Chiefs vs. Chargers: Tyrann Mathieu was proud of defensive effort

Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu says he was proud of the players and his defensive coordinator after the team’s win over the Chargers.

The Kansas City Chiefs defense stepped up and saved the day on Monday Night Football. That’s a statement not made often in Chiefs Kingdom over the last few years.

With the installation of Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator, the hope was the team’s recent misfortunes on defense would be remedied with the exit of Bob Sutton. General manager Brett Veach imported new veteran leaders in a rollercoaster of a single offseason. Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu were brought in as Dee Ford and Justin Houston were shown the exit.

The early going wasn’t too pretty as the Chiefs offense carried the team for the first month, but the defense started to look the part at midseason in a dominant performance against the Denver Broncos. Since then, the defense has continued to look very solid at times in close games against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. Everything was progressing as hoped until last week when the Titans steamrolled the defense despite knowing they were going to run the ball.

Alas, this week, everything looks back on track for the defense, and Matheiu says he’s proud of the team’s collective effort, including Spagnuolo’s leadership.

“Collectively as a defense, I thought we played together, communicated consistently throughout the game, and then coach Spags made some great calls today,” said Mathieu to reporters after the game.

Mathieu definitely did his part with an interception from Philip Rivers on which he brought the ball back 10 yards from the end zone.

Mathieu also dropped another easy interception a bit later in the game.

“We run that coverage a lot, so it really puts me in a position to read the quarterback and really use my instincts to make a play. I was very fortunate that Rivers didn’t see me and threw it to me. I’m happy I caught that one. The second one, kinda mad about that one. That was kind of a freebie. I thought our defense bounced back, had my back, so we were able to recover from that.”

Mathieu said the team relished the chance at the end of the game to be the ones to close things out.

“I think it’s all about really staying together through the ups and the downs,” said Mathieu. “We’ve been able to do that defensively. Before last week, it felt like we were playing pretty decent defense. Then last week, we kinda let the game get away from us. We absolutely wanted to be in this situation again and I thought we responded well. I thought we responded the right way. I’m happy my guys came up with the big play.”

The Chiefs now enter the bye week with some additional time to get ready to face the Raiders for the second time this year.