The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-17 on Sunday, and it was a total team effort.
On offense, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the way with a whopping four passing touchdowns and was efficient all afternoon long. With the help of a solid performance from the rushing attack, Kansas City was a well-oiled machine. Defensively, Steve Spagnuolo's unit got after Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence multiple times and held standout running back Travis Etienne to just 45 rushing yards. The Chiefs' depth and high-end talent alike were tested at home, and tons of players contributed to the win.
Now that snap counts have been released (courtesy of the NFL Game Statistics & Information System), what jumped off the page? Let's take a look at three notable takeaways from another week of Chiefs football.
1. Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are trending in opposite directions
The Chiefs committed to rookie Isiah Pacheco as their starter in the backfield prior to their Week 7 game against the San Francisco 49ers, but it wasn't until Week 10 that the seventh-round pick made his mark. On a season-high 16 carries, the former Rutgers running back amassed 82 yards on the ground for an average of 5.1 yards per carry. In the process, Pacheco paced the running back group with 35 snaps. Veteran Jerick McKinnon logged 24, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire totaling...
Four. It was the first time in his career that the former first-round pick had a single-digit snap count in a game. After logging 28 snaps in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills, Edwards-Helaire saw the field just 17 times in each of the next two games before bottoming out against Jacksonville. Head coach Andy Reid takes pride in the team having three capable running backs in the stable, but the rise of Pacheco and the steady continuation of McKinnon appears to have made Edwards-Helaire something resembling an odd man out. As always, how Kansas City splits up its workshare in the backfield will be worth following for the rest of the year.
2. A look at the receiver room without Mecole Hardman
In the absence of Mecole Hardman (abdominal injury), the Chiefs were expected to allow Justin Watson, Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney to see the field more often. While that was certainly the case, it was Watson who got an intensive workload (46 snaps, 73% of available opportunities). Moore's 16 snaps were nothing special, but Toney saw a 19-snap increase from game one as a Chief to game two. In his 28 plays, despite not coming close to Watson's total, he made a bigger impact than anyone in the wide receiver room.
Targeted five times, Toney hauled in four passes for 57 yards and also had 33 yards on the ground as well. The 2021 first-round pick was excellent in relief of Hardman, seeing more plays drawn up for him on offense and also making out-of-structure things happen in the process. It remains to be seen what the split will return to once Hardman returns but if Sunday's game was any indication, it could be Toney seeing a consistent amount of snaps whereas Watson and Moore possibly get their totals cut into.
3. No Frank Clark? No problem
The Chiefs will get Frank Clark back for their Sunday Night Football showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers, although his fellow defensive ends were very productive without him in Week 10. Veteran Carlos Dunlap, in particular, stood out the most. In a season-high 48 snaps (75% of the defense's total), the late-July free agent signing recorded half a sack to give him 100 in his career. In the past two games alone, Dunlap has nine tackles and a pair of sacks. He not only filled in well for Clark, but served as a temporary upgrade of sorts when given more snaps.
Elsewhere, Spagnuolo relied on George Karlaftis (51 snaps), Mike Danna (38) and Malik Herring (13) to fill the void left by Clark. Once he gets back into the swing of things, Kansas City will have a fresh defensive end room to work with that complements a budding duo of Chris Jones and Khalen Saunders on the interior as pass-rushers. This Chiefs front is far from perfect, but it's better than the group that was fielded to end last season's playoff run. Even without Clark, Sunday was a prime example of that with Dunlap leading the way.