Certainly, the Patriots have seen Dolphins star receiver Tyreek Hill before. They’ve even had some moderate success defending him. But former Patriots star receiver Randy Moss, having watched Hill torch the Chargers in Week 1 with 215 yards receiving on 11 catches and two touchdowns, has a warning for New England: Don’t make the same mistake that L.A. did.
Asked about Hill on the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen Show podcast, Moss gushed: “Nothing but speed. I don’t know why the Chargers thought that they could cover this man 1-on-1. I remember, Rich, back when I was in, it may look like teams were playing and covering me 1-on-1 but that safety was still over the top. I don’t know why teams keep trying to fake like they’re not, or disrespecting him and giving him single coverage.
“I think Tyreek Hill is one of those very, very special athletes that, every single play, you gotta know where he is. And you have to honor him by putting somebody over the top. The Chargers didn’t do it, that’s why they went home with a loss.”
Patriots Have Had Some Success With Tyreek Hill
In all, New England has seen Hill six times in the regular season in his career, and has limited him—we use that word in all seriousness, given what Hill just did to the Chargers—to 91.7 yards per game. The biggest damage Hill did to the New England defense came back when he was with Kansas City in 2017 and 2018. The first time they saw Hill, the Patriots allowed 133 yards on seven catches. The second time, it was 142 yards on seven catches.
The Patriots have found ways to reel in Hill since then, allowing him only 62 yards and 64 yards the final two times they faced him with the Chiefs. There was, too, the AFC championship game in 2019, which saw Hill log one big reception for 42 yards, but nothing else.
In two games against the Patriots with the Dolphins last year, Hill had four catches for 55 yards and eight catches for 94 yards. He is undoubtedly a challenge for the vaunted Patriots secondary, but they’d be wise to remember that Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 466 yards in Week 1, and hit six other receivers with multiple receptions—including budding star Jaylen Waddle, who had four catches for 78 yards.
No One Faster Than Hill
Still, it is Hill’s speed that is the most frightening aspect of defending the Dolphins. According to the NFL’s Next Gen stats, Hill logged the two fastest speeds recorded in Week 1, 21.66 mph during a fourth-quarter touchdown reception, and 21.53 mph during a third-quarter reception.
At 5-foot-10 on a good day, Hill does not have the size of a guy like Moss, who was fast but whose real advantage was his 6-foot-4 frame. But Moss compared him to a former All-Pro receiver who stood 5-foot-9—Panthers and Ravens great Steve Smith.
“What can he not do?” Moss wondered. “He can score from just putting the ball in his hands, he can score from the reverse, screens, deep ball. I like what Tyreek brings to the table. He’s a great wide receiver. I can remember back when Steve Smith played and everybody said how small he was, to see another guy coming in and just picking up where Steve left off—it’s just a good thing to see. … I’m just a big fan of Tyreek Hill’s.”