Multiple things jumped off the Chiefs’ snap count page following their win over the Chargers.
The Kansas City Chiefs faced some trouble, but they ended up snapping out of an early funk to complete a double-digit comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night.
Week 2’s contest, a 27-24 affair, saw Kansas City and Los Angeles struggle to establish anything even beginning to resemble consistency. Brandon Staley and Andy Reid’s squads battled all night long but in the end, it was the Chiefs that were able to step up on both sides of the football and make some plays. Now that snap counts are out (courtesy of the NFL Game Statistics & Information System), what trends jumped off the page this week? Let’s take a look at three notable takeaways from another week of usage in Kansas City.
1. The running back split, again, was interesting
In Week 1, the Chiefs’ running back splits were a bit slanted due to the nature of the team’s blowout win over the Arizona Cardinals. With that said, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon logged an identical snap share in the game with 27 snaps apiece. Rookie Isiah Pacheco, who came on strong in the fourth quarter, logged 16 reps overall. This week, things were just as interesting (but for different reasons).
Edwards-Helaire and McKinnon were again close, with the latter out-snapping the former on offense by two plays. There were rumblings about Edwards-Helaire possibly injuring his leg in the first quarter and he did end up disappearing for a bit, but he was outstanding upon re-entering the game. It was unknown heading into the year exactly what McKinnon’s role would be, although it appears through two weeks that he’s poised to cut into Edwards-Helaire’s snaps.
Pacheco, on the other hand, had a poor rep in the second quarter and effectively seemed to be placed in the doghouse thereafter. It’s reasonable to assume that Reid and company don’t fully trust the former Rutgers standout yet due to his impatience in the run game, which could’ve led to his limited Week 2 playing time. This week’s split won’t always be the case — as was expressed a week ago — but the Chiefs’ usage of their running backs remains an interesting study early in the 2022 season.
2. Chiefs need Moore of Skyy
After hauling in one pass for a big 30-yard gain in Week 1 and playing 13 snaps (19% of the team’s available reps), Chiefs second-round pick Skyy Moore’s production and opportunity cratered in Week 2. Moore still got in plenty of work on special teams, but he logged just a pair of offensive snaps (a 4% workload). Considering that wideout Mecole Hardman suffered an in-game injury and the Chiefs’ offensive game plan wasn’t working well through two-and-a-half quarters, it’s puzzling that Moore didn’t get a chance to inject any possible playmaking element into the offense.
Perhaps, as with Pacheco, the trust factor isn’t completely there yet. First-year wide receivers in Reid offenses typically don’t fare well, and that has been brought up time and time again by fans and media alike when discussing Moore during the offseason. That seems to be bleeding into the regular season as well — at least to start. Moore very well could (and should) see more targets as the year goes on but against the Chargers, he didn’t offer anything offensively. How the Chiefs implement him into their Week 3 plan of attack against the Indianapolis Colts will be worth watching.
3. Jaylen Watson and Leo Chenal seeing more playing time
Seventh-round pick Jaylen Watson got the news on Monday that he was going to be starting on Thursday, and he continued to do an admirable job of filling in for the injured Trent McDuffie. After seeing an unexpected amount of snaps in Week 1 due to the second-half McDuffie injury (Watson logged 33 snaps, good for 51%), the former Washington State standout Watson’s workload increased to a 68% rate. He made the most of it, securing his first career interception and pick-six. Moving forward, the Chiefs have to feel solid about where they are with him filling in.
In the linebacking corps, third-rounder Leo Chenal played just 10 defensive snaps (15%) against the Cardinals. While a 12-snap increase to 22 and a jump from 15% to 29% doesn’t sound like a lot, that much more playing time from one week to another is certainly notable. Chenal, who also played 15 special teams snaps, had one play against the Chargers’ offense where he got pressure and forced quarterback Justin Herbert to eat what otherwise could’ve been a promising play. If Chenal continues to do well, he’ll likely keep seeing the field more often. Thursday was a step in the right direction for him.