Wide receivers and cornerbacks are not the most essential part to winning in the NFL. But for Tyreek Hill and Casey Hayward they have been working to change that narrative. At times, the Kansas City Chiefs offense can go dormant without Hill racing down the field. For example, we saw a sliver of that instance earlier in the season. Meanwhile, Hayward continues to be one of the most underrated corners in the league. He has started to gain more respect lately, but not a ton of people realize how good he can be.
Each of these players have enjoyed hot stretches as of late. We’ll look more into that later. In what could be a pivotal game for both the Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, these two will be counted on in significant roles. Whoever is able to win more battles may have a big chance in determining the outcome of this upcoming contest. With that said, let’s take a look at each player’s attributes and see how they could impact the game on Monday night.
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Overall, Hill’s development as a receiver has been impressive. He entered the league, as merely a gadget player. Or in the words of Jalen Ramsey, a “return specialist.” Each and every year, Hill has become more dangerous as a route runner. Additionally, there seems to be very few times where Hill drops a ball. In big games, Hill has been the go to guy. And generally, he has come through in big ways. When he gets going in contests like this, Hill is bound to break off a big play or a long touchdown.
Consequently, Hill has proved this in his recent stretch. Since returning from injury in Week Six, Hill has scored five touchdowns in five games. The Packers game was the only one where he did not reach the end zone. To boot, he is also averaging 6.6 catches and 108.6 receiving yards in that span. Above all, he continues to come through when the Chiefs need him to the most.
Lean On Me
Tyreek Hill has made it known that he wants to be the one for his team to depend on. That seemed to be the case in the last game, as Patrick Mahomes targeted Hill 19 times. He has continued to say that the team can count on him. This was echoed after the recent victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Hill said, “whenever coach needs me, I told him I’m available whenever you need me. This was a great team win, and we needed a win like this.” The fight that Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs showed in that game will be needed throughout the duration of this stretch run while finishing the season.
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Casey Hayward entered this league highly touted out of Vanderbilt University. The Packers selected him in the second round in the 2012 NFL Draft. The potential was always there. However, it seemed like Hayward struggled to break through the mold in Title Town. The signs and results were there, as he grew to becoming a better player each season. Despite a career best campaign in 2015, the Packers decided not to bring him back. This was likely a shock for Hayward.
On the other hand, free agency worked out to be a blessing in disguise for Casey Hayward. He joined the Chargers in 2016 and has been counted on heavily since his arrival. More importantly, he has returned the favor. Hayward has yet to miss a game for the Chargers. Immediately, he made a huge impact on this team. He generated 98 tackles, 42 pass deflections and 11 interceptions in his first two years in powder blue. The production has yet to slow down for him. Somehow, Hayward continues to be a menace that is forgotten.
Pass The Test
For Tyreek Hill and Casey Hayward, something will have to give. Each player is continuing to have an impressive stretch as of late. Seemingly every week, the Chiefs and Chargers are involved in tight games. This could be the case on Monday too. We talked about Hill’s recent stats. Now, let’s look at Hayward’s numbers to show just how dominate he has been.
Over the last three games, Hayward has better numbers than both Ramsey and Marcus Peters. He has allowed just one catch for six yards on nine targets. To boot, he also has one interception and two pass breakups. If that’s not enough, his season averages are even more amazing. Hayward is averaging just 1.7 receptions, 21.7 yards and 0.1 touchdowns allowed per game this season. Opposing quarterbacks have a QB rating of just 52.7 when throwing his way. Meanwhile, receivers have a measly 47.2 percent catch rate against Hayward. Will the daunting duo of Mahomes and Tyreek Hill be enough to best Casey Hayward? This should be a more than intriguing matchup on Monday Night Football.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.