Sprinting downfield under control and in his coverage lane, keeping his eyes focused on his target, Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown broke down into a football position Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
As dangerous Kansas City Chiefs punt returner Javier Arenas gathered in a 47-yard punt from Sam Koch in the first quarter of the Ravens' 9-6 victory, Brown decisively made his move.
Arenas was only able to gain a mere before the Ravens' punt gunner brought him down to the ground.
Arenas averaged 11.3 yards per punt return heading into Sunday, but was held to a two-yard average on four punt returns against the Ravens.
"He's a great punt returner," Brown said Sunday in the Ravens' locker room. "That's what we practice for. We practiced to tackle him and know his returns."
Last year, the Ravens ranked 31st in kick return average allowed (29.2) and the ninth-highest average in punt coverage (11.9) That included three returns for touchdowns with a franchise-record 107-yard return surrendered to New York Jets return man Joe McKnight.
This season, the Ravens are allowing 9.8 yards per punt return and 22.2 yards per kickoff return to rank 18th and 12th in the NFL, respectively, with contributions from Brown, Corey Graham, Sean Considine and Brendon Ayanbadejo.
With four special-teams tackles this season, Brown is tied for the team lead with Ayanbadejo, a three-time Pro Bowl special-teams ace.
"I feel like I'm playing good," Brown said. "I just got to keep it up. I put in a lot of work in the offseason. I think it should come out on the field.
"I just take advantage of what I can do. I put in a lot of time studying film and bring that out on the field. It's coming out to my advantage."
Drafted in the fifth round last season out of the University of Texas, Brown recorded three tackles on defense and one special teams tackle as a rookie.
“We saw it coming," Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said recently. "Honestly, we’ve seen such improvement from Chykie through the offseason. It was something that without an offseason last year and going through the season, the offseason really helped Chykie.
"He continued to develop his skills as a gunner, and I think he has a much better understanding now that we’ve been through a full offseason program of what we’re asking him to do. And he’s developed his skills. We’re looking forward to big things from him as the season rolls on.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times