It’s not always perfect, and it is far from pretty, but the Chiefs offensive line is getting the job done, and it is paying dividends for the Chiefs offense as a whole.
In the first matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders, the Chiefs’ offensive line struggled immensely. Patrick Mahomes was sacked three times and the team only rushed for 80 yards, 36 of which came from Mahomes and Tyreek Hill.
It was a rough outing for the unit, but since then they have seemed to gel and mold, which is interesting given the fact that All-Pro right tackle Mitchell Schwartz has been out since the game against Buffalo with a back injury.
That was also after left guard Kelechi Osemele tore tendons in both of his knees in the first matchup vs Las Vegas. He was replaced by Mike Remmers who has since moved to right tackle. Since then the lineup has been from left to right, Eric Fisher, Nick Allegretti, Austin Reiter, Andrew Wylie, and Mike Remmers. It’s a makeshift bunch of parts, but they came together on Sunday night.
The Raiders’ defense has struggled all season, and they showed again that they are vulnerable. The Chiefs are a pass-first team and they got movement off the line of scrimmage when they wanted to. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a big game, scoring two touchdowns and averaging almost five yards a carry. He does not get tackled on the first contact, and this generally allows for the big boys up front to move the pile for extra yards.
We got to see the Chiefs attack the backside of the Raiders defense with some 13 personnel around the goal line. The movement off the ball is something we haven’t seen much from the Chiefs in the past, but if it continues it will make them great.
In some of the podcasts that I do for Arrowhead Live, one of the big things that I hit on this week is the Raiders defensive ends a lot of the time don’t do a great job of containing the outside. This opened the door for the Chiefs to run some outside zone, as well as several pin and pull plays to attack the edge. This was seen on full display for one of Edwards-Helaire’s touchdowns, as well as Bell’s touchdown.
Travis Kelce should be credited also for the overall play of the unit. He did a good job of helping to chip block, but also was the key pin man for a lot of the pin and pull plays the Chiefs ran. The pin man often times has to block down on defensive ends or other inside players to allow the pull man to get into space. It’s a dirty job, but nothing the best tight end in football can’t handle.
Mahomes was also not sacked against the Raiders, and their formidable pass rusher Maxx Crosby, but after the game in week five it was evident the Chiefs were determined to keep the pocket clean this time around. When the pocket is clean, good things happen for Mr. Mahomes and company.
This unit is starting to gel at the right time, and as they head down the stretch they will have to face a gauntlet of pass rushers and defenses that are ready to get to Mahomes and slow down the skill players. It is a tough task, but as this unit improves so does their confidence and physicality.