KANSAS CITY, Mo. — D.J. Swearinger wasn’t even sure he could play Monday night in Kansas City because of a hamstring injury, yet the Redskins safety was on the field from start to finish.
Good thing, too. The Redskins might have run out of backup defensive backs.
Star cornerback Josh Norman fractured a rib and is expected to miss a couple of weeks, and backups Quinton Dunbar and Kendall Fuller also went down for parts of the 29-20 loss. Throw in injuries to safety Deshazor Everett, who hurt his hamstring, and backup Montae Nicholson, who hurt the AC joint in the top of his shoulder, and there wasn’t a whole lot of bodies left.
Swearinger and cornerback Bashaud Breeland were joined by at one point by backup safety Stefan McClue and rookie cornerback Fabian Moreau, who is listed third on the depth chart.
“It was tough. I was looking up and I’m like, ‘Man, we’ve got all backups in,” Swearinger said. “It was tough and at the same time, I’ve got to make sure everybody knows what they are doing.
“If your number is called, you’ve got to step up. We’ve got to get better at that as well.”
The Chiefs certainly picked on the replacements. It was Nicholson who was beaten by Albert Wilson on a broken play for a 37-yard gain late in the fourth quarter, which set up Harrison Butker’s 43-yard field goal with 8 seconds left that gave Kansas City the lead.
It wasn’t only the secondary that absorbed injuries, either.
Running back Rob Kelley, who missed last week’s game against Oakland with a rib injury, returned to carry seven times for 23 yards. But he wound up leaving with an ankle injury, leaving Chris Thompson and rookie Samaje Perine to carry the ball the rest of the way.
Left tackle Trent Williams also left for a brief period. His return was crucial because Washington was already missing backup offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe after having surgery to his core muscle, and that meant third-string T.J. Clemmings was briefly pressed into duty.
In other words, it’s a good time for the Redskins to have their bye week.
“We got a lot of guys banged up right now for some reason,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “We got to get them healthy. We play San Francisco at home. Our guys get four or five days off. Hopefully we are in the right state of mind.”
Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who signed a five-year, $41.25 million extension earlier this year, was their only significant injury. He left after getting tangled up blocking for Kareem Hunt on their second offensive play with a left knee injury.
The Chiefs were already playing without center Mitch Morse, who missed his second straight game with a foot sprain, and guard Parker Ehinger, who had surgery for a torn ACL last year. That left three backups manning the interior of the Kansas City offensive line.
“It’s hard to see one of our guys go down,” Chiefs backup center Zach Fulton said, “but we’re all interchangeable as a unit. ‘Next man up,’ that’s our mantra.”
They managed to join left tackle Eric Fisher, who played despite missing practice with back spasms, and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz in paving the way for Hunt to post 101 yards on the ground.
“That’s a tough injury. (Duvernay-Tardif) is a great guy, I love him,” Hunt said. “It’s just tough, but those guys stepped up. They played their hearts out and I couldn’t ask for any more.”