Chiefs Sunday Success A Result of Greater Practice Focus, Per Andy Reid

The Chiefs had six interceptions off of New York’s Ryan Fitzpatrick

The defensive effort the Kansas City Chiefs displayed on Sunday afternoon wasn't only extraordinary. It was also borderline abnormal.

The Jets lost the football via fumble on two separate occasions, and the Chiefs picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick six times, including five in the second half, en route to a dominating 24-3 victory. It was an eye-popping total of eight turnovers.

So where did this come from?

To quote legendary Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson from his NBA career's most famous press conference, "We're talking about practice, man."

Last Wednesday, when the Chiefs took the field for practice, it was uncomfortably warm. The temperature was in the lower 90s, and it would remain that way for the workout's duration.

"You were here on Wednesday, right?" Berry asked Mitch Holthus on the most recent episode of Chiefs Rewind. "So you know what the weather was like. That was a long practice. That was a tough practice. It was very hot, but the guys, we fought through it, and it showed up today—just having mental toughness and that grit and determination to get things done. We were never focused on the score. It was always just focusing on playing the next play, trying to make turnovers and trying to make stops."

In the locker room after the game, two other defensive players—Phillip Gaines and Marcus Peters—went out of their way to mention the week of preparation as well.

"We had a wonderful week of practice," Peters said. "We knew what we were going up against. They've got a difficult core of receivers and we wanted to play a brand of Chiefs football."

Prior to the game against the Jets, the Chiefs had just two takeaways—both Peters interceptions—so far this season. Peters had two of Kansas City's six picks on Sunday, and thanks to him and his fellow defenders, the Chiefs now stand alone atop the league leaderboard with 10 takeaways.

When asked about the practice effort by the defense during his Monday afternoon press conference, Andy Reid confirmed he noticed the uptick in energy last week.

"I thought their focus was better than the week before," Reid said. "It's a tough deal because you're getting a lot thrown at you in the meetings before the practice. The heat was up a little bit the last two Wednesdays, so that can throw your concentration off a little bit. They focused in. I thought they did better."

Reid identified Berry, who also had his first pick of the season on Sunday, as the driving force behind the refocus of the defense.

"Eric was a big part of that," Reid added. "He kind of drives that on that side of the ball as one of the leaders. I just thought the communication and energy level was up."

Berry, 27, is now remarkably already in his seventh season in the National Football League.

After the Chiefs gave up 351 net yards in the 19-12 loss to the Houston Texans, he seemingly knew it was time to say something, and the Chiefs responded.

Days like Sunday drive that message home.

"It was cool," Berry said. "The guys are starting to see that when we practice like we did, it starts to translate into Sundays."

After taking the ball away more than any Chiefs team has since 1975, it's doubtful the defense will need any of that added incentive anytime soon.

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