Tyreek Hill couldn’t wait for his chance to score a touchdown against the Chiefs. He had a special celebration planned, apparently including a message to Kansas City coach Andy Reid that he shouldn’t have traded Hill.
Now, Hill will have to wait for his next game against the Chiefs to unleash it.
The Kansas City defense neutralized Hill on Sunday. After the game played in Frankfurt, Germany, Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie explained to PFT the strategy for containing one of the most dangerous receivers in league history.
“We knew we had to get hands on him,” McDuffie said. “A guy like that — explosive, fast. I mean, he can really do it all, make all the plays. So, trying to limit those explosive plays, mess up that timing of the offense with him and Tua [Tagovailoa] was a huge thing for us tonight.”
It was smart, and it was effective. When Hill is given a chance to run free, he tends to run right by people.
McDuffie, who arrived in round one of the draft not long after Hill was traded, relied on “all the offensive guys” for tips when it came to defending their former teammate.
He said that cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, a fourth-round pick in 2020, studied training-camp film of one-on-one battles with Hill from 2021, “just game planning off of what he saw, how he knows him, and I feel like he was a huge help and he did really great tonight,” McDuffie said.
The biggest defensive play came late in the second quarter, when the Dolphins were driving in a 14-0 game. McDuffie swarmed Hill after he caught a screen pass, ripping the ball free and sparking a recovery, a lateral, and a long return for a touchdown.
“It was pretty easy seeing that play develop and seeing the throw, because Tyreek was my man. So once that throw happened, I triggered on it and [was] lucky enough to make a play on the ball and strip it out.”
McDuffie gave credit to his teammates who handled the rest, from Mike Edwards recovering the fumble to Bryan Cook motoring 59 yards to the end zone.
“I think Mike just made a hell of a play just pitching it back to ‘B’ Cook because once he got the ball, I know all I heard was ‘Pitch it! Pitch it! Pitch it!’” McDuffie said. “Lucky enough, he was right behind him, caught it and man, I’ve got to say, Bryan Cook looked real fast on that touchdown return.”
Yes he did. And those points made the difference, given that the Chiefs offense scored no further points in the game. It helped that Hill had only 62 receiving yards for the game.
Did they have a number the Chiefs were trying to keep Hill under?
“Honestly, we don’t talk about that, but I know for us on the back end, we’ll say under 100 yards,” McDuffie said. “We don’t want any receiver to have over 100 yards on us, man. That’s kind of been the standard throughout this entire year.”
That standard has contributed to quarterback Patrick Mahomes telling NBC’s Peter King on the field after the game that the Chiefs have the best defense in the league.
What does McDuffie think of that assessment?
“I think I’ve been saying that along with him all the way back to OTAs,” McDuffie said. “Just seeing how we came back after our Super Bowl win and got straight back to work and everybody’s intent and attention to detail was just so elite and knowing that this defense has [Steve Spagnuolo] calling the defense and it keeps that pressure on us and everybody’s kind of just rising to the occasion. I keep saying this is one of the best defenses I’ve played on and definitely one of the best defenses in the league.”
It’s one of the big reasons the Chiefs are now 7-2 and currently in possession of the No. 1 seed in the AFC.