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Chiefs-Chargers snap counts: Making do with reserve players

Let’s see how the Chiefs used their backups in the Week 17 game against the Chargers.

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

In anticipation of the postseason, the Kansas City Chiefs rested their starters during Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, giving snaps to some players who have had little to no significant use this season.

Let’s see how the team used their players in this unusual game.


Starters (offensive): WR Mecole Hardman, LT Martinas Rankin, LG Stefen Wisniewski, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Yasir Durant, RT Patrick Omameh, TE Deon Yelder, WR Byron Pringle, WR Demarcus Robinson, QB Chad Henne and RB Darwin Thompson.

Starters (defensive): LDE Michael Danna, LDT Khalen Saunders, RDT Tershawn Wharton, RDE Tim Ward, LB Willie Gay Jr., CB Darius Harris, LB Damien Wilson, LCB Deandre Baker, RCB BoPete Keyes, FS Juan Thornhill and SS Armani Watts.

Did not play: QB Matt Moore, CB Bashaud Breeland, RB Le’Veon Bell, CB Charvarius Ward, CB L’Jarius Sneed, S Daniel Sorensen, DE Frank Clark, C Austin Reiter, T Eric Fisher, G Andrew Wylie, TE Travis Kelce and DT Derrick Nnadi.

Inactive: WR Tyreek Hill, WR Sammy Watkins, QB Patrick Mahomes, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, S Tyrann Mathieu, LB Ben Niemann and T Mike Remmers.

Offense All Pass Run
Total 50
(100%)
33
(100%)
17
(100%)
Yasir Durant 50
(100%)
33
(100%)
17
(100%)
Chad Henne 50
(100%)
33
(100%)
17
(100%)
Daniel Kilgore 50
(100%)
33
(100%)
17
(100%)
Martinas Rankin 50
(100%)
33
(100%)
17
(100%)
Stefen Wisniewski 50
(100%)
33
(100%)
17
(100%)
Patrick Omameh 50
(100%)
33
(100%)
17
(100%)
Darwin Thompson 46
(92%)
29
(88%)
17
(100%)
Demarcus Robinson 44
(88%)
31
(94%)
13
(76%)
Byron Pringle 42
(84%)
29
(88%)
13
(76%)
Deon Yelder 41
(82%)
27
(82%)
14
(82%)
Mecole Hardman 31
(62%)
21
(64%)
10
(59%)
Nick Keizer 20
(40%)
11
(33%)
9
(53%)
Gehrig Dieter 18
(36%)
12
(36%)
6
(35%)
Anthony Sherman 4
(8%)
1
(3%)
3
(18%)
Darrel Williams 4
(8%)
4
(12%)
0
(0%)

Offensive takeaways

  • All of the nominal starters on the offensive line never saw the field on offense — although Nick Allegretti did play a few snaps on special teams. Starting offensive linemen Martinas Rankin, Stefen Wisniewski, Daniel Kilgore, Yasir Durant and Patrick Omameh played every snap.
  • In this game, the Chiefs essentially went all-in on running back Darwin Thompson. He played 92% of the total offensive snaps — including 100% of the rushing plays — which is a higher percentage than we typically see from the team’s starting running back. Darrel Williams had just 8% of the total snaps — all of them on passing plays.
  • At tight end, Deon Yelder had the starter-like usage, being on the field for 82% of the snaps. Nick Keizer had 40%. His usage was tilted a bit toward rushing plays.
  • Wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle had starter-like playing time, respectively getting 88% and 84% of the snaps. Mecole Hardman was on the field for 62% of the plays, which was in his typical range of usage. Gehrig Dieter played 36% of the snaps.

Defense All Pass Run
Total 70
(100%)
35
(100%)
35
(100%)
Darius Harris 70
(100%)
35
(100%)
35
(100%)
Juan Thornhill 70
(100%)
35
(100%)
35
(100%)
Armani Watts 70
(100%)
35
(100%)
35
(100%)
BoPete Keyes 66
(94%)
34
(97%)
32
(91%)
Tershawn Wharton 62
(89%)
31
(89%)
31
(89%)
Michael Danna 59
(84%)
29
(83%)
30
(86%)
Tim Ward 56
(80%)
27
(77%)
29
(83%)
Khalen Saunders 51
(73%)
22
(63%)
29
(83%)
Rashad Fenton 50
(71%)
27
(77%)
23
(66%)
Damien Wilson 46
(66%)
22
(63%)
24
(69%)
Deandre Baker 43
(61%)
27
(77%)
16
(46%)
Antonio Hamilton 42
(60%)
20
(57%)
22
(63%)
Mike Pennel 39
(56%)
13
(37%)
26
(74%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 25
(36%)
13
(37%)
12
(34%)
Alex Okafor 18
(26%)
12
(34%)
6
(17%)
Willie Gay Jr. 2
(3%)
2
(6%)
0
(0%)
Chris Jones 1
(1%)
1
(3%)
0
(0%)

