Bill Belichick cites double covering Tyreek Hill as a key to the Patriots’ victory
Nobody in the NFL is better at taking away an opponent’s most dangerous offensive weapon than New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and that’s exactly what he did with Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill on Sunday.
During New England’s 37-31 overtime victory over Kansas City in the AFC Championship game, the explosive Hill was held to just one catch, and his only other touch of the day came on a punt return where he ran backward before losing 11 yards.
This wasn’t be accident. The Patriots double-covered Hill throughout the game, and while the Chiefs eventually adjusted to score 31 points, they were forced to play from behind almost from start to finish after getting shutout in the first half.
In a video breakdown of the win for the team’s website, Belichick highlighted a pair of key plays in the first half where double-covering Hill allowed New England to get two crucial sacks. Transcribed by Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith:
“The first third down play of the game we double cover Hill,” Belichick said. “Mahomes is trying to throw the ball in this general area and there’s the double coverage on Hill. That gives our rush an opportunity to get there.”
From the All-22 angle you can clearly see the safety offering help on Hill. Mahomes doesn’t move off that read quick enough before Kyle Van Noy gets to him to force a three-and-out immediately after the Patriots opened the game with a 15-play, eight-minute touchdown drive.
The second play highlighted by Belichick came later in the first half, shortly after Mahomes missed Damien Williams on a wheel route for an easy touchdown. This sack took Kansas City out of field-goal range.
“Another double coverage play here on Hill, a similar play,” Belichick said. “The coverage here is really good, nobody’s really open, Devin’s over the top on Hill, so as Mahomes tries to extend the play and get out, Trey Flowers is able to make the play from the back side. I think that saved us a sure three points.”
All-in-all, neutralizing Hill was a critical factor in the Patriots coming out victorious to reach their third consecutive Super Bowl.