When Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored his first touchdown in his first game since returning from injured reserve, a flag was thrown.
During Kansas City’s Week 11 game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, November 21, Edwards-Helaire pointed at Cowboys linebacker Luke Gifford as he was entering the end zone, which prompted the official to throw a penalty flag for taunting.
A penalty being called on Edwards-Helaire seemed a bit harsh given the lack of aggression involved with the pointing of a finger. Nevertheless, the league’s taunting policy has been made very clear, which in turn merited a flag being thrown for the second-year running back’s actions.
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CEH Addresses Penalty
Following the game, Edwards-Helaire spoke about the taunting penalty and what transpired on that play. He also gave insight into the strong relationship the Chiefs players and coaches have with each other that isn’t seen by the public eye, which was evident when some of the players and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy were seen celebrating with Edwards-Helaire on the sideline following the touchdown and penalty.
“There’s nothing to really talk through. Pat (Mahomes) pitched it, I showed my personality. We’ve talked about it, being me and playing football. That’s just what it is,” Edwards-Helaire explained during his press conference on Sunday, November 21. “You get the taunting penalty, it’s 15 yards. You take it with a grain of salt at the time and go to the next play. (Harrison) Butker kicks a 40-yard field goal, an extra point, and we make it happen and it’s on to the next play.
“The thing on the sideline, it’s EB (Eric Bieniemy), it’s one of those things,” CEH continued. “You have to be a real strong-minded player to play for EB and a lot of people wouldn’t be able to. I just went to the sideline knowing I was going to hear him. I’ve been playing for him, so I know. Then here comes TK (Travis Kelce), here comes the offense right behind me. It’s more than just the things that you all see, it’s a brotherhood.”
Edwards-Helaire went on to explain the intricacies of the relationships he has in certain environments with his teammates and coaches.
“Me and EB going back and forth one-on-one. I buy a pair of shoes, then we’re arguing about the color. Literally, those are the things that go on throughout the week,” Edwards-Helaire said. “It’s a relationship. Everybody sees one thing, but it’s one thing when it’s just us. With the crowd (being loud), once we’re on the field, it’s kind of like a family-oriented thing. That’s why it ended up being a yelling mosh pit, so it was pretty cool.”
Strong Debut for CEH After IR Stint
Week 11 marked the return of Edwards-Helaire to the lineup after missing five games due to being placed on injured reserve on October 12 for an MCL sprain. While running back Darrel Williams was strong in the absence of CEH, a shift in philosophy on offense for Kansas City sparked a potential breakout role for Edwards-Helaire, one that he filled well at Arrowhead this past Sunday.
Against the Cowboys, Edwards-Helaire rushed 12 times for 63 yards — 5.25 yards per carry — with one rushing touchdown. He also caught two passes on two targets for 13 yards. While his double-digit touches were more than we anticipated, Edwards-Helaire’s usage in his return from injured reserve — with the bye coming in Week 12 — was a little bit of a surprise, but nevertheless a promising showing.
CEH and the defending AFC champions now have two weeks to rest their bodies and prep their minds for their Week 13 game against the Denver Broncos. As for Edwards-Helaire, he could have his best days in a Kansas City uniform coming in the very near future. His performance against Dallas was just a taste of that.