In what was likely his last game of the regular season Chris Jones dominated and disrupted the Atlanta Falcons all game, and had a big impact on the outcome.
The Atlanta Falcons have struggled all year upfront to be able to protect quarterback Matt Ryan consistently, and Chris Jones took full advantage of that in the Chiefs’ narrow victory on Sunday. Jones dominated the line of scrimmage from start to finish, recording one sack, four quarterback hits, and eight pressures. His arsenal of moves was on full display along with his speed and athletic ability, but it was a power move that he was able to record his sack on.
This power move happened late in the game, but it was set up by Jones using his speed rushes all game. He started out early lining up as a three-technique just on the outside shoulder of the guard, and even a step further out as a four inside technique, but then he would work back down the line, and get into the A gap.
This could have been a multiple sack day for Jones, he just missed his shot on the rush above, but the pressure was enough to affect Ryan’s vision downfield and allowed for Alex Okafor to come over for the strip-sack.
I put the play in below to show off the explosive nature in which Jones plays the game, and how when he keeps low out of his stance on pass rush downs he can use his length and strength he can literally just throw offensive linemen aside.
Jones was again about a foot away from having a sack on the play above, and somehow due to a blow in coverage Ryan is able to get the ball off. Jones again showed his return to the A gap from the outside shoulder of the guard, and his hand quickness and get off.
Jones and the entire Chiefs defense as a whole had a solid day defending the run, something that Jones has improved upon this season. He has started to play with better leverage in the run game, and it is helping him take on double teams and not give up much movement.
Late in the game, Jones set up the outside hand swipe move, a good counter to the inside move that he had used most of the day. He takes an inside step initially and has the guard ready to set back inside but then he stabs the chest and freezes him. A millisecond more and this is the Chiefs football.
This play did a good job to show the “game within the game”, or the mental battle he has to undergo with the offensive linemen to get his moves off. All-day he had either shown the hard outside step and a bull to rip or an inside step with the hand swipe with the rush to the A gap. Beautiful set up with the one quick inside step, then getting back out to pressure Ryan.
Statistically, this has not been one of the best seasons Jones has had in Kansas City, but according to Pro Football Focus, Jones has a 93.1% pass rush grade for the entire season which leads the entire NFL. Jones has been dominant, he just hasn’t had the statistic production of years past.
The Chiefs in general have had less pass rush allowing teams more opportunities to double team Jones. However this week the rest of the Chiefs were able to get to the quarterback, which might be showing that they are trending in the right direction as the playoffs near.
For Jones, this game might have been him flipping the switch and getting ready for the playoffs. The Chiefs will need him, as the road back to a Super Bowl will be a gauntlet of offensive firepower, but if this game was any indication of how the Chiefs pass rush will play as we head into January, then things are looking up.