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Chiefs-Raiders snap counts: Jones stays inside; Pringle up, Hardman down

Let’s see how Kansas City used its players during Sunday night’s big win.

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

On Sunday night, the Kansas City Chiefs took over the lead in the AFC West with a 41-14 blowout win over the Las Vegas Raiders. It was the first time in quite a while that Kansas City had enough of a fourth-quarter lead to take some starters out of a game, which impacted quite of few individual snap counts.

With that in mind, let's see how Kansas City used its players in this dominating win.


Starters (offensive): TE Travis Kelce, WR Blake Bell, LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Andrew Wylie, WR Tyreek Hill, WR Josh Gordon, QB Patrick Mahomes and RB Darrel Williams.

Starters (defensive): LDE Derrick Nnadi, LDT Chris Jones, RDT Jarran Reed, RDE Frank Clark, LB Willie Gay Jr., LB Anthony Hitchens, LB Nick Bolton, LCB Charvarius Ward, RCB L'Jarius Sneed, S Juan Thornhill and S Tyrann Mathieu.

Did not play: None

Inactive: DT Khalen Saunders, CB Deandre Baker, OL Lucas Niang and TE Daniel Brown.

Note: This was the first time this season that every active Chiefs player made it onto the field. It should also be noted that the official NFL Gamebook lists Khalen Saunders as an active player who had no snaps. This is incorrect. Saunders had no snaps, but it was because the Chiefs had declared him inactive for the game.


Offensive takeaways


Because the Chiefs brought some offensive starters out when quarterback Chad Henne came into the game for the three plays of the final possession, only right guard Trey Smith and backup right tackle Andrew Wylie were on the field for every offensive snap.

Prince Tega Wanogho — active for the first time this season — and Austin Blythe came in at left tackle and center for those plays. Meanwhile, Nick Allegretti — who has previously only been used on special teams this year — was at left guard. He also notched an offensive snap as a sixth lineman. Please take special note of that because it was a goal-line play for which Allegretti reported as an eligible receiver. The Chiefs didn't throw to him — but the next time, they might.

At tight end, the charts show a slight decrease in use for both Tavis Kelce and Blake Bell — but after allowing for the final drive, both players were in a normal range. However, even after allowing for that, Bell saw a wide gap between his use on running plays versus passing plays. Meanwhile, Noah Gray had his second-highest use of the season on offense, while reaching a season-high on special teams.

While it was down just a little from the season-high we saw against the Green Bay Packers, the Chiefs continued to use fullback Michael Burton more than they have all season. The team averaged 1.41 tight ends on the field for each play — the highest number we've seen in 2021. Combined with their fullback average of 0.09 per play, it's clear that the Chiefs went "heavy" in more of their formations than usual.

All three running backs had usage within what we now see as their normal ranges during Clyde Edwards-Helaire's absence. But after a couple of games with a fairly wide disparity between running and passing plays, primary running backs Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon moved back toward normal.

But although the Chiefs drew kudos for a greater reliance on the running game against Las Vegas, the numbers tell a different story. On the season, Kansas City has averaged a 65/35 pass/run ratio. On Sunday, it was 67/33 — hardly different than the team's usual emphasis on passing. What was different was the way the running backs were used. Williams' nine receptions on Sunday were far and away the most for a Kansas City running back in 2021.

At wide receiver, Tyreek Hill stayed in his usual range of use, while Byron Pringle continued the general upward trend he's been on since Week 4. Demarcus Robinson saw a bit of an uptick in his use following a season-low against the Packers — and Mecole Hardman paid the price for those increases, seeing his lowest use of the season.

And then there's Josh Gordon. Once again listed as a starter on Sunday, he now appears to have settled into a normal range of somewhere close to 40% of the team's offensive snaps. But for the second time this season, he wasn't targeted even once. I suggested on Monday that if Gordon wasn't going to be a passing target, then perhaps his snaps should go to a receiver the Chiefs are willing to get involved in the passing game.

But speaking to reporters on Monday, head coach Andy Reid addressed Gordon's use.

"His time's going to come as far as production in the pass game," said Reid. "Right now, he's attracting attention, which is opening up other people, which is a positive thing. His blocking's been tremendous in the run game. He plays extremely hard. I think he's got himself, in the last week or two here, in really good football shape. Remember, he had kind of been out of this thing for a couple years. That's easier said than done, and I sure like what we saw in practice last week.

"I just keep telling him, 'Be patient. It's going to happen. Keep doing what you're doing. This thing will pop for you.' His time will come."

Gordon's snap counts seem to suggest that Reid was speaking pretty frankly about Gordon. The next few weeks will tell the tale.


Defensive takeaways


On the defensive side of the ball, snap counts were especially skewed by the team pulling starters in the fourth quarter; the Raiders' final possession went for 15 non-penalty plays. So no defensive players were on the field for every snap.

