Chiefs’ Travis Kelce gave a shout-out to Leo Chenal for his work in the Super Bowl

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Pro Football Focus said the highest-rated defensive player in the entire 2023 NFL playoffs was the Chiefs linebacker Leo Chenal.

And Chenal’s best game may have come in the Chiefs’ 25-22 overtime win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.

Chenal made an impact on the first drive of the game. The 49ers were on the move when Chenal stripped the ball from Niners running back Christian McCaffrey, and George Karlaftis recovered.

Here is NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger talking about the play.

Ron Kopp Jr. of the Arrowhead Pride blog shared a video of Chenal upsetting San Francisco’s first down plays on multiple occasions.

After the Chiefs had taken their first lead of the game in the third quarter, the 49ers drove 75 yards for a touchdown that gave them a 16-13 lead. Chenal blocked the extra-point attempt, keeping it a three-point game which is a big reason why the Chiefs were able to force overtime.

Kelce praises Chenal

On the “New Heights” podcast breakdown of Super Bowl LVIII, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had high praise for Chenal, whose nickname appears to be “Death Row.”

“A second-year linebacker had his biggest game of his career during the biggest moment for the Chiefs, man,” Kelce said. “Now has two Super Bowl victories in just two seasons in the league. Two for two, that’s a damn good start baby. Finished the game was six total tackles, forced the Christian McCaffrey fumble on the first drive and then blocked the extra-point attempt, keeping it a three point game and giving us a chance to take that thing into overtime, man.

“Huge, huge plays man taking his game to new heights.”

Kelce later said that Chenal, who was a third-round draft pick in 2022 out of Wisconsin, looks like a wrestler turned actor.

“I was making a joke at training camp,” Kelce said. “I was like, ‘Man, this dude’s John Cena in ... pads.’ He’s got the John Cena ... arms and legs and it’s just hilarious. He flies around. One of the best all-around football players. You can throw them on any special teams anywhere ask him to do anything on the defensive side of the ball and he’s gonna ... be there for you. And sure enough to put him on ... field goal block and he gets the biggest block of the season.

“When it happened, I didn’t even realize how big of a block it was. I was like, alright, they just took the lead. They’re up a score. And in my head. I’m like we’ve got to score touchdowns either way. But then we don’t score a touchdown. We kick a field goal and it ties it up and it’s just like, that block was the biggest play in the game. You know, it was like that really catapulted us into like keeping the score in manageable situations.

“So instead of us having to score a touchdown to win the game, we were able to keep our composure and not have to like force it (at the end of regulation). Once we knew we were in field goal range, kind of play a little bit more conservative knowing that we had an overtime, an extra period, to be able to win this thing.”