Lot of talk about T.Y. Hilton, and how best to defend him. The KC Chiefs didn’t exactly draw up a good blueprint for that this past weekend in the AFC Wild Card playoff round. Hilton reeled in 13 passes and a pair of TDs, including the game-winner as the Colts completed the 2nd greatest comeback in postseason history. But trust me when I tell you, Hilton’s more Victor Cruz than Jeremy Kerley, and he will test this Patriots secondary.
The first issue for the Pats is finding Hilton. It’s not quite like “Where’s Waldo” but there is an element of that. I counted Hilton’s usage in 11 different formations, and he was targeted out of 8 of those. While primarily considered a slot receiver, and certainly most dangerous in that role, Hilton can do a lot more than that.
Here’s a look at four of those looks, with Hilton circled for identification purposes.
During the course of the Chiefs game, Hilton ran a variety of routes, but is was a basic out route that help set up the game winner. We’ll take you back to the 2nd quarter for the set up.
Working out of trips, Hilton lines up as the insider receiver. The outside WR runs a go route, clearing out the underneath area vs a KC secondary that’s playing quarters coverage . . . which is 4 defensive backs essentially responsible for a quarter of the field.
However two DB’s bite on the go route and Hilton slides into a huge vacancy.
It results in a 24 yard completion, one of several successful out routes vs. this and other looks from the Chiefs defense.
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Fast forward to the 4th quarter. Hilton lines up as the middle receiver in trips left. The Chiefs decided they want to slow him down, so they get a half-assed jam on him.
It’s useless. Hilton quickly recovers and gets into his route. He reads that it’s quarters coverage, but here’s where the previous success breaking toward the sidelines pays dividends.
Check out the safety. He turns his hips and shoulders toward the sidelines.
He thinks the out is coming. Hilton quickly reacts, breaking toward the post. The DB is toast now, the cost of turning his hips.
Hilton is a 4.3 40 guy, meaning the only hope for the Chiefs is that the other safety can somehow get over in time. Sorry, Charlie. That’s not happening. Too much ground to cover. Luck lays the ball up there and Hilton is a clear two steps behind the last line of defense.