Chris Jones holds court on Chargers' dinky stadium, Phillip Rivers and more
It never takes much of a performance on the field for Chris Jones to attract a cluster of recording devices.
A sack, a couple of tackles, any reason to have a chat with one of the Chiefs’ biggest personalities is welcome ... and often entertaining.
But this week, Jones delivered a signature game to sing about. His effort in the Chiefs’ 27-20 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday earned the second-year defensive tackle AFC defensive player of the week recognition.
Of his full stat line — four solo tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception — Jones said his favorite moment was the pick.
Makes sense. The fourth-quarter screen pass from Carson Wentz was deflected by Justin Houston and into Jones’ arms at the Eagles’ 31, and set up the go-ahead touchdown.
Jones flashed potential last season but never had a game like Sunday. In fact, a day like that from one player, with as many sacks, forced fumbles and an interception, hadn’t been seen in the NFL since 2007.
The Los Angeles Chargers, this week’s opponent, took notice.
“He’s shown up on tape quite a bit,” Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers said.
If Jones were running the projector, he’d show the interception first.
The game stood tied at 13 with about nine minutes remaining. The Chiefs turned Jones’ takeaway into the possession that ended with a shovel pass from Alex Smith to Travis Kelce, who finished his 15-yard touchdown run with a leap into the end zone.
From a game-importance standpoint, the pick deserves to be Jones’ personal highlight. But to know Jones is to understand his ulterior motive, his grander plan of being more involved in the game beyond the 32 snaps he played on Sunday.
“Tight end, quarterback, wide receiver, (defensive back), whatever they want me to play,” the 310-pound Jones said. “Y’all saw the hands out there, huh?”
About losing three yards on the return, Jones reprised his “Snickers moment” explanation from Sunday but also recalled the fear of knowing he was now a ball carrier and fair game for punishment.
“I was in mid-air for so long, I thought someone was going to come and kill me and clean me up,” Jones said. “I’m thinking, ‘Am I going to get hit from the back or the side?’”
Jones got a game ball for his efforts, a first at any level he said, and called his mother that night to share the moment.
At head coach Andy Reid’s news conference on Monday, Jones was the first player mentioned. Reid suggested Jones’ motor ran a little hotter in the presence of Eagles standout defensive lineman Fletcher Cox.
Jones and Cox both attended Mississippi State. Cox entered the NFL four years ahead of Jones and has carved out a superb career with two Pro Bowl appearances.
“Cox is like a big brother to him,” Reid said.
Just a friendly game of one-upsmanship, Jones insisted.
“It was just the competition,” Jones said. “A couple of Mississippi State guys, see who has the better stats.”
Cox finished with one sack among his two tackles. So on this day, Jones won the individual battle. More importantly, he proved he could operate with the ball in his hands.
His next objective is to throw a pass to tight end Travis Kelce.
“I had to show the coach my (good) hands,” Jones said.