Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs’ run game featured lots of Damien Williams instead of LeSean McCoy. What gives?

On its worst day in nearly two years, the Chiefs’ offense went full-throttle on a pass-heavy scheme. Patrick Mahomes dropped back into the pocket more than 40 times. The Chiefs were credited with just 14 rushing attempts against the Indianapolis Colts, including a couple of scrambles initially intended to be passing plays.

With all of 36 yards, the Chiefs’ running game contributed virtually nothing to their total output on offense.

And neither did LeSean McCoy.

As the second-half offense sputtered on drive after drive, McCoy rode a stationary bicycle on the Chiefs’ sideline. Healthy.

McCoy, who still leads the team in rushing yards this season, did not receive a single carry in the loss to Indianapolis. He did touch the ball twice, catching two passes for 23 yards, and fumbled one of those receptions to the Colts.

“I just thought in general it was frustrating,” McCoy said. “We didn’t win. We didn’t do well on offense. I let a fumble go. It was definitely frustrating.”

The fumble didn’t end his night — McCoy re-entered the game after the second-quarter blunder. But he saw only 14 snaps. Asked if he was told the fumble limited his subsequent snaps, McCoy said, “Nah, I wasn’t really playing that much before that. I don’t know.”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid hinted that pass protection led to a more limited role than what McCoy had experienced in his first month in Kansas City.

“He came back in right after the fumble — you saw that — so that wasn’t it,” Reid said. “There were a couple little things in there, but we’ll get that straight as far as protection. We’ll work on that and get that taken care of.”

After McCoy and Darrel Williams took the rushing load over the past two weeks, they combined for 27 offensive plays but zero rushes in Sunday’s loss.

It was a one-man show. Damien Williams returned from a knee injury and then resumed his primary role as an unquestioned starter. He played 34 snaps and was the lone Chiefs running back to receive a carry. He turned nine attempts into 23 yards, 2.56 yards per carry.

For the season, Damien Williams has 57 yards on 31 carries, fourth most on the team after missing the previous two weeks. McCoy still leads the roster with 214 yards on 40 carries.

“I just think it was the flow of the game,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. “You never try to not hand the ball off. It was just the flow of the game. We were still looking for a rhythm, trying to make things happen (and) got into a passing game more.”

To be fair, the Chiefs are always at least somewhat in passing mode. They aren’t looking to equalize that ratio. The ammunition of their passing game, with Mahomes at the helm, far outweighs the threat of the running game.

But Bieniemy acknowledged that Sunday’s balance was a little too extreme. The Chiefs’ backfield totaled a meager 25 rushing yards, and that includes a two-yard plunge from fullback Anthony Sherman.

They would like that number to improve. They would also like it to feature more contributors.

McCoy included.

“Giving ourselves the opportunity to move the chains (creates) more opportunities for us to have additional plays,” Bieniemy said. “It also puts us in position to score. That’s when all the other players get involved in the offense.”

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