On Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Rams to extend their season record to 8-2. The 26-10 victory was spearheaded by another exceptional effort from the Kansas City defense, which forced two turnovers and held the Los Angeles offense to only 198 total yards. Second-year linebacker Nick Bolton led the Chiefs with 11 tackles and one interception during the team’s fifth straight victory.
“I feel like we tackled pretty good today,” Bolton told reporters after the game. “Down the stretch, we were able to tackle well and force them to throw checkdowns — especially when they needed points at the end.
“We stopped the run. We had one explosive run — I believe [it was] 38 yards. [We] could have stopped that one; [we’ve] got to tackle better on that play. But other than that, [I] feel like our front played pretty good — and our secondary covered very well.”
Bolton once again played at a high level on Sunday, carrying the momentum from his 14-tackle, one-interception performance during the team’s 30-27 defeat of the Los Angeles Chargers a week ago. His interception late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s matchup essentially iced the game, giving Kansas City’s offense the opportunity to run down the clock past the two-minute warning.
Fill in the blank: Nick Bolton is a top-___ LB in the NFL.— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) November 28, 2022
But Bolton wanted to give credit to others — particularly defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
“I kind of feel like our d-line did a hell of a job again today, generating pressure and getting their hands up,” Bolton said of the play. “Shout out to ‘Los! On that pick, that was basically 75% him [and] 25% me. I give him credit on that one.”
The turnovers have been the only thing missing from the surging Kansas City defense. Following its Week 8 bye — and despite solid defensive performances — the team failed to force any turnovers for two straight games. But in the past two weeks, the defense has accumulated four turnovers — three of them interceptions that Bolton credits to simply being more focused when there are opportunities to make plays.
“We’re just catching the balls that come to us,” noted Bolton. “We had a couple early in the year that we just dropped, so we just kind of made a focus on that — and just get the ones they give us. [We want to] execute down the stretch and try to get our hands on as many footballs as we can.”
Bolton’s impact on Sunday (and over the course of the season) has caught the attention of head coach Andy Reid.
“His ability to tackle in tight areas — and then also in the field, I think — is big,” observed the coach. “He’ll tell you that it helps to have a good defensive line, too. But he’s definitely having an All-Pro-type season. He’s [a] heck of a football player.”
Despite his performance, Bolton — like many others on the Chiefs’ roster — knows that there is always room for improvement.
“We’re still not where we want to be,” he said. “We’re still going every single day, trying to be the best version of ourselves. [We’re going to] come back in on Tuesday and go back to work.”