Analysis

Three Chiefs Players That Trended Up/Down: Wild Card

Which Chiefs' players do you believe trended up or down in their 42-21 Wild Card win against the Steelers?

The Chiefs have done it again; they have slaughtered the Steelers for the second time this season, beating them 42-21 in Arrowhead in the Wild Card. Not only did the defense perform excellently in this matchup up, but the Chiefs’ offense put on a show, tallying six touchdowns through the air. It didn’t surprise most of us, from experts to general NFL fans to even die-hard Steelers fans. It wasn’t the Steelers’ year from a lackluster defense to a regressed Ben Roethilburger who’s ready to hang up the cleats.

With this game, many players played excellently. However, there were still some Chiefs that quite didn’t reach the mark in terms of their performance. With that said, here are three Chiefs players that trended up and down in their Wild Card victory:

Trended Up: Patrick Mahomes, QB

If I didn’t place Patrick Mahomes on this list, it would be a crime against the Chiefs fandom. Mahomes destroyed the Steelers again, throwing 30/39 for 404 yards with five touchdowns and an interception. Mahomes finished the game with a 138.3 QB rating, and in those five touchdown passes, he threw them in 11 minutes and 31 seconds. This is the fastest span in NFL postseason history per ESPN.

I thought Mahomes was figured out? With this stat line, that isn’t the case. Since Week Eight, the Chiefs have crushed the narrative in and out this season. Mahomes continues to show that he’s dominant and will come in clutch when it matters the most. Have yourself a day Mahomes; you’ve most certainly earned it.

Trended Down: Noah Gray, TE

Noah Gray didn’t truly contribute much to the Chiefs’ win when looking through the stat sheet. Mahomes tried feeding him the ball, targeting him twice; however, Gray could not catch those two targets. He finished the game with zeroes on the stat sheet.

While the receiving end wasn’t the best, Gray still proved to be a solid blocker throughout the game. Hopefully, his fortune changes against the Bills when the Chiefs play them next Sunday in the Divisional Round.

Trended Up: Jerick McKinnon, RB

With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out with an injury, someone in the running back group needed to step up; that someone was Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon led the charge on the ground with 12 carries for 61 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per run, with his longest run being 15 yards. However, McKinnon was more prominent in the receiving end of the spectrum, catching six passes on six targets for 81 yards with a touchdown; his longest reception was 23 yards:

e tallied 142 total yards on the day, proving to be the Steelers’ nightmare throughout the game. McKinnon has shown that he is the Chiefs’ X-Factor heading into the rest of the playoffs. His performance earned him the right to be the starter if Clyde Edwards-Helaire is confirmed out again against the Bills. Even if Helaire comes back, McKinnon will be the backup and still have vital touches throughout the rest of the playoffs.

McKinnon has shown what he’s made of; now, can he continue this trend for the future? That’s the question everyone is asking now.

Trended Down: Darrel Williams, RB

After some good performances, Darrel Williams had a rocky game this week. Williams only had one carry that went for only four yards; furthermore, he didn’t record a single catch or target, which is rare for a receiving running back of his caliber. However, it is understandable, considering how Jerick McKinnon performed; you have to keep your best players out there and feed them the ball to make the key plays.

Well, the rocky game doesn’t stop there; Williams also fumbled the ball on a trick play that resulted in a fumble recovery touchdown by T.J Watt in the second quarter. Williams found himself on the sidelines after that miscue and McKinnon’s performance. I expect his snaps to trend down next Sunday when the Chiefs play the Bills. This is not the start many expected from Williams; hopefully, he improves and refines his game as the postseason moves along.

Trended Up: Willie Gay Jr., LB

While Nick Bolton and L’Jarius Sneed did lead the game in tackles with eight, I want to credit Willie Gay Jr. for his excellent performance on Sunday night. Along with two tackles with a QB hit, Gay forced a fumble from Najee Harris, which then resulted in a fumble recovery by Frank Clark. This was Harris’s first fumble of his career.

Here’s a fun fact: Gay did this all on only 17 snaps. That stat line is pretty good regarding his playing time. It seems as though with this young, refreshing LB core, either Gay or Bolton have their snaps reduced. Hopefully, Gay gets more meaningful playing time as he earned with his performance yesterday.

Trended Down: Melvin Ingram, LB

Playing in 54% of defensive snaps, Ingram had a lackluster game, to say the least; he finished with only one solo tackle in yesterday’s performance. He did solid in pass rush, especially when he obliterated the Steelers’ RT on a third-down snap. However, when comparing his performance to other LBs who had far less playing time, like Willie Gay Jr., Ingram gets a spot here. I’m not saying he did horridly; I never will, as Ingram has helped revitalize this Chiefs’ defense. But, when you compare him to everyone else in this game, he trends down here.


Which Chiefs’ players do you believe trended up or down in their 42-21 Wild Card win against the Steelers? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.

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