Linebackers and the secondary
Last week, it was Nick Vigil getting a lot of the playing time after Drue Tranquill‘s injury. Perhaps that was just due to his familiarity with his former team though, since Kyzir White ended up playing a lot more often today.
Nickel packages don’t tend to favor Vigil though, as the Chargers played a lot more base defense against the Bengals. Kenneth Murray and White got a large majority of the linebacker snaps and did pretty well with them. Murray’s tip that affected the pass to Tyreek Hill was impressive. Denzel Perryman also played a role.
My main criticism of the defensive scheme for the linebackers was not having a QB spy for Mahomes. Murray or White should’ve protected the second level on those 3rd downs where Mahomes scrambled to pick up a first.
I wrote about not letting Mahomes get chunk runs in my keys to the game article. The breakdowns that happened in the Mexico game were child’s play compared to what was happening on 3rd downs in this game.
For what it was, the secondary was pretty solid in this game. Throughout most of the first half, a Chiefs’ receiver didn’t catch a pass. Tyreek Hill started to turn it on in the second half, but most of his yards came on the incredible Mahomes’ shot deep over Chris Harris and Nasir Adderley. Not much the Chargers could’ve done on that one.
Michael Davis‘ performance was particularly solid. Sure, he had the missed tackle on 3rd and 4 or so, but he was absolutely stellar for the rest of the game. I expected him to lay back in deep coverage as opposed to being as physical as he was. Casey Hayward, Harris, and him are becoming quite the intimidating cornerback room.
Looking at the safeties bring us to the coverage on Travis Kelce. Without Derwin James, everyone saw this coming. Rayshawn Jenkins let up the touchdown after being indecisive on whether to pick up Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Kelce.
Jenkins later got hurt in the game with a groin injury and never came back in, so we’ll just have to see what moves might be made this week. Adderley has had some moments of flash but has looked uneven at times.