and both of them are rookies. Tershawn Wharton and Michael Danna have both played very well this season and have shown that they are worth more than what the Chiefs bargained for in the draft. While only Wharton registered a hit on the quarterback, they both did an outstanding job of hitting their gaps and stopping the run.
The pass rush is starting to get on point, and just at the right time as they helped clinch the Chiefs bye week for wild card weekend. clinch an important spot in the playoffs. If they can lead this team into the playoffs looking like this, the rest of the league might as well pack their bags for the off-season.
The Linebacker group was not amazing in this one, but a few players in particular were. With some key injuries early in the game, some young guys got their chance and looked great.
Backers like Omari Cobb from Marshall, who got his first NFL tackle on Sunday, stepped up. Darius Harris from Middle Tennessee made plays as well. Most importantly, though, the coaching staff finally released the beast.
Willie Gay Jr. came to play, and play is what he did.
Gay Jr. played his career-high in snaps. He also led the team in total tackles, had one for a loss and even racked himself up a few big hits along the way. We have seen flashes of his stellar play all year, but it feels good to see this much of it; especially in a game that saw the Chiefs clinch home-field advantage.
The Kansas City secondary had some good and bad moments as the Chiefs’ bye week was being clinched.
L’Jarius Sneed continues to show out, and it is so much fun to watch. In week 15, he was able to register a sack against New Orleans. That was the only sack on the game for Kansas City. He also added an interception and kept that same energy in this one as he got to the quarterback twice and brought him down once.
Sneed continues to show why he is the best Chiefs rookie and could be in the running for the NFL defensive rookie of the year.
Thanks for reading my article on the clinching of the Chiefs bye week.
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