Here is the special teams snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 19-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, along with some personal observations and production analysis. Special teams snaps for the entire season are also listed.
(You should also read my snap observations on the offense and defense.)
KEY: “R” denotes rookie. “C” denotes game captain. “INJ” denotes injury. “N/A” denotes the player was not a Chief at the time. “PS” denotes practice squad. “INA” denotes inactive.
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Analysis: Special teams ace D.J. Alexander saw a slightly-reduced special teams role due to his increased defensive role. He participated on kick return, punt coverage and field-goal block, but was replaced on kickoffs and punt returns by Dadi Nicolas.
▪ Phillip Gaines played a season-high 21 special-teams snaps against Oakland last week, but he was inactive this week due to ongoing knee issues. He was replaced as a gunner on punt coverage by Demarcus Robinson and as a corner on punt return and on kickoff by D.J. White. He was also replaced as an end on field-goal block by Terrance Mitchell.
▪ Jeremy Maclin earned only his second special-teams snap of the year. That’s because he’s on the hands team on kick returns. The Titans kicked the ball off trailing 17-16 late in the fourth quarter, and he was out there along with a handful of other starters who made a rare special-teams appearance, including safety Ron Parker and receiver Chris Conley.
▪ De’Anthony Thomas has been good on special teams this year, someone who has embraced the dirty work (gunner, kick coverage, etc.) and won over special teams coach Dave Toub in the process. He had a false start penalty while lined up as a gunner on a third-quarter punt, but he definitely sold out to try to block Ryan Succop’s 39-yard fourth-quarter field goal.
▪ The Titans have one of the league’s worst punt-coverage units, but they limited explosive rookie Tyreek Hill to only 1 yard in three returns. The Chiefs also returned two kicks for an average of 11 yards.
▪ Anthony Sherman led the way in special teams tackles with two, while Eric Murray, Frank Zombo and Daniel Sorensen — all special teams stalwarts — each chipped in with one apiece.