Chiefs S Juan Thornhill looks to build off stellar Week 1 start against Browns

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

In the absence of All-Pro S Tyrann Mathieu in Week 1, former Kansas City Chiefs second-round pick Juan Thornhill had an exceptional game against the Browns. Making plays all over the field, Thornhill proved he is a viable starter, capable of making an impact on the majority of the teams’ snaps. He showed a degree of comfort in his recovery from a 2019 knee injury that he hadn’t yet shown.

Big plays in the preseason served as teasers for what Thornhill is truly capable of, but his start against Cleveland was truly a proving ground. Playing his most significant role since dropping to the third-string in parts of training camp, Thornhill made two key plays that changed the outcome of the matchup against the Browns.

With about six minutes left in the third quarter, he made a clutch tackle that forced Nick Chubb to fumble, setting Kansas City up for a scoring drive that changed the tide of the whole game. Speaking of the decisive play after practice on Friday, Thornhill told reporters that he felt prepared to make the play as it happened, but was the beneficiary of some luck that he couldn’t account for to force the ball free.

“Once guys see that they’ve got a bunch of teammates around the ball carrier, they don’t typically get in on the tackle,” He explained about the game-breaking play. “I just didn’t want to stand around and just watch. I wanted to get in on the tackle as well, so I just saw an opportunity for me to shoot it and then I just saw the ball and literally put my hat right on the ball. I guess I got kind of lucky on that one to pop that one out.”

While his contributions against Cleveland were certainly key to the win last week, Thornhill remains squarely focused on the second game on Kansas City’s schedule against Baltimore, an opponent he knows well. In his comments, Thornhill showed tremendous respect for Lamar Jackson and the bevy of receivers the Ravens have acquired to wreak havoc on opposing secondaries, noting former Chief Sammy Watkins as a major threat.

“They’re a heck of a team,” He said of the Ravens’ most recent iteration, “They’ve got pretty much every single piece that you need. They have a quarterback that can run and throw the ball, so he can beat you with both, his arm, and legs. Then they just keep constantly adding receivers, people like Sammy [Watkins]. Sammy is an explosive receiver. He can take the top off at any point and time, and they’ve got 5 [Marquise Brown] out there that’s running 4.3, maybe even faster than that, that can take the top off. So, it’s going to be a good challenge this week. We’ve just got to come in with the right mentality to play as hard as we can because we know it’s going to be a dog fight regardless.”

Though Kansas City is slightly favored in the matchup, the game is expected to be the dogfight Thornhill predicted. Baltimore is coming off a tough loss to the Raiders on “Monday Night Football.” They’ll be hungrier than ever to win their first game of the 2021 NFL season. Big performances by players like Thornhill could be the difference between 2-0 and 1-1 for Kansas City to start their season.

List

Predictions for Chiefs vs. Ravens, Week 2