Chiefs’ opportunistic defense makes Ravens pay for mistakes

BALTIMORE – Defensive end Mike DeVito, a nine-year pro, knows defense having played on stout units with the New York Jets before signing a free-agent contract with the Chiefs in 2013.

Dec. 20, 2015; Baltimore, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) runs past Ravens quarterback Jimmy Clausen for a pick-six touchdown at M&T Bank Stadium. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Dec. 20, 2015; Baltimore, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) runs past Ravens quarterback Jimmy Clausen for a pick-six touchdown at M&T Bank Stadium. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

So, take DeVito’s word when he provided high praise of his teammates after Sunday’s 34-14 win over the Baltimore Ravens in a contest that saw the Chiefs score two defensive touchdowns.

“I tell you what, this is the best defense I’ve ever been on,” DeVito said, “and I’ve been around some really good defenses.”

Kansas City enjoyed a historic day against the Ravens, becoming the first team in NFL history to win eight straight games after a losing streak of at least five games.

But the defense stole the spotlight from that remarkable run after propelling the Chiefs into the record books as the first team in NFL history with a 70-plus yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 90-plus yard interception for a touchdown in the same game.

Safety Tyvon Branch scored after scooping up a fumble and returning it 73 yards, while rookie cornerback Marcus Peters had a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown, marking his second pick-six of the season.

“That’s our defense,” Branch said. “We all go to the ball and that’s the name of the game, running to the football and making plays.”

The last time the Chiefs had two defensive touchdowns in a game came against the Buffalo Bills in Week 9 of the 2013 season when outside linebacker Tamba Hali scored on an 11-yard fumble return for a touchdown and cornerback Sean Smith had a pick-six returned for 100 yards.

With the two touchdowns Sunday, the Chiefs now have six defensive scores on the 2015 season. Peters and Branch each have two, with the others going to outside linebacker Justin Houston and rookie inside linebacker Ramik Wilson.

“I had the tight end and he bailed,” Peters said of his pick-six against Ravens quarterback Jimmy Clausen. “So it always helps when someone’s falling, capitalizing on the mistakes. So, I took the ball from him and just scored.”

Taking advantage of an opponent’s mistakes seems much easier in 2015 after the Chiefs saw just one defensive player, Husain Abdullah, score a touchdown in 2014.

“These guys can score,” DeVito said. “We have so much speed in the back end and that makes it easier on us on the front to get there because they’re covering everybody.”

Peters continued his excellent rookie campaign, recording two interceptions to go along with three tackles and four passes defensed, boosting his season total to a franchise-record 23 passes defensed for rookies.

DeVito raved about Peters’ performance, offering the highest compliment.

“He’s special, man,” DeVito said. “He reminds me of (New York Jets cornerback Darrelle) Revis when Revis came out. I’m grateful to be a part of this group.”

Meanwhile, Sunday’s contest also marked the fifth straight game the Chiefs defense has shut out an opponent in the fourth quarter, where the team holds an eye-popping 50-0 point differential during that span.

And the players on offense certainly appreciate their defensive teammates.

“I really feel like, especially on this run, they’ve kind of got that going, that mojo, which is nice,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “I feel like we got up and the defense you kind of see them salivate sort of speak.”

Running back Charcandrick West, who had a 38-yard touchdown run, agreed with Smith.

“It’s amazing,” West said. “That’s more rest for us, too, but I like to see that. We got a great defense, we got a great team.”

The Chiefs defense finished Sunday’s game with two sacks, two interceptions, two touchdowns and a forced fumble.


Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.