The Kansas City Chiefs' first game of the season ended in an epic comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns and while the offense fueled the second-half scoring rampage, it was the defense that stepped up in a major way. Defensive lineman Chris Jones was a huge reason why.
In all, the Browns outgained the Chiefs in total yards by a 457 to 397 margin. They more than doubled the Chiefs' rushing total and were moving the ball through the air with ease for several stretches of the contest. Kevin Stefanski's offense played one heck of a game. Still, Jones was able to break through a seemingly impenetrable offensive line and record a pair of sacks.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield's final stat line didn't do his game justice. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 321 yards but failed to score a single touchdown, then threw an interception to all but seal the game in favor of the Chiefs. For nearly the entire afternoon, though, he was laser-sharp with his throws and navigated the pocket very well. With that said, Jones did manage to find ways to make his life difficult. After the game, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid praised Jones' performance.
"I'm not sure I've seen a defensive lineman take over like Chris Jones did in that second half," Reid said. "He was possessed out there, just unreal — the job he did."
Reid also mentioned his players being in great shape, which ultimately helped them remain somewhat fresh and come on strong late in the game. Jones, who lost nearly 20 pounds during the offseason, is no different. As he transitions from a full-time defensive tackle position to a hybrid defensive end-interior lineman role, adjustments will need to be made. According to Jones, some of those occurred at halftime.
"I just got settled," Jones said. "In the first half, they gave me a lot of play-action and ran away from me. I got in the locker room at halftime and made a few adjustments with Spags (defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo), got settled down and was able to play my game."
Jones brought up that the entire Chiefs defense took longer than necessary to get comfortable. Spagnuolo's unit was missing star safety Tyrann Mathieu and defensive end Frank Clark, so leadership from Jones was critical in him and his peers turning things around. As the Chiefs prepare for another tough matchup in Week 2 against a potent Baltimore Ravens offense, another breakout performance might be needed.