The definition of a trend.
"A general direction in which something is developing or changing."
For Kansas City Chiefs third-year outside linebacker Dee Ford, there's a trend happening right now.
"He's playing hard," Chiefs coach Andy Reid explained of Ford, who picked up two key sacks during the Chiefs' 19-14 win over the Jaguars on Sunday. "He's giving you good hard snaps, and it's a tribute to him.
"[Ford] has taken a lot of heat (over the past couple of years), so it's good for him to get a little taste of this. He's just got to keep going – that's the thing. We're just sitting at that half way spot."
Ford had a career-best 3.5 sacks last week against the Indianapolis Colts, and he followed that up with another big time performance on Sunday against the Jaguars.
Through the first half of the season, Ford has amassed nine sacks for the Chiefs defense, which heading into the game on Sunday night, tied him for the NFL lead with the Buffalo Bills' Lorenzo Alexander.
If he continues the pace he's on right now, Ford would finish with 18 sacks on the season, which would not only quadruple his best season to date (last season with four), but it'd also be the third best season in franchise history.
Ford has seen an increase in snaps this year with Justin Houston on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and with 33-year-old veteran Tamba Hali on limited snaps, and Ford attributes this to part of the reason he's had success.
"That is human nature for athletes," Ford explained of the success he's had coming with more playing time. "The more you play, if you work hard, the better you get at things. Every player doesn't get better every game, but hard workers do.
"It is a testament to that."
Before Sunday's game, Ford had played 358 snaps for the Chiefs defense this season, while he played 479 total snaps all of last season.
On Sunday, Ford helped lead a Chiefs defense that forced three Jaguars turnovers on the day, with the special teams unit getting in the mix and forcing a turnover as well.
The Chiefs offense turned those four turnovers into 13 points, which proved to be the difference in the five-point win—the 10th straight for the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium—the longest home winning streak in Reid's career.
During the team's current four-game winning streak, the Chiefs have a plus-10 turnover differential.
The offense hasn't turned it over once and the defense has made a habit of taking it away.
"That is just our motive coming into the game," Ford explained. "That is what we have to do. We are trying to win and we are trying to go to the Super Bowl. As a defense, that is what you are going to have to do to be effective."
With the deadline for Houston to be activated off the PUP list coming on Wednesday, there's more help in the pass rush department seemingly on the way.
"I think about it every day," Ford explained of Houston, who has been practicing for the past couple of weeks, rejoining the team and potentially getting back on the field. "It is going to be great but I don't want him to rush back. No one wants him to rush back. I'll hold down the fort. Tamba will hold down the fort. [Frank] Zombo, Dadi [Nicolas], all of us will hold it down until he gets back.
"It will be that much better once he gets back. He has plenty of football left in his tank."