From Arrowhead Stadium
Over the last three years, he’s been the other Brandon in the Chiefs secondary.
With teammate Brandon Flowers getting the attention and the notoriety as one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL, Brandon Carr was just the guy on the other corner.
But with Flowers hurting on Sunday, Brandon Carr stepped up and played what may have been the best game of his young career. Every time it seemed like there was an open Broncos receiver, there was No. 39 coming in at the last minute and knocking the ball away.
The Broncos completed a big pass in the middle of the field, but then here came Carr, applying a big hit to WR Jabar Gaffney and turning the completion into an incompletion. It seemed like he was everywhere.
“From the sideline I thought he played a terrific game as did the rest of the pass defense,” said head coach Todd Haley. “The back-end guys were off the charts. Brandon Carr, we keep asking him to step up with some of the other guys beat up and not being at 100 percent, playing with a lot of different guys. Brandon Carr has continued to take big steps.”
One of the stats that reveals the type of game that Carr and the secondary had would be the performance of Denver WR Brandon Lloyd. The Blue Springs product came into the game as the NFL leader in receiving yardage with 1,122 yards. But on this Sunday, Lloyd was a non-factor. He had 11 passes thrown his way, but he made just two catches for 31 yards. Lloyd dropped one after taking a jarring shot from Carr. There were at least three more fired towards Lloyd that Carr knocked down.
The performance matched up with the goal for Carr.
“We wanted to shut him down,” Carr said of Lloyd. “We had something to prove based on what they did to us last time. He’s a big-time receiver with some big numbers. That was my main focus, to shut him down and make them beat us in other ways.”
Lloyd caught six passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns in the first game between the teams.
“It was an embarrassing loss,” Carr said of that game. “That’s not how we play. That stuck in our mind all week. We had something to prove out there.”
Carr had his hands on three or four passes in the game, but couldn’t come up with an interception to save his life. “I need somebody’s hands,” Carr said. “I wish I could have come down with them. This week, I need to do a lot of ball drills and work on focusing in on those balls.”
It is not often when given the opportunity that Haley will talk at length about one of his players. He’s very aware of not blowing up a player’s head based on one performance. But there was not reticence on his part to talk about Carr.
“This is a guy he comes to work every day and he epitomizes the same guy every day,” said Haley. “You can count on him; he’s like clockwork. He’ll be there at the same time in the same spot. There’s not a lot of variance. That’s a good sign. He’s hungry to continue to get better and I think you are starting to see him make progress. That’s a really good thing for us. As we get healthier back there and Brandon Carr continues to be better, then all of a sudden we have a chance to be really good.
“You can see him getting better and better every day in practice, gaining confidence, making big hits, knocking the ball out. He had his hands on the ball a couple of times. I would have loved if he had come up with it but he still made some really nice plays.”