Chiefs-Chargers snap matters: Nick Bolton and Wille Gay Jr. take control of midfield

The Kansas City Chiefs came back to win 27-24 on the Los Angeles Chargers Thursday night football.

Let’s see how the Chiefs used their players in this AFC West showdown.


Beginners (offensive): WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, TE Travis Kelce, LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Andrew Wylie, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, QB Patrick Mahomes, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire and WR Mecole Hard man.

Starters (defensive): DE George Karlaftis, DT Derrick Nnadi, DT Chris Jones, DE Frank Clark, LB Nick Bolton, LB Willie Gay Jr., CB Jaylen Watson, CB L’Jarius Sneed, CB Rashad Fenton, S Juan Thornhill and S Justin Reid.

Did not play: QB Chad Henne.

Idle: RB Ronald Jones, K Harrison Butker, QB Shane Buechele, LB Jack Cochrane, DE Joshua Kaindoh, T Darian Kinnard and DE Malik Herring.

Offense All Pass To run
Total 54
(100%)
36
(100%)
18
(100%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 54
(100%)
36
(100%)
18
(100%)
Humphrey’s Creed 54
(100%)
36
(100%)
18
(100%)
Patrick Mahomes 54
(100%)
36
(100%)
18
(100%)
Trey Smith 54
(100%)
36
(100%)
18
(100%)
Joe Thuney 54
(100%)
36
(100%)
18
(100%)
Andrew Wylie 54
(100%)
36
(100%)
18
(100%)
Travis Kelce 48
(89%)
35
(97%)
13
(72%)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 42
(78%)
31
(86%)
11
(61%)
Ju Ju Smith Schuster 40
(74%)
29
(81%)
11
(61%)
Mecole Hardman 28
(52%)
19
(53%)
9
(50%)
Gray Noah 27
(50%)
17
(47%)
ten
(56%)
Jerick McKinnon 26
(48%)
19
(53%)
seven
(39%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 23
(43%)
14
(39%)
9
(50%)
justin watson 14
(26%)
8
(22%)
6
(33%)
Michael Burton seven
(13%)
1
(3%)
6
(33%)
Jody Fortson 6
(11%)
4
(11%)
2
(11%)
Isiah Pacheco 5
(9%)
3
(8%)
2
(11%)
Nick Allegretti 2
(4%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
Skyy Moore 2
(4%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)

Offensive takeaways

  • As usual, starting offensive linemen Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith and Andrew Wylie were on hand for all the offensive snaps. Nick Allegretti came on as the sixth lineman for a few plays.
  • The Chiefs continued to operate their running backs as a group; none of them got the majority of the snaps. Jerick McKinnon was more favored on passing games than Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Without a big lead in the fourth quarter, Isiah Pacheco’s utilization fell below 10%.
  • This was also in the narrow end use. Tight end Travis Kelce was back to his usual usage around 90% snaps, while Jody Fortson’s reps were also around 10%.
  • The team clearly sees wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster as the main players in the group, followed by Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson. Rookie Skyy Moore only had two offensive snaps.
  • In Week 1, Kansas City emphasized running games a bit more than what we usually see. But in this game, they were back to a more familiar ratio: 67% passing and 33% running.

Defense All Pass To run
Total 74
(100%)
50
(100%)
24
(100%)
Justin Reid 74
(100%)
50
(100%)
24
(100%)
The Jarius Sneed 74
(100%)
50
(100%)
24
(100%)
Rashad Fenton 72
(97%)
49
(98%)
23
(96%)
John Thornhill 72
(97%)
48
(96%)
24
(100%)
Nick Bolton 71
(96%)
49
(98%)
22
(92%)
Willie Gay Jr. 68
(92%)
44
(88%)
24
(100%)
Georges Karlaftis 58
(78%)
41
(82%)
17
(71%)
Chris Jones 55
(74%)
40
(80%)
15
(63%)
Jaylen Watson 50
(68%)
39
(78%)
11
(46%)
Frank Clark 48
(65%)
37
(74%)
11
(46%)
Michael Dana 35
(47%)
21
(42%)
14
(58%)
Derrick Nnadi 35
(47%)
21
(42%)
14
(58%)
Tershawn Wharton 32
(43%)
22
(44%)
ten
(42%)
Leo Chenal 22
(30 %)
ten
(20%)
12
(50%)
Khalen Saunders 21
(28%)
11
(22%)
ten
(42%)
Carlos Dunlap 16
(22%)
9
(18%)
seven
(29%)
Bryan Cook 6
(8%)
6
(12%)
0
(0%)
Darius Harris 3
(4%)
1
(2%)
2
(8%)
Deon Bush 2
(3%)
2
(4%)
0
(0%)

Defensive takeaways

  • With a competitive game to the end, we saw what we normally see: L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton, Justin Reid and Juan Thornhill were on hand for virtually every defensive snap. Jaylen Watson was the fifth cornerback for 68% of the snaps. Just like in Week 1, there were only a handful of games with a third safety; Bryan Cook and Deon Bush combined for about 10% of shots.
  • Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. were each in more than 90% of defensive snaps, while Leo Chenal had 30% – mostly against the run – and Darius Harris had 4%. Elijah Lee played exclusively on special teams. So it looks like Kansas City is leaning towards a 4-2-5 alignment as a true base defense.
  • Rookie defensive end George Karlaftis and defensive tackle Chris Jones again led the defense in moments. The numbers suggest that in general Carlos Dunlap replaces Karlaftis and Khalen Saunders replaces Jones on downhills. But as always, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s constant changes on the line keep us — and opposing offenses — guessing.
  • Along these lines, Focus on professional football reports that against the Chargers, Jones continued to line up on the edge for a few snaps. Thursday was about one in five games. That’s well below the outdoor use we’ve seen ahead of 2021’s EDGE experience; these days, Spagnuolo is most keep Jones at home. But defensive Tershawn Wharton is starting to see significant use on the outside. PFF said that in about one in three of Thursday’s snaps, Wharton was on edge.

