Chiefs' run defense still needs work

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Kansas City Chiefs head into their bye after 22-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday with a 2-3 record and a few things to clean up for the season’s final 11 games.

Atop that list is their run defense. The Chiefs had another tough day in that regard against the 49ers, allowing Frank Gore to run for 107 yards and Carlos Hyde to gain an additional 43.

Gore is only the second opposing runner to gain more than 100 yards against the Chiefs this season. Miami’s Lamar Miller had 108 in a game two weeks ago.

But in total, the Chiefs are allowing an unhealthy 4.8 yards per carry. Against the 49ers, the Chiefs’ defensive front was often pushed backward.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Gore gained just 20 yards after contact. He had 87 yards on his 18 carries, or 4.8 yards per attempt, before contact. The league average on Sunday was 2.7 yards before contact.

To some extent, the problems in the run defense are understandable. The Chiefs have played their past three games without four of their best run defenders: linebackers Derrick Johnson and Joe Mays, end Mike DeVito and safety Eric Berry.

Johnson and DeVito are out for the season, each with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Mays and Berry should return later in the season.

In the meantime, the Chiefs need to make the necessary adjustments. Their season depends on it.

"Nobody’s going to take it easy on us just because we’ve got some backups in our lineup," nose tackle Dontari Poe said. "If they’re in there, they’ve got to play like starters."