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Chiefs' snaps vs. Dolphins: Niemann paces linebackers, CEH tops 1,000 scrimmage yards

Kansas City Star logo Kansas City Star 12/14/2020 Herbie Teope, The Kansas City Star

Dec. 14—The Chiefs clinched a fifth straight AFC West division title with Sunday's 33-27 win over the Miami Dolphins and sit on a 12-1 record through 13 games for the first time in club history.

Like most of the Chiefs' victories of the past month, though, Week 14's game was far from easy.

After jumping out to a 30-10 lead in the third quarter, the Chiefs once again had to weather a fourth-quarter comeback attempt from an opponent before claiming victory. Sunday marked a fifth consecutive one-score win for the Chiefs.

Nevertheless, a win is a win and the Chiefs overtook the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) for the AFC's No. 1 seed in the postseason after the Steelers lost to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football with three games to go.

Here's how the snap counts worked out against the Dolphins.

QUARTERBACKS: Patrick Mahomes (62)

Mahomes shook off two first-quarter interceptions to finish the game completing 24 of 34 passes for 393 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. He extended his streak of a game with a passing score to 23, which is the longest active streak in the NFL.

The Chiefs' signal-caller recorded his 26th career 300-yard passing game, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner for most games of at least 300 yards passing in a player's first four seasons in NFL history.

RUNNING BACKS: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (46), Le'Veon Bell (11), Darrel Williams (5, 3 on special teams), Darwin Thompson (10 on special teams), Anthony Sherman (5, 22 on ST)

A week after not seeing action, rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire totaled 91 yards (32 rushing) and continued to show he is tough to bring down after first contact.

Edwards-Helaire now has 724 yards rushing and 293 yard receiving yards through 13 games, giving him 1,017 total yards from scrimmage with three games to go. The Chiefs' first-round pick of the 2020 NFL Draft becomes the third rookie in team history to top 1,000 in this statistical category, joining Joe Delaney (1,367 in 1981) and Kareem Hunt (1,782 in 2017).

Bell gained 21 yards on two carries, adding 14 yards receiving on two catches.

As a team, the Chiefs gained 94 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts against Miami's 21st-ranked run defense, which was missing two starting linebackers.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Tyreek Hill (57), Sammy Watkins (54), Demarcus Robinson (33, 4 on ST), Mecole Hardman (19, 18 on ST), Marcus Kemp (4, 22 on ST)

Hill found the end zone twice against the Dolphins with a 32-yard run and a 44-yard catch, giving the explosive wide receiver his fourth multi-touchdown game of the season. Hill, who finished the game with three catches for 79 yards, will enter Week 15 with 16 total touchdowns (14 receiving, two rushing).

Hardman had three catches for 40 yard, but helped energize the early third-quarter scoring surge with a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown, the first punt-return TD of his career. Hardman's punt return marked the Chiefs' first punt returned touchdown since Hill did it against the Chargers on Sept. 9, 2018.

Watkins had two catches for 52 yards while Robinson had one for 13.

Kemp contributed a tackle on special teams.

TIGHT ENDS: Travis Kelce (56), Nick Keizer (12, 17 on ST), Deon Yelder (8, 5 on ST)

Kelce continues to make everything look easy, snatching eight catches for 136 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets.

Sunday increased his incredible season total of games with 100 or more yards receiving to six. Kelce now has 90 catches for 1,250 yards and nine touchdowns with three regular-season games remaining.

Keizer and Yelder were not targeted Sunday.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Eric Fisher (62, 5 on ST), Austin Reiter (62, 5 on ST), Andrew Wylie (62, 5 on ST), Nick Allegretti (62, 5 on ST), Mike Remmers (38), Yasir Durant (24, 5 on ST), Stefen Wisniewski (5 on ST)

Remmers left the game in the second half with a back injury. So the Chiefs turned to Durant, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Missouri.

Wisniewski saw his first action in a Chiefs uniform since signing with the practice squad in late November.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Chris Jones (59, 1 on ST), Frank Clark (52), Tanoh Kpassagnon (50, 11 on ST), Tershawn Wharton (47, 5 on ST), Alex Okafor (44), Mike Danna (32, 6 on ST), Derrick Nnadi (28, 6 on ST), Mike Pennel (26, 6 on ST)

The Chiefs made up for the lack of sacks in recent games, totaling four to go with eight quarterback hits.

Jones' sack resulted in a safety, while Clark, Wharton and Danna each recorded a sack, too. Okafor paced the defensive line with a team-high three quarterback hits.

Jones, Danna, Nnadi and Pennel each recorded four tackles, and the Chiefs' front four later garnered praise from coach Andy Reid.

"I thought the defensive line did some nice things with the run game and the pass-game part of it," Reid said. "Really, until that fourth quarter, we had a pretty good thing going."

LINEBACKERS: Ben Niemann (75, 17 on ST), Anthony Hitchens (45, 6 on ST), Willie Gay Jr. (17, 16 on ST), Darius Harris (11 on ST)

Niemann led the linebacker corps with 75 snaps and totaled four tackles and a quarterback hit.

Hitchens recorded two tackles. Gay drew the start for a second straight week, but his status as a starter is on paper only at this point, given the numerous sub-packages the Chiefs deploy on defense. The rookie linebacker made three tackles.

With Damien Wilson out with a knee injury, Harris saw his first snaps since being elevated from the Chiefs' practice squad in late September.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Tyrann Mathieu (83), Daniel Sorensen (83, 12 on ST), Bashaud Breeland (80), L'Jarius Sneed (59, 4 on ST), Charvarius Ward (55), Rashad Fenton (39, 11 on ST), Juan Thornhill (39, 10 on ST), Armani Watts (28 on ST), Antonio Hamilton (28 on ST), Chris Lammons (25 on ST)

Mathieu recorded an interception for the third straight game and now leads the KC defense with six. The strong safety showed no signs of his minor hip injury, playing every defensive snap and recording two tackles, the interception and two passes defensed.

Sorensen and Sneed each recorded a team-high seven tackles and Breeland finished with a team-high three passes defensed. Fenton's resulted in a tipped pass, which Mathieu snatched for his interception.

Ward left the game late in the third quarter with a head injury but returned after being cleared from the NFL's concussion protocol.

Lammons, who was elevated from the practice squad for the second straight week, produced the block that sprung Hardman on his 67-yard punt return for a touchdown.

SPECIALISTS: Harrison Butker (11), Tommy Townsend (9), James Winchester (9)

Butker was perfect on all four of his extra-point attempts Sunday. He also nailed a key 46-yard field goal late in the game.

Townsend totaled 198 yards on four punts, averaging 49.5 yards per attempt.

DID NOT PLAY: QB Chad Henne, C Daniel Kilgore

INACTIVES: LB Damien Wilson, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, DT Khalen Saunders, CB BoPete Keyes, DE Tim Ward, OL Martinas Rankin

The Chiefs ruled out Wilson (knee) on their final injury report ahead of Sunday's game. Seals-Jones, who signed a free-agent deal during the offseason, has now been a healthy inactive in 12 of the Chiefs' 13 games.


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