The numbers suggest that without starters being pulled, safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill — along with cornerbacks L'Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton — would have been on the field for every play. It appears that Armani Watts — getting his first defensive snaps since Week 1 — came in for Mathieu in the final drive, while Daniel Sorensen snagged a handful of Thornhill's reps.

In the final drive, Mike Hughes and Chris Lammons — making his first appearance on defense this season — got extra work at cornerback.

We noticed one change in how cornerbacks were used. Fenton is typically used on the outside when Sneed drops into the slot — but Pro Football Focus data from Sunday's game suggests that Fenton was the every-down outside cornerback, while Charvarius Ward came into the game when Sneed was in the slot.

At the second level, the three primary linebackers all saw a decrease in their snap counts, while dime linebacker Ben Niemann's use stayed steady. Against the Raiders, the Chiefs averaged 1.80 linebackers on the field for each play, which was almost the lowest of the season. That — combined with front-line linebackers all getting time off during the final Las Vegas series — would account for those usage patterns.

On the defensive line, nominal defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi was listed as a starting defensive end across from Frank Clark — while for the first time this season, Chris Jones was listed as a starting defensive tackle. Still, according to PFF Data, Nnadi was inside for almost all of his snaps — while Jones played 56% of his snaps on the inside. Early in the game, it appeared that Jones played on the outside more often. Later in the game, Melvin Ingram came onto the field more often, while Jones played on the inside more.

With the starters getting rest on the Raiders' final drive, we see that Clark and Ingram's usage were a bit down, while it was up a bit for Alex Okafor and Michael Danna.

Just as with the defensive ends, we saw decreases in usage among the front-line interior linemen, while the rest saw increases.


Data


Offense

Offense All Pass Run
Total 75
(100%)
50
(100%)
25
(100%)
Trey Smith 75
(100%)
50
(100%)
25
(100%)
Andrew Wylie 75
(100%)
50
(100%)
25
(100%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 72
(96%)
50
(100%)
22
(88%)
Creed Humphrey 72
(96%)
50
(100%)
22
(88%)
Patrick Mahomes 72
(96%)
50
(100%)
22
(88%)
Joe Thuney 72
(96%)
50
(100%)
22
(88%)
Travis Kelce 57
(76%)
41
(82%)
16
(64%)
Tyreek Hill 56
(75%)
41
(82%)
15
(60%)
Byron Pringle 45
(60%)
34
(68%)
11
(44%)
Darrel Williams 44
(59%)
30
(60%)
14
(56%)
Josh Gordon 32
(43%)
20
(40%)
12
(48%)
Demarcus Robinson 26
(35%)
23
(46%)
3
(12%)
Noah Gray 25
(33%)
15
(30%)
10
(40%)
Blake Bell 24
(32%)
7
(14%)
17
(68%)
Mecole Hardman 23
(31%)
17
(34%)
6
(24%)
Jerick McKinnon 20
(27%)
15
(30%)
5
(20%)
Derrick Gore 11
(15%)
5
(10%)
6
(24%)
Michael Burton 7
(9%)
1
(2%)
6
(24%)
Nick Allegretti 4
(5%)
1
(2%)
3
(12%)
Marcus Kemp 4
(5%)
0
(0%)
4
(16%)
Austin Blythe 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
3
(12%)
Chad Henne 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
3
(12%)
Prince Tega Wanogho 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
3
(12%)

Defense

Defense All Pass Run
Total 51
(100%)
37
(100%)
14
(100%)
Juan Thornhill 49
(96%)
36
(97%)
13
(93%)
Rashad Fenton 40
(78%)
34
(92%)
6
(43%)
L'Jarius Sneed 40
(78%)
26
(70%)
14
(100%)
Tyrann Mathieu 36
(71%)
23
(62%)
13
(93%)
Frank Clark 35
(69%)
26
(70%)
9
(64%)
Chris Jones 32
(63%)
24
(65%)
8
(57%)
Willie Gay Jr. 29
(57%)
16
(43%)
13
(93%)
Tershawn Wharton 27
(53%)
21
(57%)
6
(43%)
Jarran Reed 26
(51%)
19
(51%)
7
(50%)
Charvarius Ward 26
(51%)
15
(41%)
11
(79%)
Mike Hughes 24
(47%)
21
(57%)
3
(21%)
Daniel Sorensen 24
(47%)
22
(59%)
2
(14%)
Michael Danna 22
(43%)
18
(49%)
4
(29%)
Anthony Hitchens 22
(43%)
10
(27%)
12
(86%)
Ben Niemann 22
(43%)
21
(57%)
1
(7%)
Derrick Nnadi 22
(43%)
12
(32%)
10
(71%)
Melvin Ingram 20
(39%)
14
(38%)
6
(43%)
Alex Okafor 20
(39%)
14
(38%)
6
(43%)
Nick Bolton 19
(37%)
10
(27%)
9
(64%)
Armani Watts 15
(29%)
14
(38%)
1
(7%)
Chris Lammons 11
(22%)
11
(30%)
0
(0%)

