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Chiefs-Bills: Making sense of snap counts

Let’s take a look at how the Chiefs used their players during Monday’s victory over the Bills.

Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs advanced to 5-1 on the season with a 26-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday. Let’s see how the Chiefs used their players in the win.


Starters (offensive): WR Tyreek Hill, LT Eric Fisher, LG Mike Remmers, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Andrew Wylie, RT Mitchell Schwartz, TE Travis Kelce, WR Demarcus Robinson, TE Mecole Hardman, QB Patrick Mahomes and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Starters (defensive): LDE Tanoh Kpassagnon, LDT Chris Jones, RDT Derrick Nnadi, RDE Frank Clark, LLB Anthony Hitchens, RLB Damien Wilson, CB Daniel Sorensen, LCB Charvarius Ward, RCB Bashaud Breeland, FS Juan Thornhill and SS Tyrann Mathieu.

Did not play: QB Chad Henne.

Inactive: WR Sammy Watkins, RB Le’Veon Bell, RB DeAndre Washington, LB Darius Harris and DE Demone Harris.

Editor’s Note: Arrowhead Pride obtains snap count data from the NFL’s game stats and information system, which allows us to break out snap counts by run or pass on offensive and defensive plays. Because GSIS data ignores plays that were nullified by penalties, total offensive and defensive snap counts will vary from other sources, which get their data from NFL Gamebooks

Offense All Pass Run
Total 73
(100%)
27
(100%)
46
(100%)
Eric Fisher 73
(100%)
27
(100%)
46
(100%)
Daniel Kilgore 73
(100%)
27
(100%)
46
(100%)
Patrick Mahomes 73
(100%)
27
(100%)
46
(100%)
Mike Remmers 73
(100%)
27
(100%)
46
(100%)
Andrew Wylie 73
(100%)
27
(100%)
46
(100%)
Demarcus Robinson 69
(95%)
27
(100%)
42
(91%)
Tyreek Hill 67
(92%)
27
(100%)
40
(87%)
Nick Allegretti 65
(89%)
24
(89%)
41
(89%)
Travis Kelce 65
(89%)
25
(93%)
40
(87%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 49
(67%)
16
(59%)
33
(72%)
Mecole Hardman 29
(40%)
10
(37%)
19
(41%)
Byron Pringle 28
(38%)
13
(48%)
15
(33%)
Darrel Williams 23
(32%)
11
(41%)
12
(26%)
Nick Keizer 21
(29%)
4
(15%)
17
(37%)
Mitchell Schwartz 8
(11%)
3
(11%)
5
(11%)
Deon Yelder 7
(10%)
1
(4%)
6
(13%)
Darwin Thompson 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
3
(7%)
Ricky Seals-Jones 2
(3%)
1
(4%)
1
(2%)
Marcus Kemp 2
(3%)
0
(0%)
2
(4%)

Offensive takeaways

For the first time all season, the Chiefs ran the ball significantly more often than they passed it. Until Monday, the Chiefs had passed on 60% of its offensive snaps. Against the Bills, they ran the ball on 63% of the snaps.

Starting center Austin Reiter gave way to veteran Daniel Kilgore. Although he had been listed as questionable to play with a back injury, Mitchell Schwartz started at right tackle — but left the game after just eight snaps. Backup offensive lineman Mike Remmers — who had been subbing for injured left guard Kelechi Osemele — then moved to right tackle, while Nick Allegretti game in at left guard. That line — Eric Fisher, Allegretti, Kilgore, Andrew Wylie and Remmers — played the rest of the offensive snaps.

We had expected that second-year wide receiver Mecole Hardman would see more action on offense. But the Chiefs instead opted to put more of the load on Demarcus Robinson, who recorded his highest percentage of offensive snaps this season — as did Byron Pringle. And Marcus Kemp — elevated from the practice squad for the game — even had a couple of offensive snaps. Those were his first of the season.

For the first time all season, the Chiefs had all four of their tight ends active for the game — likely to make up for the absence of fullback Anthony Sherman. But although tight ends were sometimes observed lining up as H-backs, the Chiefs didn’t appear to use their tight ends significantly more (or less) than they typically do when Sherman is playing; as a group, tight ends had 168 offensive snaps — 230% of the total — which means the offense typically had at least two tight ends on the field. That figure is almost identical to those for Week 1 and Week 4 — when Sherman was playing.

Defense All Pass Run
Total 50
(100%)
27
(100%)
23
(100%)
Bashaud Breeland 50
(100%)
27
(100%)
23
(100%)
Tyrann Mathieu 50
(100%)
27
(100%)
23
(100%)
Daniel Sorensen 50
(100%)
27
(100%)
23
(100%)
Juan Thornhill 50
(100%)
27
(100%)
23
(100%)
Charvarius Ward 50
(100%)
27
(100%)
23
(100%)
Frank Clark 44
(88%)
23
(85%)
21
(91%)
Chris Jones 38
(76%)
22
(81%)
16
(70%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 36
(72%)
19
(70%)
17
(74%)
Anthony Hitchens 34
(68%)
17
(63%)
17
(74%)
Rashad Fenton 27
(54%)
17
(63%)
10
(43%)
Derrick Nnadi 25
(50%)
12
(44%)
13
(57%)
Damien Wilson 23
(46%)
10
(37%)
13
(57%)
Ben Niemann 16
(32%)
10
(37%)
6
(26%)
Tershawn Wharton 15
(30%)
8
(30%)
7
(30%)
Mike Pennel 14
(28%)
7
(26%)
7
(30%)
Taco Charlton 13
(26%)
11
(41%)
2
(9%)
Alex Okafor 13
(26%)
5
(19%)
8
(35%)
Willie Gay Jr. 2
(4%)
1
(4%)
1
(4%)

Defensive takeaways

The biggest surprise on the defense was the absence of rookie linebacker Willie Gay Jr., who started the last two games at linebacker but had only two defensive snaps in Buffalo. Instead, the Chiefs depended on Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson and Ben Niemann at the second level.

