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Chiefs-Falcons snap counts: Darrel Williams is top back; Gay gets a lot of work

We didn’t expect the Chiefs’ third-down back to get so much work on Sunday — but that’s how it played out.

NFL: DEC 27 Falcons at Chiefs Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs clinched the single AFC postseason bye — and guaranteed the best record in franchise history — by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 17-14 on Sunday afternoon.

Let’s see how the Chiefs used their players in this important win:


Starters (offensive): WR Tyreek Hill, LT Eric Fisher, LG Nick Allegretti, C Austin Reiter, RG Andrew Wylie, RT Mike Remmers, TE Travis Kelce, TE Mecole Hardman, WR Sammy Watkins, QB Patrick Mahomes and RB Le’Veon Bell.

Starters (defensive): LDE Tanoh Kpassagnon, LDT Chris Jones, RDT Derrick Nnadi, RDE Frank Clark, LB Ben Niemann, LB Willie Gay Jr., LB Darius Harris, LCB Charvarius Ward, RCB Bashaud Breeland, FS Daniel Sorensen and SS Tyrann Mathieu.

Did not play: QB Chad Henne.

Inactive: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, CB BoPete Keyes, CB Deandre Baker, LB Damien Wilson, T Martinas Rankin, DE Tim Ward and DT Khalen Saunders.


Offensive takeaways


After the Week 16 game against the New Orleans Saints — for which backup right tackle Mike Remmers wasn’t available — the Chiefs opted to return to the previous normal, starting Eric Fisher, Nick Allegretti, Austin Reiter, Andrew Wyile and Remmers on the offensive line. After suffering an injury late in the game, Reiter gave way to Daniel Kilgore for four plays. Otherwise — as usual — the line stayed together for every snap.

At tight end, Travis Kelce had snaps in the normal range — even after being shaken up on a play. Nick Keizer and Deon Yelder’s snaps were both down a bit from Week 16. Ricky Seals-Jones — active for the first time since Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills — took up the slack on offense and played a significant number of special teams snaps.

Among wide receivers, Tyreek Hill’s use was down a bit from normal — especially on running plays — after he spent the week nursing a hamstring injury. Sammy Watkins was used a little less than normal; he left the game in the fourth quarter with a calf injury. Mecole Hardman (and to a lesser extent Demarcus Robinson) took up most of the slack; Byron Pringle was on the field for just 11% of the offensive snaps.

We probably had our biggest surprise at running back. With starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire out, we expected that Le’Veon Bell would get the lion’s share of snaps. But after Bell was shaken up on a play early in the game, Darrel Williams came in — and took the lead. Here’s how head coach Andy Reid put it after the game: “Le’Veon got kind of banged up there for a second and [Williams] stepped in and did a heck of a job — took advantage of the opportunity — so that was a real plus for him.” Meanwhile, Darwin Thompson was used only on special teams.


Defensive takeaways


As we typically see, safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen — along with cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland — were in for every defensive snap. L’Jarius Sneed settled in for what looks like his new normal at nickel corner: something above 70% of the snaps — mostly on passing downs. Safety Juan Thornhill was used only on passing downs, while cornerback Rashad Fenton played only on special teams.

Starting linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson were both out Sunday. Then Ben Niemann left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury. Rookies Willie Gay Jr. and Darius Harris took the load. Gay saw his largest use on defense this season, while Harris had his first use. Omari Cobb — elevated from the practice squad on Saturday — had 15% of the defensive snaps. Most of them were on rushing downs.

Along the defensive line, there was little to raise anyone’s eyebrows. All of the defensive ends and tackles saw use that was well within their normal ranges.


Data


Offense

Offense All Pass Run
Total 66
(100%)
45
(100%)
21
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 66
(100%)
45
(100%)
21
(100%)
Eric Fisher 66
(100%)
45
(100%)
21
(100%)
Patrick Mahomes 66
(100%)
45
(100%)
21
(100%)
Mike Remmers 66
(100%)
45
(100%)
21
(100%)
Andrew Wylie 66
(100%)
45
(100%)
21
(100%)
Austin Reiter 62
(94%)
42
(93%)
20
(95%)
Travis Kelce 55
(83%)
39
(87%)
16
(76%)
Sammy Watkins 50
(76%)
35
(78%)
15
(71%)
Darrel Williams 47
(71%)
33
(73%)
14
(67%)
Tyreek Hill 42
(64%)
33
(73%)
9
(43%)
Demarcus Robinson 41
(62%)
33
(73%)
8
(38%)
Mecole Hardman 40
(61%)
25
(56%)
15
(71%)
Le'Veon Bell 19
(29%)
12
(27%)
7
(33%)
Nick Keizer 13
(20%)
5
(11%)
8
(38%)
Byron Pringle 7
(11%)
4
(9%)
3
(14%)
Deon Yelder 6
(9%)
5
(11%)
1
(5%)
Daniel Kilgore 4
(6%)
3
(7%)
1
(5%)
Ricky Seals-Jones 4
(6%)
1
(2%)
3
(14%)
Anthony Sherman 4
(6%)
0
(0%)
4
(19%)
Gehrig Dieter 2
(3%)
0
(0%)
2
(10%)

