With the game hanging in the balance Monday night, Chris Jones came through for the Chiefs.
Jones' sack of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones put New York in what was ultimately an unwinnable situation. More importantly, it was a flash of what Chiefs fans have come to expect from Jones, who hasn't looked quite like himself for much of 2021.
We now have an explanation for Jones' up-and-down 2021 season: He's been playing hurt.
"Well, I ended up tearing some ligaments in my wrist and I tried to play through it," Jones told reporters after the game, via the Kansas City Star. "I don't make no excuses for myself. I tried to play through it and realized that I couldn't play to my full potential while playing through it. I thought it was best to just take a couple of weeks off and let it heal.
"Thankfully, the team agreed. We came to an agreement, and I feel a lot better now. I'm able to do some things that I wasn't able to do when it initially happened, and I feel good. I feel great to be back on the field with my brothers."
Jones missed two games with the injury and played 39 snaps (57 percent) in Kansas City's Week 7 loss to Tennessee, his first action back after his absence. Monday night, Jones' workload increased to 42 snaps, accounting for 70 percent of Kansas City's defensive snaps. He finished with two tackles, one sack and two quarterback hits.
Jones has been spending more time on the outside part of Kansas City's defensive line this season, but found success Monday night by rotating between an outside alignment and a traditional 3 technique of a defensive tackle. His sack of Jones late in the fourth quarter came from a 3 technique, from which he raced around Giants guard Will Hernandez to take down Jones.
"I've been on the inside on passing downs, been on the outside in base or run downs," he said. "That's typically been the theme this whole year. It's just us getting teams to passing downs and being able to get nickel or dime (personnel packages) on the field to when I can get inside."
The arrival of Melvin Ingram via a Tuesday trade should give Jones more opportunities to make a difference on the defensive interior. So should his improved condition, even if he's still not completely healthy. After all, no one truly is once we reach the midway point of the season.
"I won't say 100%," Jones said. "I don't think I'll be 100% this season."
Ninety percent of Jones is still better than nothing. The Chiefs were happy to have that Monday night.