EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It was a happy homecoming for Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco.
The Vineland, New Jersey native was excited to back to his home state and play in MetLife Stadium for the first time in his life. That’s because Vineland is in South New Jersey, and the second-year running back grew up as a Philadelphia Eagles fan and has been to Lincoln Financial Field previously.
With the New York Jets keeping the game close on Sunday night for Kansas City, Pacheco’s play on the ground was crucial.
“Let’s strain, let’s finish,” Pacheco said that he told his offensive line during the grueling 23-20 win that the Chiefs pulled out. “That was the mindset.”
158 total yards (115 rushing, 43 receiving) and the opening touchdown of the game from Pacheco was crucial to the Chiefs offense with the Jets defense holding them to three points in the second half.
“It was a great feeling,” Pacheco said. “Never been in this stadium before.
“First professional, real football game inside this stadium. It was a great feeling and blessed to see my family here supporting me. Not only that, get a victory.”
“If I had to pick somebody out there, I’d pick Pacheco out for the nice job that he had tonight,” head coach Andy Reid said.
“He’s Jersey’s own man,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “He went to Rutgers, he played in Jersey, he loves it. Kind of how I am with Texas. He has a lot of pride in it. And so I can see it from the first snap, you could see it in his eyes. This meant more to him. He did a great job.”
For a Chiefs passing offense that has been less than stellar through the first four games, Pacheco and the running game will be needed for a team that has the defense to keep them in any game.
Holding off a Jets comeback is the sign of a team that is vulnerable but also creates defending Super Bowl champions.
“It shows you how much we play for one another,” Pacheco said. “Not only that, we got a lot more ball to play and a lot more time to build with each other.”