KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have a tall task ahead of them to stop former teammate and Miami Dolphin star Tyreek Hill.
Hill anchors one of the fastest offenses in the NFL as the league’s leading receiver with 1,014 yards and eight touchdowns, a historic pace.
Miami’s quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL with 2,416 passing yards and 18 TDs.
As if their passing attack wasn’t lethal enough, they also have a dynamic rushing attack with running back Raheem Mostert leading the league with 10 TDs and is only sixth with 520 rushing yards.
Hill had some friendly trash talk for his former teammates.
“They are going to get this work wherever though. Y’all can use that. Bulletin board material,” Hill said in Germany on Thursday.
But Hill also has great appreciation for his astonishing moments with the team he helped lead to its first Super Bowl in 50 years. He’s excited to see Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman in Frankfurt.
“I just look back at that time and say, man, just a young guy trying to find himself in the league,” he said. “I was able to learn from so many guys. I was able to mature so fast because I was able to step into a receiver role and it was a lot. I kind of took that on and I didn’t look back. The coaching staff trusted me there. I absolutely loved every minute of it. I wouldn’t take none of it back. So yeah, it was fun times definitely just thinking back whenever I was in KC.”
A lot of the focus is on the speedster who is closing in on 30 and the entire offense that the Chiefs hope to slow down with their top-scoring defense.
While the Chiefs gave up a season-high 24 points to the Denver Broncos last game, they held them to 240 yards and under passing 100 yards.
That won’t be so easy this week but the key to stalling the newest ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ is disrupting the rhythm of the offense.
“It’s one thing to be a drop-back team and be rhythm because you know as soon as the lineman pass set, you’re in a pass rush mode as a D-Line and then you go from there,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said Thursday.
“This team has a lot of play-action rhythm passing. Everybody up front has to at least respect that it could be a run, and then, boom, all of a sudden it’s a pass play and he’s getting the ball out really quick. That’s what he’s really good at. I think that’s one of the main reasons for the success and the high percentage completion rate.”
Safety Justin Reid expressed the need to be physical with the Dolphins’ speed at receiver to keep them contained.
“I think it’s important to be physical when you can,” Reid said on Thursday. “When you have an opportunity to take a shot on them legally, you wanna take every one of those. Don’t let them just slide down or run out of bounds if you don’t have to let them. Make sure you put them on the ground.”
Reid made an interesting point when he explained that stopping Miami’s rushing attack would stall Hill’s effect on the game.
“Stopping the run puts you in a situation that you can make coverage calls that allow you to have extra coverage on him,” he said. “If you don’t stop the run and they’re running the ball down your throat all day, you have to load the box and at that point, you get one-on-one coverage on the outside which is where Tyreek takes over and he starts getting all these bombs over Baghdad big throws.”
“We’ve got to play it honest, stop the run first, hopefully get them in longer down-and-distances, so we know what they’re going to do, then try to disrupt them,” Spagnuolo said.
The Chiefs’ run defense has been the Achilles heel of its mighty unit. They are giving up almost five yards a carry and have given more than 100 rushing yards in every game except against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings.
The element of the players adjusting to the cross-continental travel could loom large for the game as well which makes it unpredictable as a whole.
The defense will have their chance to stop the dynamic offense on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.