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Super Bowl LIV: Making sense of snap counts

Let’s take a look at how Chiefs players were used in the championship game against the 49ers.

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

On Sunday night. the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a thrilling 31-20 Super Bowl victory.

Let’s see how individual Chiefs contributed in the championship game.


Starters (offensive): WR Tyreek Hill, LT Eric Fisher, G Stefen Wisniewski, C Austin Reiter, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RT Mitchell Schwartz, TE Travis Kelce, WR Sammy Watkins, QB Patrick Mahomes, RB Damien Williams and WR Mecole Hardman.

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

Did not play: QB Matt Moore, DE Demone Harris and DT Xavier Williams.

Inactive: QB Chad Henne, CB Morris Claiborne, RB LeSean McCoy, LB Darron Lee, G Ryan Hunter, T Jackson Barton and G Andrew Wylie.

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 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Eric Fisher 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Patrick Mahomes 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Austin Reiter 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Mitchell Schwartz 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Stefen Wisniewski 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Travis Kelce 71
(93%)
45
(98%)
26
(87%)
Tyreek Hill 66
(87%)
43
(93%)
23
(77%)
Sammy Watkins 66
(87%)
43
(93%)
23
(77%)
Damien Williams 65
(86%)
40
(87%)
25
(83%)
Demarcus Robinson 37
(49%)
23
(50%)
14
(47%)
Blake Bell 29
(38%)
17
(37%)
12
(40%)
Mecole Hardman 20
(26%)
10
(22%)
10
(33%)
Darwin Thompson 11
(14%)
6
(13%)
5
(17%)
Anthony Sherman 7
(9%)
1
(2%)
6
(20%)
Deon Yelder 4
(5%)
0
(0%)
4
(13%)
Byron Pringle 3
(4%)
2
(4%)
1
(3%)
Cameron Erving 1
(1%)
0
(0%)
1
(3%)

Offensive takeaways

  • As they have done since the last couple of games of the regular season, the starters on the offensive line — Eric Fisher, Stefen Wisniewski, Austin Reiter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Mitchell Schwartz — played every offensive snap.
  • In all three postseason games, running back Damien Williams was on the field for a higher percentage of offensive snaps than in any regular-season game.
  • Running back Darwin Thompson continued a general downward trend in offensive snap counts that began in Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders. But as the season concluded, he was still being used much more often than he had been early in the season.
  • Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson’s use in the offense was up a little from the AFC championship game — but his general downward trend line since the Week 14 game against New England continued.
  • After being a healthy scratch for the last five games of the regular season, tight end Deon Yelder saw action in all three postseason games. His limited action on offense was primarily on rushing snaps.

Defense All Pass Run
Total 54
(100%)
32
(100%)
22
(100%)
Tyrann Mathieu 54
(100%)
32
(100%)
22
(100%)
Daniel Sorensen 54
(100%)
32
(100%)
22
(100%)
Charvarius Ward 53
(98%)
32
(100%)
21
(95%)
Bashaud Breeland 52
(96%)
32
(100%)
20
(91%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 48
(89%)
27
(84%)
21
(95%)
Frank Clark 47
(87%)
26
(81%)
21
(95%)
Chris Jones 44
(81%)
27
(84%)
17
(77%)
Anthony Hitchens 38
(70%)
20
(63%)
18
(82%)
Damien Wilson 38
(70%)
21
(66%)
17
(77%)
Derrick Nnadi 31
(57%)
15
(47%)
16
(73%)
Terrell Suggs 29
(54%)
22
(69%)
7
(32%)
Kendall Fuller 28
(52%)
19
(59%)
9
(41%)
Reggie Ragland 26
(48%)
13
(41%)
13
(59%)
Rashad Fenton 17
(31%)
11
(34%)
6
(27%)
Ben Niemann 16
(30%)
12
(38%)
4
(18%)
Mike Pennel 15
(28%)
9
(28%)
6
(27%)
Khalen Saunders 4
(7%)
2
(6%)
2
(9%)

Defensive takeaways

  • Safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen were each on the field for every defensive snap. Cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland were in on more than 90% of the snaps.
  • Defensive tackle Chris Jones was back to his normal usage — about 80% of the defensive snaps.
  • Defensive end Frank Clark’s use steadily increased from the late season through the postseason. On Sunday, he was used on 87% of defensive snaps — his highest usage of the year.
  • Defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon was used more often on Sunday than any game this season, continuing to be used fairly equally against the pass and run.
  • Defensive tackle Mike Pennel peaked at 39% of the snaps in the conference championship, falling to 28% in the Super Bowl. But for just about the only time this season, he was used in almost exactly the same percentage of running and passing snaps. Against the Titans, he was used over twice as often against the run.
  • On Sunday, defensive end Terrell Suggs continued to be on the field for about half of the snaps — but for the first time this season, was used significantly more often against the pass.
  • After making running back LeSean McCoy and three offensive linemen inactive for the game — presumably to make more defensive linemen available against the 49ers — neither defensive end Demone Harris or defensive tackle Xavier Williams played a single snap. In some late-season games, Harris had played on as many as two thirds of the defensive snaps.
  • Rookie defensive tackle Khalen Saunders’ use steadily declined through the second half of the season and the postseason.
  • After being on the field for nearly all defensive snaps late in the season, cornerback Kendall Fuller’s use steadily declined in the postseason. On Sunday, he continued to be used mostly on passing snaps.
  • Rookie cornerback Rashad Fenton also saw a general decline in snaps during the postseason — but against the 49eers, his use was more balanced between running and passing plays. Through most of the season, he was primarily used on passing downs.

