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Kansas City Chiefs’ Heads-Up Play On D Results In Decisive TD Against Miami Dolphins

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The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Miami Dolphins in their International Series game on Sunday with their defense leading the way, continuing their winning streak in 2023 in the United States.

This time, the Chiefs weren’t satisfied with just holding the typically prolific Dolphins to a season-low number of points in their 21-14 triumph. The game-winning touchdown was also scored by the Chiefs on defense.

Tyreek Hill was tackled by cornerback Trent McDuffie late in the first half, making the play anything but routine. After being surrounded by Dolphins, Mike Edwards, a teammate in Kansas City, picked it up and pitched a lateral to Bryan Cook, a fellow safety, who raced 59 yards to give the Chiefs a 21-0 lead.

When the Chiefs forced the Dolphins to turn the ball over on downs with a chance to tie or win with a touchdown late in the game, they managed to survive the second half.

“Cook was rolling,” said quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who threw a pair of touchdown passes before the defensive TD. “He looked [like] the anchor leg of a four-by-one in track. He got those knees up and was rolling down the field.

“A huge play that obviously mattered a ton at the end of the game.”

McDuffie, a 2022 first-round draft selection, is skilled at wrenching the ball out of the hands of receivers. This was his fourth season-long forced fumble.

“He came up to smack him,” coach Andy Reid said. “That was a pretty aggressive hit and it was a catch and then an immediate hit and then he just went right for the ball, punching it down, which is tough to do as you lay a lick on him like that.”

Hill was playing in his first game against his former team after being traded by the Chiefs to the Dolphins the previous season. Though he had eight catches for 62 yards, the play that stood out the most was the fumble.

“They played two-man coverage and [McDuffie] was unblocked and he came free as soon as I caught it and I didn’t even get a chance to make a move,” Hill said. “That’s the explanation I’ve got for you. They did a good job.”

The clever play to get the ball to Cook was made by Edwards.

“I was about to get tackled and was like, ‘No, we’ve got to do something else,'” Edwards said. “So, I kind of looked back and I [saw] my boy [Cook] and I was like, ‘I trust him.’ You’ve got to have trust to do some stuff like that.”

NFL Next Gen Stats state that Kansas City countered Miami’s speed with a season-high 61% zone coverage. With nine games played, the Chiefs’ point differential of 15.9 per game is the lowest since 2013.

They have the best yards per play since 1999 (4.8) and the best yards per pass attempt since 1988 (6.1) at this point in the season.

After taking over as the starting quarterback in 2018, Mahomes said during training camp that he realized the Chiefs were building their best defensive unit to date. Last season, the Chiefs made significant investments in their defense, selecting McDuffie and defensive end George Karlaftis in the first round, Cook in the second, and additional defensive players in later rounds.

All have a significant impact on how well the defense performs this year.

“We brought back so many people, so many young guys and they were going to develop,” Mahomes said. “But I mean the fact that they’re all developing this fast, I don’t know if anyone could have guessed it, but I knew they were going to be great as their careers went on.

“They’re so good at all three levels. Guys rotate in and they can play. It’s hard to get everybody snaps. That’s how good they are. It’s got to be a top defense in the NFL. [The Dolphins have] a great offense. For them to hold them to 14 points … that’s a tremendous, tremendous job.”

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