By the time Los Angeles Chargers quarter Philip Rivers dropped back for a desperation have on third-and-20 with team down 30-13 with 2 minutes to play, it seemed inevitable the ball would wind its way to Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters.
“He’s deadly, an assassin,” wide receiver Tyreek Hill said of his teammate. “He came in this week and was ready to practice from the get go. I can tell. He had that look in his face. He was ready. He came out and showed everybody tonight why he’s up there as one of the best in the league.”
Rivers fired toward wide receiver Travis Benjamin down the right seam, and there was Peters, back deep in coverage, waiting to jump the route and wrap up the ballgame.
Peters picked off two pass from Rivers and played a role in a third turnover. He added three tackles as well. Head coach Andy Reid, who a one-game suspension on Peters last week for his transgressions two weeks ago against the New York Jets, said the big game from his talented but volatile corner didn’t surprise him in the least.
“He had the suspension and then he came back,” Reid said. “He was great all week and he was great today. That’s it.”
Peters declined to talk to reporters after the game. He said he would speak public this coming week. But his teammates had no problems speaking for him.
“It was a good week for him,” safety Ron Parker said. “He came back to work, came in to practice every day, worked hard. He didn’t do nothing. He was just being Marcus, he came back and been himself. That’s what we was looking forward to, for him to just come back and be himself. We don’t want nothing to change.”
Tight end Travis Kelce said he could not say enough about Peters after the game.
“He is an unbelievable teammate,” Kelce said. “Some of the things that the media may say about him, we don’t buy into. We know the type of guy he is and we love him. He is our guy, he is our brother.”
Peters’ first interception came via a busted play from the Chargers. The receiver guarded by safety Ron Parker ran the wrong route, and Peters seized on the opportunity.
“The kid is smart, he knows the game,” Parker said. “I sat and watched the ball go into the air and I just knew Marcus was going to be there. He did a good job of finding the ball and making the play.”
Peters’ performance served as a reminder that when the 24-year-old All-Pro plays his best, no one in the NFL may be able to beat him.
Quarterback Alex Smith understands that from going up against Peters in practice the last three seasons.
“He’s got amazing ability, he’s got such great eyes, such great feel for the game,” Smith said. “And then just a heck of a competitor. The plays he makes, I’ve been going against that a few years now.”
Veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis said he sees the passion in Peters even in the short time he’s been in Kansas City.
“He has a chip on his shoulder and that’s how he plays his game,” Revis said. “For him to make big plays for us, that was great, especially for him coming back from the suspension.”
Reid said that competitive fire is what makes Peters special. He said he doesn’t believe the suspension lit a fire under Peters. He argues that Peters plays every snap as if it might be his last.
“That’s how he plays the game,” Reid said. “He’s always aggressive in his play, so this was not different that way. I don’t think he was out trying to prove anything. He doesn’t have to.”
Some players, however, thought they saw something different in Peters this week.
“He seemed a lot more focused and locked in,” defensive end Allen Bailey said. “He looked like he was geared in for the run. He made a couple plays, looked good.”
Parker, however, doesn’t believe Peters changed his approach to the game after the suspension. That’s a good things, he says.
“He came back to work, came in to practice every day, worked hard,” Parker said. “He didn’t do nothing. He was just being Marcus, he came back and been himself. That’s what we was looking forward to, for him to just come back and be himself. We don’t want nothing to change.”