The Kansas City Chiefs are... back? Winners of three consecutive contests, the Chiefs have the appearance of a team to be feared in the AFC once again. Sunday night's 41-14 primetime victory over their AFC West rival Las Vegas Raiders showcased a classic Chiefs squad capable of making yet another deep playoff run.
Kansas City's offense was in rare form throughout the contest, as starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes topped 400 passing yards while tossing an astounding five touchdown passes. Three receivers recorded at least seven receptions and surpassed 80 receiving yards, with two of them crossing the 100-yard mark. The victory improved the Chiefs to 6-4 on the year and catapulted them into first place in the ultra-competitive and unpredictable AFC West.
Running back Darrel Williams has been a key piece to Kansas City's resurgence. The former LSU standout has been in rather fine form since taking over for the injured Clyde Edwards-Helaire as Kansas City's RB1. Having started five games in a row, Williams has compiled a staggering 470 yards as a rusher and receiver while finding the end zone on three occasions. Williams was especially dominant in Monday's beatdown of the Raiders, catching all nine of his targets for 101 yards, including a highlight-reel worthy 38-yard reception.
Edwards-Helaire remains on injured reserve while nursing a knee injury and head coach Andy Reid recently proclaimed the Chiefs may wait until after Week 12 bye to activate him, putting Edwards-Helaire on track to return for a Week 13 divisional showdown with the Denver Broncos. Regardless of when Edwards-Helaire is ready to return to action, Williams has done enough to maintain a stranglehold on Kansas City's RB1 role.
It will be interesting to monitor how Reid and veteran offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy manage their backfield when all ball-carriers are healthy and available. Throughout the five games he was healthy for, Edwards-Helaire had a minimal impact on Kansas City's passing attack, recording just eight receptions for 76 yards. For comparative purposes, Williams has secured 24 receptions in his last five starts. To summarize, Williams has literally tripled Edwards-Helaire's pass-catching production despite starting the same number of games (five). Unless Kansas City is about to become a run-heavy offense, something that obviously isn't going to happen with Mahomes under center, Williams is the clear-cut better fit to shoulder the load in their backfield.
Kansas City employs a pair of capable ball-carriers in their backfield—it's a good problem to have. Ensuring Williams continues to see a minimum of 10-12 touches per contest while serving as their primary receiving back is the correct move to be made, and one that could help ensure Kansas City maintains the recent form they've captured.