The Chiefs extended their 51-7 run on the Houston Texans all the way to 82-14 before letting off the gas. We broke down Kansas City’s ho-hum, impressive 34-20 victory on the AP Laboratory Postgame Show.
Here are three of our big takeaways:
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the real deal
We told you back in March that Clyde Edwards-Helaire was tailor made to play in Andy Reid’s offense — well, we were right, and we didn’t even see the full manifestation of what he is capable of in this offense. Before Reid let off the gas, Edwards-Helaire was averaging more yards per carry than Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes were averaging per pass attempt. He was getting yards that running backs from last year’s team left on the field. The patience, vision, burst and contact balance were on display tonight. We didn’t even see the rookie running back catch a pass this week — but don’t worry, it’s coming. The best is yet to come from Edwards-Helaire, and he just had one of the most impressive rushing performances for a rookie that you can have.
Linebacker is still a significant concern
It wasn’t all positive coming out of Arrowhead. There are concerns with the linebacker group coming out of Week 1. Whether it was Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson or snap count leader for the position, Ben Niemann, the struggles in space and in coverage were tough to watch against the Texans. The most disheartening fact about the position is that the solution and future of the position in Kansas City — Willie Gay Jr. — did not see the field. He could help solve some of the ailments we’ve seen — especially in coverage. Niemann is a great story but should not be seeing that snap volume in coverage. Those snaps should go to the 2020 second-round pick out of Mississippi State.
L’Jarius Sneed started strong
In a year where it was expected that rookies would have a tough hill to climb for playing time in their first season due to the impact of COVID on the schedule of NFL teams, the Chiefs saw some very promising signs from several members of their rookie class. UDFA Tershawn Wharton and fifth-round pick Mike Danna flashed on the defensive line, but another rookie stood out about the rest on defense: cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo threw Sneed into the fire — starting him opposite Charvarius Ward. It wasn’t perfect (see David Johnson’s touchdown run) but Sneed was not shaken by the moment. He competed every snap and was able to get his hands on the football for a pass breakup. Sneed found himself in good position on multiple targets. He was also the beneficiary of an interception on a sailed pass, and credit is due for finishing the play. It was a great game for Sneed to build off of, and they will need him with Ward (fractured hand) possibly missing time.
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