After missing three games with a groin injury, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones was back in the lineup on Sunday for the team’s big 26-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings at Arrowhead Stadium.
And Jones was a game-wrecker in his return.
As I noted on Sunday night, even though Jones didn’t put up big numbers in the game (three tackles — two solo, one for loss — one sack and two quarterback hits), he was directly involved in no fewer than four third-down stops that forced Vikings punts. That’s huge.
“Chris is a playmaker,” Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu told reporters after the game. “He makes big-time plays for us. I think anytime having him out there — even when he is not necessarily out there wrecking games with sacks — his presence really benefits us as a defense.”
“With him back, it does a lot for our defense and opposing offensive lines,” said fellow defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. “He is, honestly, a downhill player. It is great to have him back on the inside. From D-end to D-tackle — either way — I am glad to have my dog back.”
“It’s good to get him back in there,” remarked Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “As long as this goes, the more we will be able to get guys back in. We’ll just add them to the mix to get a little more depth. It’s good experience that these guys have gotten. It will help us down the road here.”
Jones himself said that getting a chance to get back on the field with his teammates made the game an emotional experience for him. But afterward, his focus had changed.
“It’s just another win,” he said, “so you have to now prepare for next week. Preparation is key. The defense held the [Vikings rushers] to under 100 yards. Dalvin Cook has been playing some of the best ball in the NFL. We were fortunate enough to get the win and execute on defense. Now we have to execute next week.”
Nnadi expressed a similar view when he was asked whether he had noticed Vikings offensive players getting frustrated during the game.
“Honestly, I was not worried about that,” he replied. “I was worried about me doing my technique, playing the man in front of me — and keep rolling. I don’t worry about how they are feeling mentally. I’m worried about stopping the play, keep rolling and worry about us. At the end of the day, it is not about what they can do. It is about what we can do as a unit.”