From a yards-allowed and tackling standpoint, the Chiefs were ordinary on Sunday against the Dolphins.
Miami moved the ball steadily in the first half. The Dolphins’ first four possessions produced 217 yards, eight first downs and 13 points.
On one snap, the Dolphins picked up 65 yards and a touchdown when Jakeem Grant ran through three tackles and scored on a short pass.
But on their way to a 29-13 victory that clinched the AFC West, the Chiefs stemmed the tide by returning to a proven formula — forcing turnovers.
The Chiefs forced two fumbles and converted both into Harrison Butker field goals.
In the Chiefs’ three-game winning streak that improved their record to 9-6, they have recorded nine takeaways against one giveaway.
That type of opportunistic play helped the Chiefs open the season with a five-game winning streak. In those games they held a 7-to-1 turnover advantage.
In the six losses that occurred over the next seven games, the Chiefs got sloppy on the offensive side and the defense came away nearly empty — five giveaways and one takeaway in the defeats.
Sunday was back to old times from the opening series, and not surprisingly cornerback Marcus Peters was around the ball.
A Jay Cutler pass to the sideline found Jarvis Landry, and linebacker Derrick Johnson found the Dolphins wide receiver.
Johnson’s hard hit jarred the ball loose and it popped into the air. Peters alertly snagged the ball and kept both feet in before falling out of bounds.
“I had to chase him down and tried to separate him from the ball,” Johnson said. “Being a linebacker hitting a receiver, that’s what you try to do, and it happened.”
In the third quarter, the Chiefs had just gotten stuffed on a fourth-down play, and the Dolphins, trailing by 10, picked up a couple of first downs and threatened to change the game’s momentum.
But once again, Peters was in the middle of an opponent’s mistake. Cutler completed a short pass to wide receiver Kenny Stills. Peters got his hands on the ball and stripped it from Stills. Ron Parker fell on the ball for the recovery.
That made it nine takeaways for the Chiefs in three games. Peters didn’t play in the first one against the Raiders because of a suspension, but he collected two interceptions the following week against the Los Angeles Chargers. Add it up and Peters has been involved four of the six takeaways over the last two weeks.
“That’s how M.P. is,” Johnson said. “He’s always by the ball. Marcus Peters, he’s always played with fire, this whole year. It doesn’t always go perfect for him. He’s an emotional player. But there are pros and cons to that.
“I’ll tell you what. He’s a heck of a ballplayer, one of the best players on our team. He shows you that every Sunday.”