Snap Counts: Mexico City Altitude Takes Toll on Chiefs' Defense

Matt Derrick

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs overcame both the Los Angeles Chargers and the altitude of Mexico City in walking out of Estadio Azteca with a 24-17 win Monday night, but the game conditions dictated some change in the team's personnel usage.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he didn't feel the altitude too much, but he saw the effects in other players.

“We're definitely high up there,” Mahomes said. “I saw guys that were getting a little tired there, but they fought through it and found a way to get a win.”

Offense 68 snaps

Quarterback

Patrick Mahomes 68 (100 percent)

Mahomes took a hit on his right knee, but after the game dismissed that it had any lasting impact. The quarterback also scrambled for a career-high 59 rushing yards, showing his mobility for the first time since suffering the dislocated kneecap in Week 7. Matt Moore was the only active player who didn't see the field against the Chargers.

Running Back

Darrel Williams 29 (43 percent)

LeSean McCoy 27 (40 percent)

Damien Williams 12 (18 percent)

Anthony Sherman 9 (13 percent)

Darrel Williams finished as the team's lead back in closing out the game with Damien Williams (rib) and McCoy (concussion protocol) exiting with injuries. Their availability will loom as a question mark when the Chiefs return after the bye week. Sherman saw a bit more action than usual taking a few tight end snaps with Blake Bell out of the lineup.

Tight End

Travis Kelce 65 (96 percent)

Deon Yelder 30 (44 percent)

The absence of Bell with an ankle injury didn't deter the Chiefs from deploying their 12 personnel (one running back with two tight ends) about 40 percent of the time, close to their season average. Yelder saw his first substantial playing time of the season Monday night filling in for Bell.

Wide Receiver

Sammy Watkins 56 (82 percent)

Mecole Hardman 52 (76 percent)

Demarcus Robinson 39 (57 percent)

Byron Pringle 11 (16 percent)

Tyreek Hill 7 (10 percent)

Gehrig Dieter 3 (4 percent)

Hill's departure with a hamstring injury after the first offensive series meant more snaps for Hardman, who played his most offensive snaps since playing 55 against Oakland in Week 2. The Chiefs promoted Dieter from the practice squad ahead of Monday night's game, and he saw the field in limited action on offense.

Offensive Line

Eric Fisher 68 (100 percent)

Andrew Wylie 68 (100 percent)

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif 68 (100 percent)

Mitchell Schwartz 68 (100 percent)

Austin Reiter 61 (90 percent)

Stefen Wisniewski 7 (10 percent)

Reiter briefly left the game for a concussion evaluation but later returned to the contest. Wisniewski filled in at center during his absence. Fisher and Duvernay-Tardif stood up well in their return from injuries, and Schwartz also played a full game after suffering a left knee injury last week.

Defense 80 snaps

Defensive Line

Frank Clark 69 (86 percent)

Tanoh Kpassagnon 65 (81 percent)

Chris Jones 63 (79 percent)

Derrick Nnadi 41 (51 percent)

Joey Ivie 27 (34 percent)

Khalen Saunders 24 (30 percent)

Mike Pennel 23 (29 percent)

The altitude didn't stop the Chiefs from running out Clark, Kpassagnon and Jones the majority of the night, although that seemed to show its strain in the fourth quarter. Clark and Kpassagnon set new season highs for snaps played while Jones matched his season high of 63 against Detroit in Week 4. Clark delievered a few of the team's biggest plays, particularly playing a role in forcing two of the defense's four interceptions. Ivie led the backups off the bench, largely due to the Chiefs' emphasis on getting after Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Pennel picked up his first sack with Kansas City and the second of his NFL career.

Linebacker

Anthony Hitchens 51 (64 percent)

Damien Wilson 44 (55 percent)

Ben Niemann 29 (36 percent)

Reggie Ragland 17 (21 percent)

The Chiefs rotated more at linebacker than any other position on Monday night. Their reliance on nickel and dime sets also meant the club went with two linebackers the majority of the game. Darron Lee has become a non-factor on defense, making this his fourth-straight game without a defensive snap.

Cornerback

Charvarius Ward 65 (81 percent)

Bashaud Breeland 63 (79 percent)

Morris Claiborne 32 (40 percent)

Rashad Fenton 30 (38 percent)

The Chiefs typically platoon Breelandand Claiborne, but Ward had played every snap in the last three games heading into Monday. The Chiefs played predominantly with three safeties, but they also brought in Fenton to cover the slot more than a third of the time.

Safety

Juan Thornhill 80 (100 percent)

Tyrann Mathieu 77 (96 percent)

Daniel Sorensen 71 (89 percent)

Jordan Lucas 6 (8 percent)

Armani Watts 3 (4 percent)

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo didn't give his safeties much time to rest, playing a three-safety coverage most of the night against Rivers. The Chargers still found holes in the secondary for their running backs, with Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon combining for 11 catches for 129 yards. But Sorensen made one of the biggest plays at the end with his game-sealing interception.

Special Teams 27 snaps

Offense: Sherman 19 (70 percent), Pringle 18 (67 percent), Dar. Williams 14 (52 percent), Hardman 12 (44 percent), Yelder 11 (41 percent), Dieter 10 (37 percent), Robinson 6 (22 percent), Wylie 4 (15 percent), Duvernay-Tardif 4 (15 percent), Fisher 4 (15 percent), 4 (15 percent), Reiter 3 (11 percent) and Schwartz 1 (4 percent)

Defense: Niemann 23 (85 percent), Watts 20 (74 percent), Sorensen 18 (67 percent), Fenton 10 (37 percent), Lucas 8 (30 percent), Thornhill 5 (19 percent), Ward 8 (30 percent), Kpassagnon 4 (15 percent), Jones 4 (15 percent), Hitchens 4 (15 percent), Nnadi 4 (15 percent) and Pennel 4 (15 percent)

Teams Only: Dorian O'Daniel 23 (85 percent), Darron Lee 19 (70 percent), Dustin Colquitt 10 (37 percent), James Winchester 10 (37 percent), Harrison Butker 9 (33 percent) and Cam Erving 4 (15 percent)

Sorensen played big-time duty with 89 total snaps at altitude, followed by Thornhill with 85. Niemann, O'Daniel and Lee in particular took on more duties than normal against the Chargers, likely in an effort to put more of the special teams stress on backups and lessen the workload for others. Yelder played a season-high 11 special teams snaps in place of Bell.

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