Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco presents challenge for Ravens’ defense

OWINGS MILLS — Running back Isiah Pacheco has played a key role for the Chiefs this postseason, and he’s a player the Ravens will be studying closely this week.

Pacheco had 97 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries — averaging 6.5 yards per rush — in Kansas City’s 27-24 victory over the host Buffalo Bills in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. He also had a 14-yard reception and two runs of 8 and 3 yards on the Chiefs’ final drive that helped seal the victory.

The second-year tailback has 186 yards rushing in two playoff games, which ranks second to the Packers’ Aaron Jones (226). He is expected to get plenty of carries when Kansas City travels to Baltimore for the AFC Championship Game on Sunday at 3 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.

“No. 10 Pacheco, man, that guy is coming downhill,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s hitting it that way, all out. He’s 225 pounds. His knees are up high. He’s rolling, and it’s going to be a big challenge for us to deal with him because he’s as physical as a runner as there is in the league. [He’s] as determined as there is, and we’re going to have to be a physical, determined defense to tackle him.

“I like our guys. I like our guys’ chances. Our guys will be up for it, and we’re going to have to be, because he’s a good runner.” 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, another fast running back, complements Pacheco and is capable of breaking tackles.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is also exceptional at extending plays as a runner. Mahomes has rushed for 60 yards on eight carries (7.5 yards per carry) and has yet to take a sack in the team’s two postseason games. 

The Ravens held the Texans to 38 yards rushing on 14 carries in a 34-10 victory in the division round.

Harbaugh is hoping for the same kind of success against Kansas City.

“They’re running the ball really well,” Harbaugh said. “They’ll come out with three or four kinds of game-plan runs in certain ways. [It’s] nothing that you haven’t seen before, but they dial in on something that they try to exploit. Then,

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