7 things the KC Chiefs must do to beat the Miami Dolphins

Heading into the Week 9 showdown against the Miami Dolphins, what must the KC Chiefs do in order to bounce back and improve to 7-2?
Oct 15, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs with
Oct 15, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs with / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 7

3. Pressure Tua Tagovailoa, but be careful when blitzing

Another one of the fundamentals of winning in the NFL is pressuring the opposing quarterback. Like pretty much every quarterback in football, Tua Tagovailoa is much worse when under pressure. He becomes more reckless and his accuracy takes a significant dip. His passer rating drops from 119.8 when kept clean (tied for 1st) to 55.8 when under pressure (28th).

What makes Tua stand out is that he's lethal against the blitz. According to Pro Football Focus ($), Tagovailoa is the highest-graded quarterback in 2023 against the blitz at 92.0 (no other quarterback is above 82.0). He's also 1st in adjusted completion percentage, 2nd in passer rating, 3rd fastest in average time to throw, and is one of only three signal-callers to not have a turnover-worthy play when blitzed, despite being blitzed on 96 dropbacks. Despite being blitzed 96 times so far this season, Tagovailoa has only scrambled once, so that won't be as much of a concern for the KC defense.

What does all of this mean? The Kansas City front four has to generate pressure by themselves in this game. Given the caliber of receivers that Miami has and how accurate Tua is, letting him sit in the pocket without trouble for several seconds is asking for trouble. If Steve Spagnulo has to send a fifth or even sixth rusher to generate some kind of pressure, the odds of Tyreek Hill and/or Jaylen Waddle burning them on a given.

Tua is brilliant against the blitz for a multitude of reasons. First, he's a smart player who can recognize when a blitz is coming and how to adjust his protection accordingly. Second, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is one of the best offensive minds in football and is excellent at designing check-downs and blitz beaters for his quarterback. Third, Hill is about as good of a separator as there is in the NFL. He can get open lightning fast (as every Chiefs fan knows), so that gives Tua a reliable safety valve when in trouble.

If Chris Jones, Charles Omenihu, George Karlaftis, and the rest of the defensive line can get pressure on Tua Tagovailoa by themselves, the Chiefs will win this game going away. Mark my words. If not, this game will be very, very close.

The Dolphins have a decent offensive line, but the unit is currently dealing with multiple injuries and has its weak spots, especially on the interior. Kansas City is capable of getting pressure without blitzing, but it's a must against an offense like Miami's. I'm not saying that Steve Spagnuolo shouldn't blitz at all. But if he does, he needs to tread lightly as it could be deadly.