Defensive takeaways

  • Typically, we see the two starting safeties and the two starting cornerbacks play all (or almost all) of the defensive snaps. That pattern continued with starting safeties Juan Thornhill and Armani Watts, along with cornerbacks BoPete Keyes and Deandre Baker — that is, until Baker was injured.
  • After Willie Gay Jr. was injured, the Chiefs were in real trouble at linebacker. Gay, Darius Harris and Damien Wilson were the only linebackers suited up for the game — and it’s likely that since he had limited in practice all week, the Chiefs didn’t intend for Wilson to play. But he ended up playing on two-thirds of the snaps — and Harris became the first Chiefs linebacker this season to play every defensive snap of a game. In the second half, defensive tackle Khalen Saunders was observed playing in a linebacker role.
  • Along the defensive line, Tershawn Wharton, Michael Danna, Tim Ward and Khalen Saunders all got what would normally be starter-level snaps ranging from 89% to 73%. Mike Pennel, Tanoh Kpassagnon and Alex Okafor had rotation-level use that ranged from 56% to 26%. Chris Jones had a single snap — perhaps to satisfy a contractual incentive.

Special Teams Snaps
Total 22
(100%)
Antonio Hamilton 19
(86%)
Darius Harris 19
(86%)
Armani Watts 19
(86%)
Gehrig Dieter 18
(82%)
Anthony Sherman 18
(82%)
Byron Pringle 15
(68%)
Rashad Fenton 13
(59%)
Nick Keizer 13
(59%)
Juan Thornhill 13
(59%)
Deon Yelder 12
(55%)
Darryl Williams 8
(36%)
Harrison Butker 7
(32%)
BoPete Keyes 6
(27%)
Tommy Townsend 6
(27%)
James Winchester 5
(23%)
Michael Danna 4
(18%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 4
(18%)
Mike Pennel 4
(18%)
Khalen Saunders 4
(18%)
Tershawn Wharton 4
(18%)
Damien Wilson 4
(18%)
Deandre Baker 4
(18%)
Nick Allegretti 3
(14%)
Yasir Durant 3
(14%)
Mecole Hardman 3
(14%)
Daniel Kilgore 3
(14%)
Martinas Rankin 3
(14%)
Stefen Wisniewski 3
(14%)
Patrick Omameh 3
(14%)
Willie Gay Jr. 1
(5%)
Demarcus Robinson 1
(5%)

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 50
(100%)
70
(100%)
22
(100%)
142
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
3
(2%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(32%)
7
(5%)
Michael Danna 0
(0%)
59
(84%)
4
(18%)
63
(44%)
Gehrig Dieter 18
(36%)
0
(0%)
18
(82%)
36
(25%)
Yasir Durant 50
(100%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
53
(37%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
50
(71%)
13
(59%)
63
(44%)
Willie Gay Jr. 0
(0%)
2
(3%)
1
(5%)
3
(2%)
Antonio Hamilton 0
(0%)
42
(60%)
19
(86%)
61
(43%)
Mecole Hardman 31
(62%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
34
(24%)
Darius Harris 0
(0%)
70
(100%)
19
(86%)
89
(63%)
Chad Henne 50
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
50
(35%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
1
(1%)
0
(0%)
1
(1%)
Nick Keizer 20
(40%)
0
(0%)
13
(59%)
33
(23%)
BoPete Keyes 0
(0%)
66
(94%)
6
(27%)
72
(51%)
Daniel Kilgore 50
(100%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
53
(37%)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 0
(0%)
25
(36%)
4
(18%)
29
(20%)
Alex Okafor 0
(0%)
18
(26%)
0
(0%)
18
(13%)
Mike Pennel 0
(0%)
39
(56%)
4
(18%)
43
(30%)
Byron Pringle 42
(84%)
0
(0%)
15
(68%)
57
(40%)
Martinas Rankin 50
(100%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
53
(37%)
Demarcus Robinson 44
(88%)
0
(0%)
1
(5%)
45
(32%)
Khalen Saunders 0
(0%)
51
(73%)
4
(18%)
55
(39%)
Anthony Sherman 4
(8%)
0
(0%)
18
(82%)
22
(15%)
Darwin Thompson 46
(92%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
46
(32%)
Juan Thornhill 0
(0%)
70
(100%)
13
(59%)
83
(58%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
6
(27%)
6
(4%)
Tim Ward 0
(0%)
56
(80%)
0
(0%)
56
(39%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
70
(100%)
19
(86%)
89
(63%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
62
(89%)
4
(18%)
66
(46%)
Darrel Williams 4
(8%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
4
(3%)
Damien Wilson 0
(0%)
46
(66%)
4
(18%)
50
(35%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(23%)
5
(4%)
Stefen Wisniewski 50
(100%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
53
(37%)
Deon Yelder 41
(82%)
0
(0%)
12
(55%)
53
(37%)
Deandre Baker 0
(0%)
43
(61%)
4
(18%)
47
(33%)
Patrick Omameh 50
(100%)
0
(0%)
3
(14%)
53
(37%)
Darryl Williams 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
8
(36%)
8
(6%)

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