On Sunday evening, the Kansas City Chiefs will be playing in the AFC’s Divisional Round for the sixth straight season — and their creativity in defensive play-calls could be a big reason why.
“Look at our last game... we played seven (or) eight different coverages,” cornerback Trent McDuffie told a gaggle of reporters ahead of Wednesday’s practice, as the team prepared for its road matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
During Saturday’s convincing 26-7 Wild Card win over the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City even deployed a dummy defense: showing single-high safety coverage before the snap and then rolling back to two-high coverage during the play.
Spags showing Tua 2-high to 1-high back to 2-high— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) January 14, 2024
This is the defensive equivalent to Reid’s ring-around-the-Rosie play pic.twitter.com/IO8mJ9ykVU
“I keep telling the coaches,” joked McDuffie, “if you need me at safety I can always do it.”
The two-to-one/one-to-two defensive play-call not only went viral, but also confused Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa It led to a tipped interception that set the Chiefs up in prime field position.
“I love when [Spagnulo] gets to go in there and kind of just mess with the offense,” remarked the All-Pro cornerback. “I feel like it’s such a mind game with this defense. We do a lot of good things — and have a lot of players who are able to be cerebral and do their job the correct way — so I’ve had a lot of fun playing in Spags’ defense.’’
Kansas City wasn’t limited to just patrolling the skies, either. The defense also controlled Miami’s ground game, holding breakout rookie De’Von Achane and veteran Raheem Mostert to just 42 rushing yards. In Sunday’s matchup, that will be another priority for a Chiefs defense that Buffalo running back James Cook burned for 140 total yards in the teams’ first meeting on December 10.
“I feel like in this defense we can do a lot of things one way… and a lot of things a different way — and all play the same way,” said McDuffie. “So again, that’s why I say it goes back to Spags’ mastermind.”