Safety Daniel Sorensen was listed as a starting cornerback in a 4-2-5 defensive alignment — and along with Charvarius Ward, Bashaud Breeland, Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu, he played every one of the defensive snaps. It was the first time all season that the latter four — the secondary’s starters in 2019 — had all been in for every play. As in Week 5, Rashad Fenton was in for about half of the snaps, while Antonio Hamilton was used only on special teams.

Along the defensive line, Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Tanoh Kspassagnon continued to be the every-down mainstays. Alex Okafor’s snaps were limited after left the game with a hamstring injury. Taco Charlton saw a little more use overall — and on passing downs. Derrick Nnadi continued to be used on about half the snaps — primarily against the run — and Mike Pennel continued his transition to an all-purpose reserve tackle.

Special Teams Snaps
Total 25
(100%)
Antonio Hamilton 20
(80%)
Dorian O'Daniel 20
(80%)
Armani Watts 20
(80%)
Willie Gay Jr. 16
(64%)
Byron Pringle 16
(64%)
Ben Niemann 14
(56%)
Daniel Sorensen 14
(56%)
Mecole Hardman 12
(48%)
Marcus Kemp 12
(48%)
Harrison Butker 11
(44%)
Nick Keizer 9
(36%)
Darwin Thompson 9
(36%)
BoPete Keyes 8
(32%)
Tommy Townsend 7
(28%)
James Winchester 7
(28%)
Tedric Thompson 6
(24%)
Damien Wilson 6
(24%)
Darryl Williams 6
(24%)
Nick Allegretti 5
(20%)
Yasir Durant 5
(20%)
Eric Fisher 5
(20%)
Austin Reiter 5
(20%)
Mike Remmers 5
(20%)
Demarcus Robinson 5
(20%)
Andrew Wylie 5
(20%)
Deon Yelder 5
(20%)
Anthony Hitchens 4
(16%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 4
(16%)
Derrick Nnadi 4
(16%)
Mike Pennel 4
(16%)
Rashad Fenton 2
(8%)
Chris Jones 2
(8%)
Tershawn Wharton 2
(8%)

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 73
(100%)
50
(100%)
25
(100%)
148
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 65
(89%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
70
(47%)
Bashaud Breeland 0
(0%)
50
(100%)
0
(0%)
50
(34%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(44%)
11
(7%)
Taco Charlton 0
(0%)
13
(26%)
0
(0%)
13
(9%)
Frank Clark 0
(0%)
44
(88%)
0
(0%)
44
(30%)
Yasir Durant 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
5
(3%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 49
(67%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
49
(33%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
27
(54%)
2
(8%)
29
(20%)
Eric Fisher 73
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
78
(53%)
Willie Gay Jr. 0
(0%)
2
(4%)
16
(64%)
18
(12%)
Antonio Hamilton 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
20
(80%)
20
(14%)
Mecole Hardman 29
(40%)
0
(0%)
12
(48%)
41
(28%)
Tyreek Hill 67
(92%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
67
(45%)
Anthony Hitchens 0
(0%)
34
(68%)
4
(16%)
38
(26%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
38
(76%)
2
(8%)
40
(27%)
Nick Keizer 21
(29%)
0
(0%)
9
(36%)
30
(20%)
Travis Kelce 65
(89%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
65
(44%)
BoPete Keyes 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
8
(32%)
8
(5%)
Daniel Kilgore 73
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
73
(49%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 0
(0%)
36
(72%)
4
(16%)
40
(27%)
Patrick Mahomes 73
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
73
(49%)
Tyrann Mathieu 0
(0%)
50
(100%)
0
(0%)
50
(34%)
Ben Niemann 0
(0%)
16
(32%)
14
(56%)
30
(20%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
25
(50%)
4
(16%)
29
(20%)
Dorian O'Daniel 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
20
(80%)
20
(14%)
Alex Okafor 0
(0%)
13
(26%)
0
(0%)
13
(9%)
Mike Pennel 0
(0%)
14
(28%)
4
(16%)
18
(12%)
Byron Pringle 28
(38%)
0
(0%)
16
(64%)
44
(30%)
Austin Reiter 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
5
(3%)
Mike Remmers 73
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
78
(53%)
Demarcus Robinson 69
(95%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
74
(50%)
Mitchell Schwartz 8
(11%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
8
(5%)
Ricky Seals-Jones 2
(3%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
2
(1%)
Daniel Sorensen 0
(0%)
50
(100%)
14
(56%)
64
(43%)
Darwin Thompson 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
9
(36%)
12
(8%)
Tedric Thompson 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
6
(24%)
6
(4%)
Juan Thornhill 0
(0%)
50
(100%)
0
(0%)
50
(34%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(28%)
7
(5%)
Charvarius Ward 0
(0%)
50
(100%)
0
(0%)
50
(34%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
20
(80%)
20
(14%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
15
(30%)
2
(8%)
17
(11%)
Darrel Williams 23
(32%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
23
(16%)
Damien Wilson 0
(0%)
23
(46%)
6
(24%)
29
(20%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(28%)
7
(5%)
Andrew Wylie 73
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
78
(53%)
Deon Yelder 7
(10%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
12
(8%)
Marcus Kemp 2
(3%)
0
(0%)
12
(48%)
14
(9%)
Darryl Williams 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
6
(24%)
6
(4%)