While Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce stole the show, the dirty work put in by the Chiefs’ offensive line and Isiah Pacheco helped pave the way for a Chiefs victory. The one-hundred-yard day for the rookie runner broke a dry spell for the team, but also gave them a way to create some explosion in the running game.
It was the usual suspects when it came down to the final drive of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 30-27 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Mahomes found Kelce over the middle and watched him rumble into the endzone, giving the Chiefs the lead. A late interception from Justin Herbert would seal the game and another epic performance from the best duo in the NFL.
Kelce lead all Chiefs players with 15 yards, but the next on that list was rookie running back Isiah Pacheco who put up 107 yards on just 15 carries, averaging over seven yards a play.
He displayed the great burst and explosion that he played with while at Rutgers, but he also had some outstanding blocking up front to help him make cuts and gash the Chargers every time he touched the ball.
Of course, Pacheco was only able to bust off some of these big runs because the run blocking was superb all game long. The offensive line decimated the Charger’s front seven for 60 minutes, displacing them off the line of scrimmage, and creating massive running lanes.
Trey Smith and Creed Humphrey both played what might have been their best game of the year. They showed off their brute strength, but the ability to reach the block and the chemistry displayed between where they were going to set up their blocks, and where Pacheco would make his cut was impressive.
We got to see the Chiefs run a play that we had not seen in several weeks, not since the blowout victory over Tampa Bay. Classic counter, which they ran in the first clip displayed as well, involves the play side down blocking to their inside gap, and the backside guard and tackle pulling around. This gives the play a chance to hit inside or out, and we have examples of big gains from both.
The Chiefs even showed some wrinkles in their run game plan, such as the zone run to the weak side of the field below.
This week the Chiefs did not use many H-back looks, or Y-movement looks in the backfield, but they did utilize the entire tight end room, deploying 11 personnel, 12 personnel, and 13 personnel. This multitude of looks kept the Charger’s defense off balance but also gave the Chiefs a numbers advantage inside the tackle box. The number advantage, plus the alignment allowed the Chiefs’ run blockers to also create leverage and win the angle battle as well. The playcalling was in sync, the blocks were brutally effective, and Pacheco was running with a head of steam.
The juice was worth the squeeze. Late in the game, the Charger’s defense was tasked to stop Mahomes, but the defensive line was drained from being physically beaten all game and could not muster any pass rush. The Chiefs scorched down the field for another late-game comeback win, and the run game was all over the blueprint for success.
One of the most important drives of the game came on the first offensive possession of the second half. The Chief ran the ball seven consecutive plays, gaining 56 yards, and eventually getting a field goal. The drive may sound like a failure, after all for this offense anything ending in less than six should be an is a failure. That said, it did prove that the run game is starting to look like a well-oiled machine.
The first half of the game ended with two consecutive punts by the Chiefs’ offense, and they looked stagnant. The Chargers were busting out all the stunts, twists, and delayed pressures they could think of to slow Mahomes, and it worked for a while. Kansas City answered by blasting them with run after run, making the defense respect them, but also slowing their thoughts of an all-out pass rush in the process. The constant grind of being blocked wore them down slowly.
It has been a long time since the Chiefs have had any consistency at the running back position, but with the rookie, runner starting to emerge, and the domination from big boys up front, this offense can win plays and games in more ways than just one.