The Kansas City Chiefs look to break a 2o-year, 6-game, playoff losing streak Saturday afternoon on the road against the Indianapolis Colts. These same Colts visited Arrowhead less than two weeks ago and pretty much routed a lackluster group of Chiefs.
One of Andrew Luck‘s most effective plays in that game was the crossing pattern underneath the defense. Chiefs defenders had a tough time working around the evidently now legal picks by wide receivers (Not ragging on the Colts; every team uses them to some extent).
Whether this was incompetence on the Chiefs part, a lack of effort, or just not being mentally into the game, it doesn’t matter. Kansas City had a hard time stopping it, and must improve mightily.
The Chiefs’ secondary must be better Saturday at shutting down this pass route. The corners must fight through the picks, and blanket the Colts’ receivers as they cross the field. Kansas City cannot let them catch the ball in space and run for big gains afterward.
Kansas City’s Pro Bowl cornerback, Brandon Flowers must be at the top of his game to shut down the Colts emerging young star at receiver, T.Y. Hilton. Flowers will probably draw Hilton more often than not, and Flowers must take away the middle of the field with tight coverage.
Hilton had 82 catches in 2013 for 1,083 yards so he can be a handful, but he is not the only weapon Luck has at his disposal. Coby Fleener, at 6’6″, 247 pounds, is a big talented tight end who has evolved into the second leading pass catcher on this team. He produced 52 receptions for 608 yards on the season, and Eric Berry will probably see his fair share of Fleener.
The receiver that hurt the Chiefs the most in Arrowhead was the immortal Griff Whalen, who snagged 7 of his 24 catches in 2013 against the Chiefs. A few of his receptions against Kansas City came on these crossing patterns. The secondary has to shut this down, or at the very least, stay close enough to the receivers to tackle before they get moving with the ball.
The first indication of just how good a cornerback is in the NFL is how little he is mentioned in the game. Discounting the game in San Diego last week, when he was inactive, we haven’t heard much of Flowers’ name in games of late. He has been playing very well.
No corner goes without ever getting torched; the receivers in the NFL too good, and the rules are set up to benefit the offensive players in the passing game.
Brandon Flowers doesn’t get torched too often. There is a reason he is considered a top flight corner, and is going to the Pro Bowl. The dude can cover. He has battled some injuries, missing two games earlier in the season, but it hasn’t affected his play.
The announcers don’t mention his name much in the course of games because the opposing quarterbacks are either throwing away from him, or he has his man well covered more times than not.
If the Chiefs are going to win their first playoff game in 20 years, the secondary is going to have to buckle down and cover better than they have for much of the season. Brandon Flowers will surely do his part.
Watch to see how many times Andrew Luck throws toward number 24. Note how many plays Flowers makes.
The spotlight will be shining bright on Brandon Flowers. If he does his job, that spotlight might not even be able to find him.