The Chiefs are ripping off long gains at an unprecedented rate. They have racked up 27 plays of 20-plus yards through five games.
For years, the staple of the Patriots defense has been its ability to limit big plays. So what gives? The Patriots can design a defense to limit those opportunities. That would likely mean allowing Patrick Mahomes to find some easy completions underneath.
“You certainly don't want to give it all to them in one play,” Belichick said.
Unfortunately for the Pats, the Chiefs have the ability to turn high-percentage throws — wide receiver screens, shallow crossing routes, etc. — into massive gains, too. So taking proper angles will be extra important tonight.
As Belichick said, defenses “hope it's 10 yards” when Tyreek Hill touches the ball. “He can take those slip screens and go 80 yards,” Belichick said. “Yeah, it's a problem. If you play off him, you give him too much space. Play up on him, he gets behind you. He's a hard guy to defend. The quarterback can throw it deep. He stretches the whole field. They have a lot of run-pass option plays. If you stop the run, you're light outside. If you're heavy outside, you're light inside.”