The Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up for their AFC divisional-round matchup against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday, but it looks as if they’ll have to do so without their most dangerous weapon out of the backfield.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the rookie running back sensation out of LSU, faces an “uphill battle” to get on the field Sunday after missing the Chiefs’ last two games of the regular season with an ankle injury. How will Kansas City replace him against the Browns?
Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s stellar rookie season
When you think of the Chiefs’ explosive offense, what first comes to mind is Patrick Mahomes and his bevy of weapons on the outside. Kansas City can slice and dice any defense down the field seemingly whenever they feel like it, but what gets lost in the shuffle is how impressive their rookie running back has been.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, whom the Chiefs selected with the 32nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, has been the most effective tailback for Kansas City all season. He leads all Chiefs’ running backs in rushing yards per game (61.8), yards per carry (4.4), rushing touchdowns (4), and receiving yards (297) in 2020.
The Chiefs brought in ex-New York Jet Le’Veon Bell in the middle of the season to compliment Edwards-Helaire in the backfield, but the rookie has still looked better than the savvy veteran. Edwards-Helaire has run the ball with more tenacity than Bell ever since he arrived, and he gets the extra yard or two at the end of a run that Bell just can’t at this point in his career.
Edwards-Helaire missed the final two games of the regular season due to an ankle injury, but Kansas City was hopeful the two weeks off would allow him to return for the team’s playoff run. That no longer seems likely.
The Chiefs receive some devastating news about Edwards-Helaire
Clyde Edwards-Helaire has had four weeks to rest and heal his ankle injury from late in the regular season, but this week the running back popped up on the injury report with a hip injury as well. He’s listed as questionable for the divisional-round matchup against the Browns, but it sounds as if he won’t be on the field Sunday.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Edwards-Helaire has an “uphill battle” to play Sunday, and he won’t be suiting up barring a last-second change in plans.
Edwards-Helaire wants nothing else but to be out there for his first career playoff game, but he might have to wait another week.
How will the Chiefs replace Clyde Edwards-Helaire?
The loss of Edwards-Helaire is a devastating blow to this Chiefs’ offense, but they have a more than capable option ready to fill in. Le’Veon Bell, who has four games of playoff experience under his belt, will get the start next to Patrick Mahomes on Sunday.
In his playoff career, Bell has recorded 424 rushing yards, 91 receiving yards, and four total touchdowns. He’ll be a reliable chain-mover in shot-yardage situations, and he’ll serve as a trustworthy safety blanket for Mahomes all game.
Both Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson will see some snaps in the backfield as well, but Bell should be the go-to guy this Sunday without Edwards-Helaire in the lineup.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference