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Looking at the Chiefs' Top "Under the Radar" Performances in 2017

A guy dominates against his former team, an under-appreciated group helps pave the way for league-leader, and more

The Kansas City Chiefs finished the 2017 season with a 10-6 record and in the process won back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history.

And while there were plenty of performances from players and groups that got plenty of pub throughout the season, such as the fact that the Chiefs became just the second team in NFL history (San Diego Chargers, 1981) to have a 4,000-yard passer (Alex Smith), as well as a 1,000-yard rusher (Kareem Hunt), a 1,000-yard receiver (Tyreek Hill) and a 1,000-yard tight end (Travis Kelce), there were also a handful of performances that may have flown a bit under the radar.

For some die-hard fans (and not of the Nakatomi variety), these performances may not necessarily be under the radar for you, but they should still find their way into the memory banks of those wanting to know how the Chiefs fared in 2017, and more importantly, how they got there.

So, here are five Chiefs' performances in 2017 that may have flown under the radar:

Reggie Ragland's Performance Against the Buffalo Bills

The Bills selected Ragland in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Alabama, and after suffering a knee injury in August that forced him to miss his entire rookie year, Ragland fell out of favor with the Bills.

According to reports at the time, Ragland wasn't progressing in his rehab at the rate they had hoped, and so, barely a year after the injury, he was available via trade.

That's when Chiefs' general manager Brett Veach, who hadn't been on the job but a couple of months, made the call to the Bills and ultimately traded for Ragland—the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year for Alabama just two years earlier.

Once acclimated to the Chiefs' system, Ragland got his first start against the Redskins in Week 4, but it wasn't until Week 11, when the Chiefs hosted the Bills at Arrowhead, that Ragland looked back to being the player who many believed was a steal for the Bills in the second round the year before. He looked to be fully healthy coming back from the torn ACL.

Now, he found himself standing on the opposite sideline from the team who drafted him.

Coming into the game, Ragland said he didn't feel any ill-will towards the Bills or any of their players, many of whom he still stayed in touch with.

"We're always talking junk, friendly, but we know how it's going to be this week…it's business," Ragland said earlier that week.

Well, business was good for Ragland that day. He was everywhere—finishing with a team-high nine tackles (eight solo), including three for loss. He was a huge reason that Bills' running back LeSean McCoy, who finished fourth in the league in rushing with more than 1,100 yards, had just 49 yards on 22 carries (2.2 ypc) in that game.

The burst—the instinct—the physicality, Ragland showed it all that day.

While it's true that takeaways and game-changing individual plays are often remembered the most, the individual performance from Ragland against his former team may have flown under the radar for many, but it's hopefully just a sign of things to come for a player who may be leading the middle of the Chiefs' defense for years to come.

The Offensive Line's Performance over the Course of the Season

It's almost cliché to say at this point, but unless an offensive line is getting called for a penalty, or the quarterback is consistently getting picked up off the ground, the offensive line can go a game—a few games, or even an entire season, without being praised or talked about much.

But it also says something about an offensive line when the running back, particularly a rookie running back like the Chiefs' Kareem Hunt, takes home the league's rushing title.

Hunt finished the year with 1,327 yards rushing on 272 carries (4.9 ypc) with eight touchdowns.

Much of Hunt's success can be attributed to the guys up front successfully doing their jobs, and while every player and every position group for any team across the league will say they can get better, the numbers don't lie.

Furthermore, the Chiefs offensive line paved the way in obvious running situations—finishing among the best in the league in third-and-1 rushing attempts at a conversion clip of 86.7 percent, which was seventh-best in the league.

Mitchell Schwartz's Snap Streak Continued

If there's one guy along the offensive line that that doesn't seem to get the credit he deserves, whether it's in media attention or more importantly in Pro Bowl nominations, it's Chiefs' right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

In six years as an NFL player, Schwartz hasn't missed a single snap, which is currently an NFL record after the Cleveland Browns' future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas suffered a triceps injury late in the year and was subsequently placed on Injured Reserve.

According to Pro Football Focus, Schwartz was tagged with allowing just three quarterback hits in more than 1,000 snaps last season. There wasn't a right tackle in football who played at least 75 percent of his team's snaps that allowed fewer.

Harrison Butker Comes Out of Nowhere

Butker wasn't even a member of the Chiefs until the fourth week of the season, but he's now in the NFL record books with the sixth-most made field goals for a kicker in a season in league history.

Sure, people want touchdowns and not field goals—understood, but it's pretty nice when your kicker is reliable enough to make them at a rate of better than 90 percent on the year.

Butker finished the regular season 38 of 42 on field goal attempts, including a stretch of 23-straight, which was also a franchise record. He hit 4 of 5 from 50-plus and was 28 of 28 on extra point attempts.

The fact that Veach picked up a kicker who was as reliable as Butker was for nothing—signing him off the Panthers' practice squad and he's still on his rookie contract, is one of the most under the radar pickups and performances of the season.

Albert Wilson Steps Up Against the Redskins

Wilson had the best season of his four-year career in 2017, finishing with 42 receptions for 554 yards and three touchdowns.

And while most people will point to his performance in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos as his best game of the season—hauling in 10 passes from rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes  for 147 yards—the performance that shouldn't be overlooked was how he stepped up in Week 4 against the Redskins.

Wilson's 37-yard reception up the right sideline with less than a minute remaining on a broken play was the key play that set up Butker's game-winning 43-yard field goal with less than 10 seconds left in the game.

After the game, Chiefs' coach Andy Reid called Wilson the "unsung" hero of the game, and despite finishing with just four catches for 63 yards—Wilson made the most important catch of the day.

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