Defense

Defense All Pass Run
Total 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Bashaud Breeland 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Tyrann Mathieu 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Daniel Sorensen 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Charvarius Ward 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Darius Harris 48
(77%)
31
(79%)
17
(74%)
Willie Gay Jr. 46
(74%)
23
(59%)
23
(100%)
Chris Jones 44
(71%)
28
(72%)
16
(70%)
L'Jarius Sneed 44
(71%)
32
(82%)
12
(52%)
Frank Clark 42
(68%)
29
(74%)
13
(57%)
Alex Okafor 29
(47%)
18
(46%)
11
(48%)
Tershawn Wharton 29
(47%)
23
(59%)
6
(26%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 28
(45%)
20
(51%)
8
(35%)
Derrick Nnadi 26
(42%)
16
(41%)
10
(43%)
Michael Danna 25
(40%)
11
(28%)
14
(61%)
Mike Pennel 25
(40%)
11
(28%)
14
(61%)
Ben Niemann 23
(37%)
12
(31%)
11
(48%)
Juan Thornhill 16
(26%)
16
(41%)
0
(0%)
Omari Cobb 9
(15%)
3
(8%)
6
(26%)

Special Teams

Special Teams Snaps
Total 22
(100%)
Antonio Hamilton 19
(86%)
Armani Watts 19
(86%)
Byron Pringle 16
(73%)
Gehrig Dieter 16
(73%)
Willie Gay Jr. 15
(68%)
Anthony Sherman 14
(64%)
Nick Keizer 13
(59%)
Rashad Fenton 12
(55%)
Mecole Hardman 11
(50%)
Darius Harris 9
(41%)
Daniel Sorensen 9
(41%)
Harrison Butker 7
(32%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 7
(32%)
Darwin Thompson 7
(32%)
Juan Thornhill 7
(32%)
Tommy Townsend 7
(32%)
James Winchester 7
(32%)
Deon Yelder 6
(27%)
Ricky Seals-Jones 5
(23%)
Nick Allegretti 3
(14%)
Michael Danna 3
(14%)
Eric Fisher 3
(14%)
Derrick Nnadi 3
(14%)
Mike Pennel 3
(14%)
Austin Reiter 3
(14%)
L'Jarius Sneed 3
(14%)
Andrew Wylie 3
(14%)
Charvarius Ward 2
(9%)
Tershawn Wharton 2
(9%)
Chris Jones 1
(5%)
Omari Cobb 1
(5%)

All Snaps

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 66
(100%)
62
(100%)
22
(100%)
150
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 66
(100%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
69
(46%)
Le'Veon Bell 19
(29%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
19
(13%)
Bashaud Breeland 0
(0%)
62
(100%)
0
(0%)
62
(41%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(32%)
7
(5%)
Frank Clark 0
(0%)
42
(68%)
0
(0%)
42
(28%)
Michael Danna 0
(0%)
25
(40%)
3
(14%)
28
(19%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
12
(55%)
12
(8%)
Eric Fisher 66
(100%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
69
(46%)
Willie Gay Jr. 0
(0%)
46
(74%)
15
(68%)
61
(41%)
Antonio Hamilton 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
19
(86%)
19
(13%)
Mecole Hardman 40
(61%)
0
(0%)
11
(50%)
51
(34%)
Darius Harris 0
(0%)
48
(77%)
9
(41%)
57
(38%)
Tyreek Hill 42
(64%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
42
(28%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
44
(71%)
1
(5%)
45
(30%)
Nick Keizer 13
(20%)
0
(0%)
13
(59%)
26
(17%)
Travis Kelce 55
(83%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
55
(37%)
Daniel Kilgore 4
(6%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
4
(3%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 0
(0%)
28
(45%)
7
(32%)
35
(23%)
Patrick Mahomes 66
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
66
(44%)
Tyrann Mathieu 0
(0%)
62
(100%)
0
(0%)
62
(41%)
Ben Niemann 0
(0%)
23
(37%)
0
(0%)
23
(15%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
26
(42%)
3
(14%)
29
(19%)
Alex Okafor 0
(0%)
29
(47%)
0
(0%)
29
(19%)
Mike Pennel 0
(0%)
25
(40%)
3
(14%)
28
(19%)
Byron Pringle 7
(11%)
0
(0%)
16
(73%)
23
(15%)
Austin Reiter 62
(94%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
65
(43%)
Mike Remmers 66
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
66
(44%)
Demarcus Robinson 41
(62%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
41
(27%)
Ricky Seals-Jones 4
(6%)
0
(0%)
5
(23%)
9
(6%)
Anthony Sherman 4
(6%)
0
(0%)
14
(64%)
18
(12%)
L'Jarius Sneed 0
(0%)
44
(71%)
3
(14%)
47
(31%)
Daniel Sorensen 0
(0%)
62
(100%)
9
(41%)
71
(47%)
Darwin Thompson 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(32%)
7
(5%)
Juan Thornhill 0
(0%)
16
(26%)
7
(32%)
23
(15%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(32%)
7
(5%)
Charvarius Ward 0
(0%)
62
(100%)
2
(9%)
64
(43%)
Sammy Watkins 50
(76%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
50
(33%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
19
(86%)
19
(13%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
29
(47%)
2
(9%)
31
(21%)
Darrel Williams 47
(71%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
47
(31%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(32%)
7
(5%)
Andrew Wylie 66
(100%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
69
(46%)
Deon Yelder 6
(9%)
0
(0%)
6
(27%)
12
(8%)
Omari Cobb 0
(0%)
9
(15%)
1
(5%)
10
(7%)
Gehrig Dieter 2
(3%)
0
(0%)
16
(73%)
18
(12%)

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