Special Teams

Special Teams Snaps
Total 28
(100%)
Noah Gray 26
(93%)
Marcus Kemp 20
(71%)
Chris Lammons 20
(71%)
Ben Niemann 20
(71%)
Dorian O'Daniel 20
(71%)
Armani Watts 17
(61%)
Harrison Butker 16
(57%)
Mike Hughes 15
(54%)
Michael Burton 13
(46%)
Rashad Fenton 12
(43%)
Blake Bell 11
(39%)
Jerick McKinnon 11
(39%)
Tommy Townsend 10
(36%)
James Winchester 10
(36%)
Nick Allegretti 8
(29%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 8
(29%)
Creed Humphrey 8
(29%)
Byron Pringle 8
(29%)
Trey Smith 8
(29%)
Daniel Sorensen 8
(29%)
Joe Thuney 8
(29%)
Andrew Wylie 8
(29%)
L'Jarius Sneed 5
(18%)
Derrick Gore 3
(11%)
Nick Bolton 2
(7%)
Michael Danna 2
(7%)
Anthony Hitchens 2
(7%)
Derrick Nnadi 2
(7%)
Alex Okafor 2
(7%)
Tershawn Wharton 2
(7%)
Darrel Williams 2
(7%)
Mecole Hardman 1
(4%)

All Snaps

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 75
(100%)
51
(100%)
28
(100%)
154
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 4
(5%)
0
(0%)
8
(29%)
12
(8%)
Blake Bell 24
(32%)
0
(0%)
11
(39%)
35
(23%)
Austin Blythe 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
3
(2%)
Nick Bolton 0
(0%)
19
(37%)
2
(7%)
21
(14%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 72
(96%)
0
(0%)
8
(29%)
80
(52%)
Michael Burton 7
(9%)
0
(0%)
13
(46%)
20
(13%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
16
(57%)
16
(10%)
Frank Clark 0
(0%)
35
(69%)
0
(0%)
35
(23%)
Michael Danna 0
(0%)
22
(43%)
2
(7%)
24
(16%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
40
(78%)
12
(43%)
52
(34%)
Willie Gay Jr. 0
(0%)
29
(57%)
0
(0%)
29
(19%)
Josh Gordon 32
(43%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
32
(21%)
Derrick Gore 11
(15%)
0
(0%)
3
(11%)
14
(9%)
Noah Gray 25
(33%)
0
(0%)
26
(93%)
51
(33%)
Mecole Hardman 23
(31%)
0
(0%)
1
(4%)
24
(16%)
Chad Henne 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
3
(2%)
Tyreek Hill 56
(75%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
56
(36%)
Anthony Hitchens 0
(0%)
22
(43%)
2
(7%)
24
(16%)
Mike Hughes 0
(0%)
24
(47%)
15
(54%)
39
(25%)
Creed Humphrey 72
(96%)
0
(0%)
8
(29%)
80
(52%)
Melvin Ingram 0
(0%)
20
(39%)
0
(0%)
20
(13%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
32
(63%)
0
(0%)
32
(21%)
Travis Kelce 57
(76%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
57
(37%)
Marcus Kemp 4
(5%)
0
(0%)
20
(71%)
24
(16%)
Chris Lammons 0
(0%)
11
(22%)
20
(71%)
31
(20%)
Patrick Mahomes 72
(96%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
72
(47%)
Tyrann Mathieu 0
(0%)
36
(71%)
0
(0%)
36
(23%)
Jerick McKinnon 20
(27%)
0
(0%)
11
(39%)
31
(20%)
Ben Niemann 0
(0%)
22
(43%)
20
(71%)
42
(27%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
22
(43%)
2
(7%)
24
(16%)
Dorian O'Daniel 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
20
(71%)
20
(13%)
Alex Okafor 0
(0%)
20
(39%)
2
(7%)
22
(14%)
Byron Pringle 45
(60%)
0
(0%)
8
(29%)
53
(34%)
Jarran Reed 0
(0%)
26
(51%)
0
(0%)
26
(17%)
Demarcus Robinson 26
(35%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
26
(17%)
Trey Smith 75
(100%)
0
(0%)
8
(29%)
83
(54%)
L'Jarius Sneed 0
(0%)
40
(78%)
5
(18%)
45
(29%)
Daniel Sorensen 0
(0%)
24
(47%)
8
(29%)
32
(21%)
Juan Thornhill 0
(0%)
49
(96%)
0
(0%)
49
(32%)
Joe Thuney 72
(96%)
0
(0%)
8
(29%)
80
(52%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
10
(36%)
10
(6%)
Prince Tega Wanogho 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
3
(2%)
Charvarius Ward 0
(0%)
26
(51%)
0
(0%)
26
(17%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
15
(29%)
17
(61%)
32
(21%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
27
(53%)
2
(7%)
29
(19%)
Darrel Williams 44
(59%)
0
(0%)
2
(7%)
46
(30%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
10
(36%)
10
(6%)
Andrew Wylie 75
(100%)
0
(0%)
8
(29%)
83
(54%)

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