Here is the defensive snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 29-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, along with some personal observations and advanced stats. Snaps for the entire season are also listed.
(Offensive snap count thoughts from the Falcons game can be found here.)
KEY: “*” denotes starter. “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.
Analysis: One week after he was limited to 14 snaps due to what the club called back spasms, Poe logged a position-high 48 snaps despite missing all three days of practice last week. Still, he only played about 65 percent of the snaps as the Chiefs were able to rotate six linemen into the game after they placed Howard on injured reserve. Some of this also had to do with the need to counteract the Falcons’ uptempo offense by keeping fresh linemen in the game.
Jones continues to shine, by the way; in his last seven games (all starts), he has racked up two sacks and 21 hurries — the most among qualifying 3-4 defensive ends since Week 7, according to Pro Football Focus.
Analysis: The Chiefs went all-in to beat the Broncos a week ago, but this week they went back to a more standard rotation, as Hali — who continues to battle through balky knees — saw his snaps halved while Houston saw his snaps decrease, too. Ford’s availability on Sunday — he missed the Denver game because of a hamstring injury — probably had something to do with that, but Hali was good anyway. He racked up a sack and three quarterback hurries, which ranks as his best pass-rushing game of the season, according to PFF.
After seeing only 10 snaps against Denver, Zombo — a steady run defender — earned the second-most snaps of any Chief at the position. There’s really good depth here; Zombo is a guy who has played a lot of defensive snaps in this league, so if he’s your fourth edge rusher, you’re sitting pretty.
Analysis: Wilson’s 40 snaps is the fewest he’s played in a month, but some of that had to do with Atlanta’s explosive passing attack. Safety/dime linebacker Daniel Sorensen saw an uptick in snaps.
Analysis: Just last week, Gaines played every defensive snap and logged a season-high in special-teams snaps, too. It seemed like a sign he must be feeling better, but so much for that, as he sat out because of ongoing knee issues. The fact Mitchell, who signed with the Chiefs in October, got the nod over White and Acker was very interesting. Acker went from being the No. 3 corner against Denver to not seeing the field, while White also failed to see action after logging three plays against the Broncos.
The Falcons threw the ball on the players who did play. Peters was targeted seven times and allowed five catches for 53 yards and a touchdown with a pass defensed, according to PFF, while Nelson surrendered eight catches on eight targets for 110 yards. Four of those catches were by star receiver Julio Jones, who totaled 66 of his 113 total receiving yards against Nelson.
Analysis: Sorensen logged more plays than he has in a month against one of the league’s best passing offenses. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defensive game plan — which appeared to center around preventing the big play — worked like a charm. Star quarterback Matt Ryan (one of the league’s best deep passers, according to PFF) attempted only one deep throw, a season low.