Marcus Peters changing the brand of Chiefs defense

Sept. 17, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Peters celebrates after a pick-6 touchdown against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital Journal)

Marcus Peters changing the brand of Chiefs defense

The Chiefs defense posted six interceptions, and you can’t blame anyone for checking quickly to see if cornerback Marcus Peters hauled in the pass. A third of the time, it was the right guess.

“It was part of the game plan,” 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.”

With each interception, Peters increasingly is making himself the new face of that Chiefs brand of football. He has emerged as a turnover factory in Kansas City in just his second season in the league. The 23-year-old Pro Bowler from the University of Washington leads the NFL with four interceptions on the season and owns 12 picks in his first 19 career regular-season games.

Coach Andy Reid says Peters played against the Jets fast, physical receivers with little no fear.

“He didn’t shy away from anybody,” Reid said. “They have some good receivers on that team. He’s not going to back down at all from that.”

Peters added two passes defended and a tackle to his stat line versus the Jets. He credited execution for the team’s success in picking off Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick six times and creating two other turnovers on fumbles.

“We let our pass rush get there, we played underneath, we let our safeties play over the top and we made plays,” Peters said.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson cannot say he’s ever played with a young cornerback as talented as Peters.

“Marcus is not a second-year player to me,” Johnson said. “Eventually they are going to have to stop throwing to his side or he is going to have 100 interceptions.”

A week ago Peters drew praise and criticism for his play against Houston, which included surrendering a long pass play and drawing two penalty flags. But the ledger also included two interceptions, four passes defended and seven tackles.

The vagaries of the NFL record book make it a challenge tracking down where his 12 interceptions at this point in his career stand in the game’s history. But a search of Pro Football Reference indicates that is the most interceptions in the first 19 games of a player’s career since at least 1970.

Reid explained that the same aggression that leads to setbacks for Peters also drives his biggest plays.

“Does he take some chances sometimes?” Reid asked. “Yeah, he does, but he’s got a short-term memory, which you’ve got to have there. He gets right back on it and nothing gets him down.”
Johnson agreed, calling his teammate the ultimate competitor who still wants to improve every day and every game.

“He is harder on himself than anybody else,” Johnson said. “That is the best thing to like about him, as a young player. He doesn’t let anything slide, and I’m glad he is on my team.

Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.