Coverage Mistakes Hurt Secondary

From Arrowhead Stadium

It was one of the more familiar sights from the earliest part of the Chiefs 2011 season.

The other team is celebrating a touchdown pass in the end zone and Chiefs defensive backs and linebackers are looking at each other and trying to figure who made the mistake that allowed that wide open play for a score.

As the Chiefs were putting together their four-game winning streak, those types of scenes diminished and in the last two games all but disappeared.

But they were back Sunday in the loss to Miami, as Dolphins QB Matt Moore threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to TE Anthony Fasano where coverage was blown both times.

“We didn’t play nearly as well as we needed too,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “We have to make big plays for our team. We have to intercept the ball and force turnovers and all those things that help us win games.

“That didn’t get done today.”

The secondary was down two men on Sunday with both SS Jon McGraw (shoulder) and CB Javier Arenas (ankle) declared inactive for the game because of injuries. That put third-year man Donald Washington into the starting lineup at strong safety and Travis Daniels was the nickel back for Arenas.

The first sign of trouble came on Miami’s second offensive possession, when on a 3rd-and-8 play at the Chiefs 45-yard line, the pass from Matt Moore to WR Brandon Marshall went for 20 yards and a first down. Marshall was wide open on the play, with no coverage man without five yards of him.

Pointed words were thrown on the field in the direction of Washington after that play. They certainly were three plays later, when on a 1st-and-goal play at the Chiefs 3-yard line, TE Anthony Fasano came off the line and got behind Washington. He was wide open for the short throw from Moore for a touchdown.

“My fault, my call, I should have had him,” said Washington. “I didn’t realize he had gotten that much depth.”

In the second quarter, the Dolphins took over at their 22-yard line when Moore hit back-to-back throws to rookie FB/TE Charles Clay for 21 and 22 yards, moving the ball to the Chiefs 35-yard line. The man in coverage on the first of those plays was Flowers. “He got inside of me and they connected,” Flowers said. “I just missed the ball, but shouldn’t have allowed him to go there.”

On the next play, it was a similar formation and SS Donald Washington came up and tried to get a chuck on Clay, who got away and caught a pass down the middle of the field for 22 yards. Two plays 43 yards. Coming into the game, Clay had caught four passes for 79 yards on the season.

Then, Moore and Fasano hooked up on a 35-yard TD play where the tight end was wide open. That was the type of afternoon it was for the Chiefs defense, and especially the secondary. Mishaps, bad communication, lack of recognition, all the types of mistakes that allows a relatively inexperienced passer to throw for three TDs.

“They had some new wrinkles in, but every team has that every week,” said Flowers. “We have to react better to those things. This was not a performance we could be proud of.”

3 Responses to “Coverage Mistakes Hurt Secondary”

  • November 6, 2011  - Chiefs Crash To Earth Against Dolphins : says:

    [...] SIDEBAR: Coverage mistakes hurt secondary. [...]

  • November 6, 2011  - Blake says:

    Washington looked like complete crap today….

  • November 7, 2011  - Flyboy26 says:

    Sorry to say it, but the Brandons didn’t look much better. Washington looked like McGraw and Piscatelli looked like his usual self. The backs were victimized even more by the lack of pressure on Miami’s QB and the defensive scheme that appeared to be set up by Crennel.

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