Unlikely Chiefs Defender Praised as ‘Best Player on the Field’ vs. Ravens

The Kansas City Chiefs’ stars showed up against the Baltimore Ravens. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II led championship weekend in terms of QBR, tight end Travis Kelce and running back Isiah Pacheco scored touchdowns, cornerback L’Jarius Sneed forced the Zay Flowers fumble and defensive lineman Chris Jones was all over the Ravens backfield.

However, a veteran role player also shined bright according to ex-NFL athlete turned ESPN analyst Louis Riddick.

Turn on the tape and watch the #Chiefs OL and DL go to work yesterday, and you will never again associate finesse with an Andy Reid coached football team.

And I stated this yesterday and will say this again.#Chiefs LB Drue Tranquill was the best player in the field when KC…

— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) January 29, 2024

And I stated this yesterday and will say this again. #Chiefs LB Drue Tranquill was the best player on the field when [the] KC defense was out there,” Riddick praised on X. “He was lights out ! All game.”

Riddick also credited Chiefs general manager Brett Veach for the “depth they have built on this team through the draft and free agency.” He called the Tranquill signing — one year, $3 million — “one of Veach’s best ever.”

Drue Tranquill Led Chiefs in Total Tackles vs. Ravens

Tranquill’s statistics weren’t anything flashy during the AFC title game, but his role was integral to the Chiefs containing a top-ranked Ravens offense led by MVP favorite Lamar Jackson.

The linebacker led Kansas City with eight total tackles in Baltimore, four of which stopped Jackson on various QB scrambles. That tells you Tranquill was serving as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s quarterback spy more often than not — a role that was vacant due to Willie Gay’s injury.

Against a dynamic quarterback like Jackson, there may be no defensive role more important.

That wasn’t all Tranquill did versus the Ravens though. The key free agent signing snuffed out a Justice Hill run on a 3rd and one early on. He also sealed off the edge on other occasions, forcing Baltimore RBs inside for minimal gains.

As a pass rusher, Tranquill pressured Jackson on a couple of blitzes — forcing broken plays even if he wasn’t able to bring the elusive signal-caller down.

The way Jackson just shrugged off Drue Tranquill here pic.twitter.com/MkpL1MDaH0

— NFL UK (@NFLUK) January 28, 2024

And of course, there was this shoestring tackle that might have saved a touchdown after Jackson caught his own batted pass and took off downfield.

.@Chiefs @Ravens @StoneColdJones @DTranquill WHAT IF??? What if these 2 plays dont get made? #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/wdVMMPafPE

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) January 29, 2024

Tranquill’s impact was undeniable in the AFC Championship game. Considering Nick Bolton’s early injury and Gay’s recent absence, who knows what happens if the Los Angeles Chargers elect to re-sign the versatile backup coming off a career season in 2022.

Drue Tranquill Sounds Off on Social Media Multiple Times After Chiefs Beat Ravens

Few celebrated the victory harder than Tranquill on social media. “Big Red, T Swift, & the boys just tore your parlay up again 😤,” The linebacker first joked on X.

Later, he added — “Keep doubting us … WE LOVE IT‼️” — with a photo of him and Spagnuolo together after the win.

Keep doubting us … WE LOVE IT‼️ pic.twitter.com/dbs7QoVXrI

— Drue Tranquill (@DTranquill) January 29, 2024

“I’m speechless, man,” Tranquill told KWCH12’s Brandon Zenner in an on-field interview amid celebrations. “Nobody gave us a lot of — nobody really gave us a chance in this game. Baltimore’s been dominant all year. We knew they played a physical brand of football and we’d have to match that, and I thought we out-physicaled them. And that was what it came down to.”

 

Finally, Tranquill also made a brief cameo in the KC locker room that occurred during a Joshua Williams livestream (shared on X). “They forgot who the champs were!” He yelled into Williams’ camera. “All that trash they were talking!”

Needless to say, Tranquill’s energy was everywhere after the Chiefs eliminated the Ravens — very similar to how he played when he was on the field.

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This article was originally published on Heavy.com

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