Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones had himself a day on Sunday. Jones’ performance was indicative of the kinds of things this guy can do when he decides he just isn't going to let anybody block him. Three sacks, two of them where he also caused a fumble, a game-changing interception, and a couple of other plays that ultimately didn't count because of penalties. These are the kinds of days Pro Bowlers and All-Pros have, and Jones, who is only in his second year, keeps progressing like this he will certainly attain those kinds of honors one day soon.
Jones is a guy I'm very familiar with; I did an NFL draft breakdown of him when he was coming out of Mississippi State a couple of years ago. What I saw back then was a guy who was very talented and who had very good technique, but who was also just a tad bit lazy.
Even with my problems with his motor back then, there simply was no denying his immense potential. This was a kid who could line up almost anywhere on the defensive line and not just look good, but dominant. So I wasn't surprised at all that Jones flashed so much last year in his rookie season.
When he wants to to be Jones is damn near unblockable at times.
Keeping it a buck, though, his effort is still questionable at times. If he hauled ass every play he actually would be close to unblockable damn near every game.
But I digress.
You see the numbers Jones put up and they were impressive as hell, but even more impressive is how a guy his size at 6'6 and over 300 pounds made them.
On the first of his three sacks, Jones was lined up as the right three-technique on the outside shoulder of Philly left guard Isaac Seumalo. The Eagles had a first-and-10 at the Chiefs 41-yard line. They pretty much tipped everyone off that it was going to be a pass by lining the quarterback up in shotgun empty.
At the snap of the football Jones got up field two steps then executed a jab ole as he stepped inside and beat Seumalo with a quick arm over.
The Chiefs were lined up on defense like they were going to have a four man pass rush, but after the play started the outside linebacker to Jones' side, Justin Houston, dropped out to make it a three-man rush. Normally that would have meant any inside move by Jones would risk losing contain to Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who is a pretty mobile guy, but Jones beat Seumalo so cleanly that Eagles center Jason Kelce did not have a chance in hell of helping out, and Wentz was down on the ground before he could even think about trying to break containment. Jones was also able to get the ball out of Wentz's hand for a fumble on that sack, but Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson ultimately recovered it.
Jones' second sack came on the last play of the third quarter when he was lined up on the other side of the center as the left three-technique on the outside shoulder of Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks.
Philly had a first-and-10 at its own 47-yard line. After showing off his wiggle on his first sack, Jones came back with a power rush on Brooks. He bulldozed Brooks right back into Wentz so violently that Wentz again lost the football. That time Wentz was able to recover the fumble himself, but he still ended up being tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
It’s a helluva thing to make an opposing player get the sack and cause a fumble for you, but that's exactly what Jones did to Brooks on that play.
Jones' third sack was probably the most impressive of them all, to me.
He was back over at the right three-technique across from Seumalo again, and Jones had been bullrushing quite a bit to that point. The Eagles had another first-and-10 at their own 25-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game and the Chiefs up 27-13.
Jones comes off like he is about to shoot his hands in Seumalo's chest and bullrush him yet again. That made Seumalo stop his feet in anticipation for having to brace for Jones' power. But, plot twist, this time Jones instead did another jab ole move and was able to easily slide inside Seumalo with an arm over.
Wentz actually got away from Jones momentarily that time, but Jones kept working and ended up getting him on the ground yet again.
Now three sacks in one game is impressive as hell, but that none of those three were the most important play Jones made on Sunday.
To understand you have to go back to when the the score was tied at 13-13 with 9:23 left in the game. The context here is that on their previous drive, the Eagles had kicked a field goal to tie things up and Kansas City’s offense subsequently went three and out to put the defense right back on the field. If Philly was able to score on that drive and go up for only the second time, there was a good chance it might finally pull away.
Once again Jones was lined up at the right three-technique. The Eagles were trying to run a screen with Darren Sproles on third-and-12 from their own 31-yard line. The offensive line for the most part let everyone go, as they were supposed to, but Houston was so fast off the edge that he was able to get close enough to Wentz just as he was throwing the football to tip the pass up in the air.
Jones, on the other hand, could feel from the blocking that it was a screen and stopped getting up field almost immediately after he cleared Seumalo. His discipline with his keys allowed him to be in position adjust to the tipped pass in the air and catch the the interception before being taken down at the original line of scrimmage.
Wouldn't you know it, Kansas City's offense ended up driving right down the field and scoring a touchdown on the ensuing drive. It was the Chiefs who ended up pulling away until right at the very end.
He still gives me the gas face at times with his inconsistent effort, but if he keeps improving at this rate, there is no telling how good he will be by this season's end.
Sunday was the first time in his last 13 games that Jones started the game on the bench, and it might well be his last after the production he put up. His three sacks were one more than he notched all of last year. That, combined with his timely interception, made Chris Jones an easy choice for Hoss Of The Week for Week 2 of the NFL season.