The Kansas City Chiefs took care of business on Saturday, beating the Indianapolis Colts by a final score of 31-13. They took an early lead, and while the Colts had some opportunities to get back into the game, their offense could not get going.
One reason their offense struggled was Dee Ford. The Colts were trailing 24-7 with 1:05 left in the third quarter when Darius Leonard sacked Patrick Mahomes, forced a fumble, and recovered it at the Chiefs 20 yard line. A touchdown would have cut the Chiefs lead to ten and turned this into an intriguing matchup. However, two plays later, this happened.
It turns out this marked Ford’s league-leading 11th pressure that resulted in a turnover, according to Next Gen Stats. Beat writer Chris Biderman summed it up perfectly.
Back in September when the 49ers traveled to face the Chiefs, Ford had seven pressures that resulted in two sacks and five hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. He had a monster regular season, finishing with 13 sacks and 46 hurries, ranking sixth in their pass rush productivity stat.
I bring all this up because Ford hits unrestricted free agency. He played out 2018 on his fifth year option, which means the Chiefs have the option of using the franchise tag. It sounds like the franchise tag for a defensive end will be $17 million and for a linebacker will be $15 million. PFF lists the majority of Ford’s stats as an OLB, but it is usually with his hand in the ground, so he might be able to get the defensive end tag.
The 49ers might not be able to get a crack at Ford, but the No. 2 pick could provide a viable alternative.