Daniel Sorensen Saved the Chiefs With This Play in Week 1

Getty Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen

Among all these big plays that took place during the Kansas City Chiefs Week 1 win over the Cleveland Browns, the one that sealed the deal for Kansas City’s victory was Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield being intercepted by Chiefs cornerback Mike Hughes.

Cleveland was in the midst of a four-play, 31-yard drive that started at their own 17, with 1:09 left on the clock. Mayfield dropped back to pass, shifted up in the pocket, and attempted to break outside the tackle box to his left and throw the ball downfield. Mayfield’s throw was errant, ending up in Hughes’ hands for the game-sealing interception on a pass that looked like it was intended for tight end Hunter Bryant.

At first glance, Hughes looked like he deserved all the credit for closing out the game for his team. However, when looking closer at the play there seems to be a player that deserves a bit more credit for forcing Mayfield into that errant throw. That player would be safety Daniel Sorensen.

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Sorensen the Unsung Hero

As Mayfield worked his way outside the tackle box, Sorensen, who was a blitzer on that play, worked his way into the backfield and towards Mayfield. Sorenson then dove at Mayfield, grabbing ahold of Mayfield’s right foot, forcing the third-year quarterback into an awkward throw.

As it turns out, had Mayfield done what he wanted to on that play the ball would have sailed out of bounds, forcing a second-and-10 situation for Cleveland’s offense. Instead, a turnover took place.

“I got just enough on my feet to affect it and make me keep it in bounds,” Mayfield said postgame. “I didn’t exactly see what happened, I was on the ground. Harrison (Bryant) came up and apologized, and I said it’s not his fault because that ball was supposed to be out of bounds, about three rows up. Good play by them.”

The Chiefs’ sideline may have not initially realized the impact Sorenson had on that play either.

“Dan Sorensen I didn’t mention last night, and I think it needs mentioning where he actually got the foot of their quarterback on the interception and tripped him up, and that ended up being the deciding factor there with (Mike) Hughes making the interception,” Reid pointed out during his Monday presser after watching the Week 1 film.


Chiefs Defense Struggled Overall

Despite a couple clutch turnovers and a couple of sacks by Chris Jones, Kansas City’s defense struggled mightily against the Browns in the regular-season opener. The unit gave up 457 yards of total offense to Cleveland, averaging 8.2 yards per play, per ESPN’s box score. The Chiefs were gashed on the ground by running back Nick Chubb and company, who rushed for 156 yards on 26 carries as an entire backfield. That set up the play-action pass for Mayfield, who only had seven incompletions on a day in which he had a 97.5 quarterback rating.

Granted, Kansas City didn’t have two of their best defensive players in safety Tyrann Mathieu, who was a healthy scratch after being activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday, and Frank Clark, who was inactive for the game due to a hamstring ailment. But for a Chiefs defense that allegedly had plenty of depth heading into the regular season, it looked like they were a far cry from being the top-tier unit we thought they would be this season in Week 1.

In Week 2, Kansas City will take on the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football. With Mathieu and Clark presumably back in the lineup, Kansas City’s defense will face another tough offense in the Ravens, which racked up 406 total yards against the Chiefs’ AFC West rival Las Vegas Raiders in the Week 1 Monday Night Football loss for Baltimore, per ESPN’s box score.

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