The pass coverage was much improved
While the run defense was an issue in this game, the pass coverage was the best it’s been so far this season. While the Ravens may have ended the game with a respectable 249 yards passing, there is no question that the overall coverage was better. After allowing over 70% of opposing passes to be completed in their first two games they held Lamar Jackson to just a 51.2% completion rate in this game.
While Jackson was able to extend plays at times with his tremendous speed and athleticism, the reason he had to extend them was because there simply wasn’t anyone open early in the play. It had been K.C.’s cornerbacks that had taken most of the heat for coverage issues through the first two games, but they were on it on Sunday. Only 6 of Jackson’s 22 completions went to wide receivers and two of those were 50/50 jump balls that his wideouts were lucky to come down with because the coverage was there.
The Chiefs have obviously been mentioned a lot in the Jalen Ramsey saga, but the cornerback play on Sunday was not a problem. The Chiefs now only have one more game remaining before they get Morris Claiborne back from suspension, which will only boost the position as well. While adding a player of Ramsey’s caliber would certainly be a huge boost to the defense, the Chiefs may not feel that they need to mortgage the future to acquire him if the cornerbacks can play like they did against the Ravens.
Now, I understand that Jackson’s strengths as a quarterback aren’t necessarily his pinpoint accuracy downfield to his receivers, but he had completed 71.9% of his passes with 7 passing touchdowns through his first 2 games, and the Chiefs clearly presented the best coverage he had seen this season. That’s something that the Chiefs can build off of, even if it isn’t the same as stopping Tom Brady in the playoffs.
It should also be noted that Tyrann Mathieu had his best game in coverage so far as well. The Chiefs continue to use him as a hybrid safety/nickel corner, and he was all over the field on Sunday. That combination of improved corner play and Mathieu stepping up as a playmaker is big for this defense. This team’s pass coverage doesn’t have to be elite to make them a Super Bowl contender; they just need to not be terrible. They definitely weren’t terrible against the Ravens.
While it’s certainly not a new development, the offense needs some love for what they did on Sunday as well.