FEB 2 UPDATE: The Chiefs will release their first practice participation report of Super Bowl week on Wednesday, but in the meantime they’re getting in some walkthrough work early in the week. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins told the media he’s feeling better and is optimistic about playing on Sunday. Additionally, cornerback L’Jerius Snead has cleared the concussion protocol, which puts him on track to play on Sunday.
Super Bowl 55 is around the corner, and both teams competing are dealing with injuries to key players ahead of the championship game. The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers held three practices this past week during the bye after the conference championships. The NFL has both teams submit practice participation reports and then on Friday they submitted a final injury report estimating status if the team were to play on Pro Bowl Sunday.
Let’s go over who some of the key Chiefs players looking to battle back from injuries are, as well as how their absences could affect the outcome of the game.
Kansas City Chiefs bye week injury report
Out: T Eric Fisher (Achilles), LB Willie Gay (ankle, knee)
Questionable: RB Le’Veon Bell (knee), CB Rashad Fenton (foot), CB L’Jerius Snead (concussion), WR Sammy Watkins (calf)
Notable players on in-week report: Le’Veon Bell, Sammy Watkins
How the team’s injuries may affect the Chiefs in the Super Bowl
The season-ending Achilles injury that Fisher suffered in the AFC Championship could have a major effect on Super Bowl’s game script. The star tackle was the top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and has been a staple for Kansas City’s offensive line. Fisher has been a crucial part of the Chiefs’ pass protection and run blocking. Kansas City is 27-1 with him in the lineup over the last two seasons, including the playoffs, but went 4-4 during the eight games he missed last year. Tampa Bay has one of the most fearsome defensive lines in the NFL and ranked fourth in team sacks in 48 during the regular season. The Buccaneers also allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league during the regular season. Those stats are cause for concern given Kansas CIty’s running back situation.
Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire carried a small workload in the AFC Championship after returning from injury and ran for just 7 yards on 6 attempts. He’ll likely split work with Darrel Williams in the Super Bowl, but the Chiefs have pivoted away from using a balanced attack on offense since signing Bell. The Chiefs managed to tally a respectable 87 rushing yards against Tampa Bay during the regular season with both CEH and Bell available. but matching that production will be difficult on the big stage.
Sammy Watkins has been in and out of the Chiefs’ lineup all year and tallied just 37 catches for 427 yards and two scores this season. He hasn’t made his 2021 postseason debut because of a calf injury he suffered down the stretch in the regular season but was an important x-factor during Kansas City’s title run last year. The Buccaneers are far more susceptible against the pass than they are against the run, but Kansas City has had no problem producing at a high level without its WR3. His presence could make the receiving corps even more difficult to slow down.