Chiefs’ offensive linemen ‘handled business’ against Eagles’ vaunted defensive front after week of doubts

GLENDAL, Arizona. The Chiefs offensive line has been hearing this all week. As a defensive front, the Eagles were the best in the league. How he led the league in sacks. Like it was the first team in NFL history to have four players earn at least 10 sacks in one season. As if they were not overwhelmed by the front.

They also heard that their division was the main culprit in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl loss two years ago against Tampa Bay, when people allegedly called the O-line human turnstiles after allowing the Buccaneers to put pressure on quarterback Patrick Mahomes and achieve the worst performance of his career. .

Playing with purpose and passion, the offensive line was largely responsible for four possessions in the second half: touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal – the last points, scored 8 seconds before the game, gave Kansas City a 38-35 victory . and his second championship in four seasons.

For the group members, Sunday was not just a business day. It was personal.

“We’ve had a great season ahead of us,” center Creed Humphrey said. “Our O-line has been really dominant this year. I feel like we didn’t get enough respect during the week and we wanted to go out and make a name for ourselves tonight. We chased them and it was fun. .”

Group members generally don’t get much attention unless Mahomes is being coerced, so please allow them to introduce themselves. Left to right: Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Tooney, Humphrey, Trey Smith and Andrew Wylie.

Individually, these are five fingers.

Together, they are a powerful fist.

“I don’t want to hear about it anymore,” Wylie said of the Eagles’ defensive front. “The O-line knew we were going to be responsible for winning this game and we went out in the second half and took it into our own hands and did the damn thing. We had a hell of an attack scheme and they dialed in and it worked.”

This scheme focused on the running game and relieving pressure from Mahomes, who had aggravated a high ankle sprain shortly before halftime. For a moment there was uncertainty as to whether he would return. QB was left on all fours after being attacked from behind and then jumped to the touchline where he was in such agony that he once rested his head on the assistant coach’s shoulder.

Reserve Chad Henn started the warm-up but never entered the game as the Chiefs offense did not return to the field before half time. In the locker room at halftime, the offensive linemen didn’t say anything.

“When you see a guy get hurt like that, the first thing that comes to your mind is, ‘Nobody touches him anymore,'” Humphrey said.

The most obvious way to protect him was to control the ball, and the Chiefs imposed their will on him in this regard. After running just seven times for 39 yards in the first half, they threw out 119 yards for 19 carries in the second half, including a 26-yard scrimmage by Mahomes that helped score the game-tying field goal. Kansas City had six first downs due to aggression in the last two quarters after only managing one in the first half.

“We were fucking running from the ball,” Wylie said. “It started with [Humphrey] in the middle, and O-line was doing business.

Equally important was the unit’s ability to keep the pocket clean. The Eagles, whose pass rush has been deadly throughout the season, have gone bagless for only the second time this season. In the second half, the hype rarely touched Mahomes, who had 13 of 14 passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the last two quarters. His only incomplete completion was a throw in the end zone.

“When you see (No.) 15 who’s playing, you know you always have a chance to win a game,” Smith said. “And when we saw how he was limping, we realized that we needed to protect him. We knew he needed us even more. We answered the call. . We weren’t perfect, but we kept grinding and chopping and we got our way.”

As the players and coaches walked into the locker room, club owner Clark Hunt alternated between hugging, shaking hands, or patting them on the back. At some point, he was asked to compare this championship with the one they claimed three years ago. He couldn’t do that without also admitting their Super Bowl loss two seasons ago in Tampa.

“The first was at the end of a 50-year journey to return to the Super Bowl, so it will always be special in some light,” he said. “But this one will be special in large part because of the failure of two years ago. And even because of the disappointment in last year’s AFC Championship game.”

After that loss to the Bucks, in which Mahomes was sacked three times, hit nine times, skidded four times for a loss and twice intercepted — no wonder Mahomes failed to reach the end zone for the only time in his playoff career — GM Brett Wych set about restoring the device.

In the 2021 off-season, he signed Touni to a five-year, $80 million free agent contract, acquired Brown Jr. in a trade for Baltimore, and drafted Humphrey (second round) and Smith (sixth round). Each of them initially knew what was expected of them: to keep Mahomes clean and tidy.

“That’s why they brought us in,” Humphrey said. “They wanted us to do it. It was our job.”

“Brett Wich did a great job a couple of years ago rebuilding that offensive line,” Hunt said. “They just kept getting better by being able to play together. Clearly the Eagles’ defensive front is one of this team’s strengths and we went out in the second half and our offensive line got stronger. control the ball and give Patrick more time.”

They went from fighting to stay on the field – their four first-half possessions lasted six, seven, three and five games – to joining forces in the second half of 10, nine, three and 12 games. They were doing so well that on one occasion, when there was a crash and the Eagles put pressure on Mahomes, he broke free and ran 26 yards with a sore ankle to set the game-tying score.

“In this play, he briefly disappeared, watching her from above,” Hunt said. “Then he reappeared and I thought, ‘Who is that running with the ball? Of course it was Superman.”

On this night, Batman seems more appropriate. Because then we could say with certainty that he was assisted by five determined Robins. In fact, calling them as disrespectful as those who suggested that the Eagles’ defensive front would overwhelm them.

Their names are Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Tooney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith and Andrew Wylie, and tonight they demonstrated that they don’t have to pay a second bill to anyone, be it their star quarterback or their famous opponent.

Follow Jim Trotter on Twitter.


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