Kansas City is making their third straight trip to the AFC Championship after beating the Browns in the Divisional Round. While it was not easy by any means, the 22-17 score still feels good, especially knowing the Chiefs will have another shot at making it to the big dance.
The defense in the first half was nothing short of amazing. They held an explosive Browns offense to just three points and took advantage of the opportunities they were given.
In the second half, the defense was not as good. However, Cleveland had their offense going at points in the back half. The defense did their part to help secure the win and got a stop when they needed it most. It is safe to say that these three players were a big reason the Chiefs could get past the divisional round.
Chiefs Key Defensive Players in Win
After not having as good a season as his last, Tyrann Mathieu is turning up the intensity in the playoffs. Much like last year, he is bringing energy and toughness to this defense that is contagious.
This postseason is no different, as he made his presence felt against Cleveland. While Mathieu is just 5’9″, you would not think so when you watch him play.
Of course, we all saw the fantastic play Mathieu made to get the interception. Let’s not forget the team-leading tackles at seven total or even the tackle for loss.
Mathieu allowed -5 yards in his coverage area on five targets, something you won’t see in the box score. Those are video game-like numbers in which he would be participating in this year’s pro-bowl.
There is no doubt that L’Jarius Sneed has been the Chiefs best rookie this season, especially considering the injury to Edwards-Helaire. He has been so good that today was one of his worst games, and he played great in this outing.
Just to put things into perspective, Sneed allowed only 49 yards receiving against Cleveland. That is low, right? Of course, it is, and that is his second-highest amount of yards allowed this season.
Sneed also has shown his ability to get to the quarterback. Much like week 15 against New Orleans, Sneed was the only player for the Chiefs to have a sack.
The rookie cornerback also finished second on the team in total tackles with six. He showed his ability to recognize a play and blew up two, registering two tackles for loss.
The rookie is continuing to impress time and time again. Tershawn Wharton doe not get a ton of run, but when he does, it is impactful. For a guy that was not drafted, Wharton is playing very, very well.
Pro Football Focus has him ranked at 66.2 on the season, which is an average player by their standard. That is a high grade for someone that did not know if they would play this season because of their draft process.
However, Wharton has played amazing considering his reps. He had two pressures against Cleveland and even batted a pass away that ended in a Baker Mayfield sack by Frank Clark.
If all of these players have games like they did in the Divisional round, Buffalo does not stand a chance next Sunday. If not, then it will be a long night.
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