Special teams snaps
Total 32
(100%)
Deon Bush 27
(84%)
Elijah Lee 27
(84%)
Chris Lamons 25
(78%)
Bryan Cook 21
(66%)
Michael Burton 17
(53%)
Darius Harris 17
(53%)
Gray Noah 16
(50%)
Leo Chenal 15
(47%)
Jody Fortson 15
(47%)
Joshua Williams 12
(38%)
Tommy Townsend 11
(34%)
James Winchester 11
(34%)
Matt Amendola 11
(34%)
DiCaprio Bootle 11
(34%)
Isiah Pacheco ten
(31%)
justin watson ten
(31%)
Skyy Moore seven
(22%)
Nick Bolton 6
(19%)
Georges Karlaftis 6
(19%)
Jerick McKinnon 6
(19%)
The Jarius Sneed 6
(19%)
Tershawn Wharton 6
(19%)
Nick Allegretti 5
(16%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 5
(16%)
Geron Christian 5
(16%)
Michael Dana 5
(16%)
Humphrey’s Creed 5
(16%)
Trey Smith 5
(16%)
Prince Tega Wanogho 5
(16%)
Andrew Wylie 5
(16%)
Derrick Nnadi 4
(13%)
Justin Reid 4
(13%)
Jaylen Watson 4
(13%)
Rashad Fenton 2
(6%)
Willie Gay Jr. 2
(6%)
John Thornhill 2
(6%)
Khalen Saunders 1
(3%)

All shots Stopped Def ST Total
Total 54
(100%)
74
(100%)
32
(100%)
160
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 2
(4%)
0
(0%)
5
(16%)
seven
(4%)
Nick Bolton 0
(0%)
71
(96%)
6
(19%)
77
(48%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 54
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(16%)
59
(37%)
Michael Burton seven
(13%)
0
(0%)
17
(53%)
24
(15%)
Deon Bush 0
(0%)
2
(3%)
27
(84%)
29
(18%)
Leo Chenal 0
(0%)
22
(30 %)
15
(47%)
37
(23%)
Geron Christian 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(16%)
5
(3%)
Frank Clark 0
(0%)
48
(65%)
0
(0%)
48
(30 %)
Bryan Cook 0
(0%)
6
(8%)
21
(66%)
27
(17%)
Michael Dana 0
(0%)
35
(47%)
5
(16%)
40
(25%)
Carlos Dunlap 0
(0%)
16
(22%)
0
(0%)
16
(ten%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 23
(43%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
23
(14%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
72
(97%)
2
(6%)
74
(46%)
Jody Fortson 6
(11%)
0
(0%)
15
(47%)
21
(13%)
Willie Gay Jr. 0
(0%)
68
(92%)
2
(6%)
70
(44%)
Gray Noah 27
(50%)
0
(0%)
16
(50%)
43
(27%)
Mecole Hardman 28
(52%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
28
(18%)
Darius Harris 0
(0%)
3
(4%)
17
(53%)
20
(13%)
Humphrey’s Creed 54
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(16%)
59
(37%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
55
(74%)
0
(0%)
55
(34%)
Georges Karlaftis 0
(0%)
58
(78%)
6
(19%)
64
(40%)
Travis Kelce 48
(89%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
48
(30 %)
Chris Lamons 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
25
(78%)
25
(16%)
Elijah Lee 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
27
(84%)
27
(17%)
Patrick Mahomes 54
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
54
(34%)
Jerick McKinnon 26
(48%)
0
(0%)
6
(19%)
32
(20%)
Skyy Moore 2
(4%)
0
(0%)
seven
(22%)
9
(6%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
35
(47%)
4
(13%)
39
(24%)
Isiah Pacheco 5
(9%)
0
(0%)
ten
(31%)
15
(9%)
Justin Reid 0
(0%)
74
(100%)
4
(13%)
78
(49%)
Khalen Saunders 0
(0%)
21
(28%)
1
(3%)
22
(14%)
Trey Smith 54
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(16%)
59
(37%)
Ju Ju Smith Schuster 40
(74%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
40
(25%)
The Jarius Sneed 0
(0%)
74
(100%)
6
(19%)
80
(50%)
John Thornhill 0
(0%)
72
(97%)
2
(6%)
74
(46%)
Joe Thuney 54
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
54
(34%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(34%)
11
(seven%)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 42
(78%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
42
(26%)
Prince Tega Wanogho 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(16%)
5
(3%)
Jaylen Watson 0
(0%)
50
(68%)
4
(13%)
54
(34%)
justin watson 14
(26%)
0
(0%)
ten
(31%)
24
(15%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
32
(43%)
6
(19%)
38
(24%)
Joshua Williams 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
12
(38%)
12
(8%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(34%)
11
(seven%)
Andrew Wylie 54
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(16%)
59
(37%)
Matt Amendola 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(34%)
11
(seven%)
DiCaprio Bootle 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(34%)
11
(seven%)

Editor’s Note: Arrowhead Pride obtains data on the number of snaps from game statistics and the NFL information system, which allows us to break down the number of snaps per run or pass offensive and defensive plays. Since GSIS data ignores games that have been canceled by penalties, the total number of offensive and defensive snaps will vary from other sources, which get their data from NFL Gamebooks

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