Even with Chris Jones out due to a groin injury this unit displayed their overall strength, depth, and ability to dominate in a big win against the Patriots.
All week the Chiefs defensive line unit had to listen to how effective the New England Patriots run game was. They also had to hear that it would be just as effective even without Cam Newton, who tested positive for Covid-19 prior to the game because the Patriots would come out and be ready to rally under Bryan Hoyer.
The Patriots did end the game with 185 yards rushing the ball, which is a good mark to hit, but the fact that they only scored ten points all night tells the story of how the game actually went.
The Chiefs defensive line turned in an excellent performance and put up their strongest performance of the season. Even with Chris Jones out the Chiefs other super star up front turned in one of his best performances as a Chief.
Frank Clark finished the game with four tackles and a sack, as well as recording three other hits. Last year he was plagued with injuries but so far in 2020, he looks like the explosive and violent player the Chiefs brought him to Kansas City to be.
The man responsible for backing up Chris Jones also did not disappoint, turning in the best game of his professional career.
Mike Pennel is the unsung hero of this Chiefs unit, and he was all over the field. Even if he didn’t make the tackle, which with 11 total was rare, his physicality and presence in the middle were enough to open up lanes to free his teammates to make the play.
When Jones is healthy having him able to rotate in and out with Jones and Nnadi puts offenses in a tough situation for what they have to be prepared to block play in and play out.
The Chiefs have also found another pass rush weapon from offseason signing Taco Charlton. A player who has bounced around from Dallas to Miami and now Kansas City due to issues over effort, he has quickly put those questions to bed since joining the Chiefs. Recording his second sack of the season, on a move that is not seen very often.
The jump cross chop is more of a move a player with the body profile of Frank Clark or a Yannick Ngakoue would use, generally shorter quicker edge rushers. Charlton is 6-foot-6 and with his arm length and ability he looked like a power forward out there on this move. It’s going to be fun to see what he has in store later this season.
If you didn’t know by now, undrafted rookie free agent Tershawn Wharton is going to be a player.
I highlighted this play to show Wharton’s athletic ability, but he again played a solid game in the middle. He has natural leverage in trenches and as strong as he is he makes it hard for defenders to move him around. He will be a key depth piece moving forward.
Derrick Nnadi turned in his usual steady performance, turning in four tackles and not allowing any movement up front. Being the Chiefs one tech and shade player he often won’t get the recognition he deserves, especially with the stars on this unit, but he plays just as big a role as everyone week in and week out.
Tahno Kpassagnon was also solid against the run of the Patriots and even managed to swat the ball down. We saw more of Kpass lined up inside on pass rush downs, something that should continue as it appears to be where he excels.
All and all a great performance from one of the league’s best defensive line units. When Chris Jones returns the unit will only get stronger. This week Josh Jacobs and the Las Vegas Raiders will try to come in and use nearly an identical formula to beat the Chiefs. The defensive line will once again need to come prepared not just to play, but to dominate.