What else can be said about the instant classic that was the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills game in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs?
Each team put together elite offensive performances, but in this post, we are going to dive further into the pass-protection film to see how the Chiefs handled one of the best defensive units in the trenches.
First true pass pro rep of the game, Brown works Addison around the pocket but Mahomes still has to step up where he avoids a couple more with help from Thuney & Creed (interesting technique from 52) pic.twitter.com/ZDojD4TdPN— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 25, 2022
Things got off to a somewhat rocky start with Patrick Mahomes feeling pressure behind him from Mario Addison and he avoids some interior pressure before flicking it to running back Jerick McKinnon.
Left tackle Orlando Brown had himself a day, and this was actually one of the worst plays from him, and it isn’t that bad of a rep. Right tackle Andrew Wylie starts out helping on Ed Oliver with right guard Trey Smith, but he peels off to pick up Jerry Hughes who was chipped by tight end Travis Kelce.
Wylie actually gets a pretty good pop on Hughes. The play was a great precursor to a game filled with impressive pass protection and pocket mobility by the quarterback.
Trey Smith and Harrison Phillips getting after each other, some interior pressure is felt so Mahomes maneuvers to avoid it, his pocket mobility was key to victory against the Bills pic.twitter.com/Mu9aGuYhDL— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 25, 2022
The Bills present a lot of talent and depth along their defensive line.
Harrison Phillips is a solid defensive tackle who went at it with the Chiefs' highly-regarded rookie right guard. Smith had his hands full with the 300-pounder, and you see here he gives up some ground as he gets bull rushed. Smith stays in front, however, preventing a sack.
Wylie’s focus is initially on Phillips, but he has to recalibrate when he sees Gregory Rousseau coming, and he never really gets any leverage. Brown isn’t struggling at all on the left; he really matched up well with the Bills.
Some more pocket presence from Mahomes, Creed helps double with Trey but then helps Thuney, great awareness by him to not leave the middle open, Brown ends up giving up inside leverage which forces the scramble, Bills DL is deep and talented, this was a battle all game long pic.twitter.com/wcv54bJQ7X— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 25, 2022
Mahomes aided in his own pass protection by maneuvering around to keep plays alive and help his offensive line sustain blocks. Here, we see him using his legs to avoid pressure coming from his left due to Brown getting beat to the inside.
Creed Humphrey is so good at maintaining control in one A-gap while keeping visual on the opposite A-gap. You can see him transition his contact from one defensive line to the other, keeping the middle protected.
Andrew Wylie’s jab attempt gets swatted by rookie Gregory Rousseau, he gets a free run at Mahomes who drifts left to give himself more time, Trey Smith’s footwork in this rep shows how far he has come this season as a pass blocker pic.twitter.com/sWAjuv0d9B— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 25, 2022
I love the improvement you can see in Smith’s footwork. That was something he needed to improve on as he struggled to maintain his balance early on in the season. He does a great job, however, against Star Lotulelei with staying in front and never stops moving his feet, keeping him his man from getting anywhere near Mahomes.
Wylie is getting exposed a bit here, his initial jab into Rousseau’s chest is batted down as he is able to turn the corner on the Chiefs' right tackle. Mahomes fades away from the pressure and gets the pass off in time.
The OL gives Mahomes all kinds of time here, nobody open so Mahomes handles it himself, really nice on the right side of the line to pass off Hughes and Phillips on their stunt, zero penetration allowed from Thuney and Brown pic.twitter.com/DbCSXdEi11— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 25, 2022
This is a great example of how good the whole offensive line was against Buffalo.
The right side of the line keeps the stunt from being effective, passing the two Bills’ defenders amongst each other to maintain control. Brown and Thuney are winning one-on-ones on the left side. This provides great protection for Mahomes, who has plenty of time but eventually has to utilize his legs.
Brown handles the speed rush well but disengages too soon and Wylie absorbs the power rush just enough to allow Mahomes to escape out pic.twitter.com/FAB0mpvenV— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 26, 2022
Brown has total control over his defender but releases his grasp too soon, forcing Mahomes to bail out to the right. Wylie is trying his best to absorb the power rush and in the end, he does his job. His man is on the ground, and Mahomes isn’t. The Bills only rush three, leaving Addison to spy.
Excellent pass pro from all five up front, especially good rep from Brown pic.twitter.com/INAi8xRMtF— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 26, 2022
There is quite literally a red-colored wall in front of No. 15.
He has all kinds of protection, so he can survey the field, but the Bills pass coverage is ranked first for a reason. Brown has one of his best plays of the year here, allowing zero pressure from Addison, eventually putting his face in the Arrowhead grass which essentially takes out Lotulelei as well. Even with the time, Mahomes still has to scramble, which is indicative of how good the coverage was.
Now, watch these next two plays back to back:
Milano’s effort here led to 1 of the 2 sacks allowed by KC, 58 in white starts over the Thuney, waits a count before wrapping around to the right where he slips but still grabs the ankle of Mahomes on a second effort, Trey Smith sees it too late but still makes some contact pic.twitter.com/Eu4JeNVxuM— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 26, 2022
Now this one:
Trey Smith gets too caught up with the DT and leaves the B gap open for Rousseau, the same design as the Milano sack, both times it caused problems for the OL pic.twitter.com/sKzCS2woF3— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 26, 2022
See how the Bills use the same blitz to get after Mahomes. Both times, they work, but only once did a sack happen. Milano delays his rush by a count and then wraps around from the left all the way to the right tackle. In the first one, the Chiefs fail to pick up Milano, who slips but is still able to take Mahomes down by his ankle. Smith does try and recover late — but to no avail.
The exact same approach takes place in the second clip: this time, the B-gap is exposed and Rousseau is freed up. Mahomes sees it and is able to avoid it by sprinting out to the right and eventually gets the ball out. This is something that offensive line coach Andy Heck must have his line prepared for moving forward.
Brown had a lot of good reps against the Bills, one of his better performances as a Chief pic.twitter.com/i7klHi1fvc— Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34) January 26, 2022
We can end it with a positive play — another good rep from Brown in what was arguably his career game as a Chiefs’ lineman. The interior of the offensive line is as good as any other three in the league, and the tackles did their jobs efficiently as well. The Bills presented such a challenge, but it was met by all five up front.
The bottom line
The Chiefs get another revenge opportunity in this year’s playoffs.
With the Cincinnati Bengals up next in the AFC Championship, the Chiefs can avenge their loss that occurred to the Bengals back in Week 17. Kansas City lost the No. 1 seed that day, but in the end, the Chiefs still got home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Bengals defense presents a different challenge, but remember, Brown was hurt in pregame warmups the last time. Joe Thuney had a stellar game, but now it's time for Brown to build on the momentum he started against the Bills.