Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco won't play Sunday vs. Bills

Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Football

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Coming off one of his most productive games of the season, Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco will miss the next one.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid on Friday ruled out Pacheco from playing in Sunday’s home game against the Buffalo Bills. Pacheco suffered a shoulder injury in last weekend’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, a game in which he rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown.

Pacheco entered Week 14 as the NFL’s fifth-leading rusher with 779 yards. He averages 4.4 yards per attempt and also has 33 receptions for 209 yards.

Pacheco underwent surgery on the same shoulder during the offseason.

Reid said Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be the starting running back. Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick out of LSU in 2020, is the team’s second-leading rusher among its running backs, with 140 yards and a touchdown.

Edwards-Helaire played in and started 23 games in his first two years as a pro, but his career has been slowed by injuries. As a rookie he led the Chiefs in rushing with 803 yards.

“With the chances he’s had to play he’s done very well,” Reid said.

Injuries limited Edward-Helaire’s playing time in 2022 and Pacheco became the starter. Edwards-Helaire has been listed third on the Chiefs’ depth chart, behind Jerick McKinnon, this season.

“He’s gonna be ready, no doubt,” McKinnon said of Edwards-Helaire. “Everybody in that room is ready, ready when called upon. He knows what this moment means for him. I’m 100, 200 percent confident that he’s gonna go out there and do his thing.


“He’s prepped for it. He’s looked good in the opportunities he’s had this year. Despite all the talk and all the stuff at the beginning of the year, he’s stay focused and stayed resilient. He’s been showing off, and I expect nothing less on Sunday.”

McKinnon, who has missed the Chiefs’ two most recent games with an injury of his own, practiced this week and figures to see increased playing time against the Bills. Reid said undrafted rookie Deneric Prince “will be up this week,” too.

“Everybody in the room knows it’s gonna take a collective effort,” McKinnon said. “We said that at the beginning of the year. So everybody has to step up, one way or another. Everybody’s ready to do so. The offense looked really good this week, so we’re ready to go out there and execute versus a really good Bills team.”

Three other Chiefs also are listed as out after injuries suffered against the Packers: linebacker Drue Tranquill (concussion), safety Bryan Cook (ankle) and tackle Donovan Smith.

It’s likely rookie Wanya Morris will make his first start in place of Smith.

Linebacker Nick Bolton, who hasn’t played since Week 4 because of a wrist injury, practiced this week and could return as the signal-calling linebacker.


Jesse Newell contributed to this story.

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