Snap Counts: Long Drives Help Texans Wear Down Chiefs' Defense
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Houston Texans used six drives of 10 plays or more to wear down the Chiefs on Sunday, taking 92 offensive snaps in a 31-24 win at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Texans controlled the ball for nearly 40 minutes in Sunday's victory, including more than 24 minutes in the second half. The Chiefs ran just 16 offensive plays in three second-half possessions, include a pair of three and outs with 2 net yards in the fourth quarter.
Linebacker Ben Niemann played 103 total snaps including 90 plays on defense and 13 special teams snaps.
Offense 58 snaps
Patrick Mahomes 58 (100 percent)
LeSean McCoy 29 (50 percent)
Damien Williams 22 (38 percent)
Darrel Williams 7 (12 percent)
Anthony Sherman 1 (2 percent)
McCoy received 10 touches in 29 snaps, but otherwise the Chiefs seemed to ignore the running back position when McCoy wasn't on the field. Damien Williams and Darrel Williams received just three touches in their combined 29 snaps, despite the pair of Williams backs generating 72 yards in those three plays. Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy say the shift away from the run game resulted from run-pass options plays tilting toward the aerial attack, but that reliance on the passing game played a key factor in the lopsided loss in the time of possession battle.
Travis Kelce 56 (97 percent)
Blake Bell 21 (36 percent)
Deon Yelder 1 (2 percent)
The Chiefs frequently pair Kelce and Bell together in two-tight end sets, but rarely for the purpose of providing blocking help along the offensive line. Bell's 21 snaps are a season low, but he's ranged between 33 to 49 percent of the team's plays through the first six weeks of the season. Yelder has played just 12 offensive snaps in four games.
Demarcus Robinson 50 (86 percent)
Byron Pringle 34 (59 percent)
Mecole Hardman 32 (55 percent)
Tyreek Hill 29 (50 percent)
De'Anthony Thomas 8 (14 percent)
Hill was on a snap count in his first game back from injury, but he proved productive in his 29 snaps with five catches on 10 targets for 80 yards and two scores. The Chiefs offense was more productive with Hill on the field, underscoring the need to get him back to a full workload in reigniting the Chiefs' offense. Hardman averages 44 snaps per game through the first six weeks, but Pringle took more snaps than Hardman in each of the last two games.
Cam Erving 58 (100 percent)
Martinas Rankin 58 (100 percent)
Austin Reiter 58 (100 percent)
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif 58 (100 percent)
Mitchell Schwartz 58 (100 percent)
Rankin earned his first start with the Chiefs since coming over in the trade with the Texas for Carlos Hyde following the preseason. He had played just one snap on the season as a sixth linemen in last week game against Indianapolis. With the Chiefs facing a short week visiting Denver on Thursday, Rankin may get another start with Andrew Wylie expected to miss one more game with an ankle injury and Stefen Wisniewski still picking up the offense.
Defense 92 snaps
Derrick Nnadi 76 (83 percent)
Akex Okafor 65 (71 percent)
Frank Clark 64 (70 percent)
Khalen Saunders 55 (60 percent)
Emmanuel Ogbah 44 (48 percent)
Tanoh Kpassagnon 40 (43 percent)
Terrell McClain 26 (28 percent)
Injuries have left a short bench for the Chiefs, as evidence by new free agent signing McClain pressed into duty for 26 snaps. McClain average almost 29 snaps per game last season with Atlanta. Nnadi's 76 snaps are a career high, eclipsing the 62 snaps he played against the Colts. Okafor's 65 snaps are the most he's played in a game since he saw 66 plays in Week 1 of the 2015 season with Arizona. The Chiefs don't appear to have reinforcements coming soon along the defensive line, so it's dependent upon the offense to help the defense out by controlling the ball and running some clocks in the weeks ahead.
Ben Niemann 90 (98 percent)
Damien Wilson 80 (87 percent)
Darron Lee 45 (49 percent)
Reggie Ragland 7 (8 percent)
Niemann played all of 63 snaps last season as a rookie, and now he's played 70 and 90 snaps the last two weeks filling in for injured Anthony Hitchens. The Chiefs are more comfortable with Niemann as their quarterback on defense calling the plays with Hitchens out. Fitting with Sunday's theme, Wilson's 80 snaps represent the biggest workload of his career, eclipsing the 75 snaps he played in the season finale for Dallas in 2016.
Charvarius Ward 82 (89 percent)
Bashaud Breeland 69 (75 percent)
Kendall Fuller 34 (37 percent)
Morris Claiborne 33 (36 percent)
Rashad Fenton 6 (7 percent)
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said last week he planned to rotate Claiborne in at cornerback, and he stuck to the plan against the Texans, giving both Ward and Breeland the occasional breather. When Fuller exited with a thumb injury, Fenton saw his first defensive action of the season in the slot. The Chiefs view Ward, Breeland and Claiborne as outside guys and project Fenton as a nickel back, so don't be surprised if the fills in for Fuller if the thumb injury keeps him out of action.
Tyrann Mathieu 92 (100 percent)
Juan Thornhill 80 (87 percent)
Dan Sorensen 22 (24 percent)
Jordan Lucas 2 (2 percent)
Mathieu was the only Chiefs defender to play all 92 snaps against the Texans, and he's been a true ironman in missing only one snap all season. It's the third-straight week Sorensen played 22 snaps, but this week he mixed in a bit more in relief for Thornhill rather than as a dime safety in the box. Lucas has played just eight snaps on defense this season.
Special Teams 23 snaps
Offense: Bell 18 (78 percent), Sherman 18 (78 percent), Thomas 16 (70 percent), Dar. Williams 11 (48 percent), Darwin Thompson 11 (48 percent), Rankin 5 (22 percent), Reiter 5 (22 percent), Duvernay-Tardif 5 (22 percent), Schwartz 5 (22 percent), Stefen Wisniewski 5 (22 percent), Nick Allegretti 5 (22 percent), Hardman 2 (9 percent) and Pringle 1 (4 percent).
Defense: Sorensen 18 (78 percent), Lucas 17 (74 percent), Niemann 13 (57 percent), Armani Watts 13 (57 percent), Lee 13 (57 percent), Fenton 13 (57 percent), Ragland 10 (43 percent), Ward 5 (22 percent), Nnadi 5 (22 percent), Okafor 5 (22 percent), Ogbah 5 (22 percent) and Kpassagnon 5 (22 percent).
Teams Only: Harrison Butker 10 (43 percent), James Winchester 7 (30 percent), Dustin Colquitt 7 (30 percent).
Sixth-round pick Allegretti made his regular-season debut as a blocker on special teams. Watts has yet to play on defense this season, but he's fourth on the team in special teams snaps with 102.