Special Teams Snaps
Total 24
(100%)
Jordan Lucas 19
(79%)
Ben Niemann 19
(79%)
Dorian O'Daniel 19
(79%)
Daniel Sorensen 19
(79%)
Anthony Sherman 18
(75%)
Byron Pringle 15
(63%)
Rashad Fenton 13
(54%)
Darwin Thompson 13
(54%)
Armani Watts 13
(54%)
Blake Bell 11
(46%)
Harrison Butker 11
(46%)
Mecole Hardman 11
(46%)
Alex Brown 7
(29%)
Dustin Colquitt 7
(29%)
James Winchester 7
(29%)
Nick Allegretti 5
(21%)
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif 5
(21%)
Eric Fisher 5
(21%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 5
(21%)
Austin Reiter 5
(21%)
Mitchell Schwartz 5
(21%)
Charvarius Ward 5
(21%)
Stefen Wisniewski 5
(21%)
Anthony Hitchens 4
(17%)
Chris Jones 4
(17%)
Derrick Nnadi 4
(17%)
Mike Pennel 4
(17%)
Demarcus Robinson 2
(8%)
Damien Wilson 2
(8%)
Deon Yelder 2
(8%)

Special teams takeaways

  • Linebackers Dorian O’Daniel and Ben Niemann — and safeties Jordan Lucas and Daniel Sorensen — again served as the core of the special teams units.
  • While Darwin Thompson’s use on offense has declined as the season progressed, his use on special teams has steadily increased over the latter part of the season — reaching a season-high in the Super Bowl.
  • Except when other players have been injured, wide receiver Byron Pringle has seen few snaps on offense through the season — but has been used consistently on special teams.

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 76
(100%)
54
(100%)
24
(100%)
154
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
5
(3%)
Blake Bell 29
(38%)
0
(0%)
11
(46%)
40
(26%)
Bashaud Breeland 0
(0%)
52
(96%)
0
(0%)
52
(34%)
Alex Brown 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(29%)
7
(5%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(46%)
11
(7%)
Frank Clark 0
(0%)
47
(87%)
0
(0%)
47
(31%)
Dustin Colquitt 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(29%)
7
(5%)
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
81
(53%)
Cameron Erving 1
(1%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(1%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
17
(31%)
13
(54%)
30
(19%)
Eric Fisher 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
81
(53%)
Kendall Fuller 0
(0%)
28
(52%)
0
(0%)
28
(18%)
Mecole Hardman 20
(26%)
0
(0%)
11
(46%)
31
(20%)
Tyreek Hill 66
(87%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
66
(43%)
Anthony Hitchens 0
(0%)
38
(70%)
4
(17%)
42
(27%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
44
(81%)
4
(17%)
48
(31%)
Travis Kelce 71
(93%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
71
(46%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 0
(0%)
48
(89%)
5
(21%)
53
(34%)
Jordan Lucas 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
19
(79%)
19
(12%)
Patrick Mahomes 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
76
(49%)
Tyrann Mathieu 0
(0%)
54
(100%)
0
(0%)
54
(35%)
Ben Niemann 0
(0%)
16
(30%)
19
(79%)
35
(23%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
31
(57%)
4
(17%)
35
(23%)
Dorian O'Daniel 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
19
(79%)
19
(12%)
Mike Pennel 0
(0%)
15
(28%)
4
(17%)
19
(12%)
Byron Pringle 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
15
(63%)
18
(12%)
Reggie Ragland 0
(0%)
26
(48%)
0
(0%)
26
(17%)
Austin Reiter 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
81
(53%)
Demarcus Robinson 37
(49%)
0
(0%)
2
(8%)
39
(25%)
Khalen Saunders 0
(0%)
4
(7%)
0
(0%)
4
(3%)
Mitchell Schwartz 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
81
(53%)
Anthony Sherman 7
(9%)
0
(0%)
18
(75%)
25
(16%)
Daniel Sorensen 0
(0%)
54
(100%)
19
(79%)
73
(47%)
Terrell Suggs 0
(0%)
29
(54%)
0
(0%)
29
(19%)
Darwin Thompson 11
(14%)
0
(0%)
13
(54%)
24
(16%)
Charvarius Ward 0
(0%)
53
(98%)
5
(21%)
58
(38%)
Sammy Watkins 66
(87%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
66
(43%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
13
(54%)
13
(8%)
Damien Williams 65
(86%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
65
(42%)
Damien Wilson 0
(0%)
38
(70%)
2
(8%)
40
(26%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(29%)
7
(5%)
Stefen Wisniewski 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
81
(53%)
Deon Yelder 4
(5%)
0
(0%)
2
(8%)
6
(4%)