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Mark Gaughan's Big-Play Breakdown: Luke Kuechly makes middle a danger zone


All Bills fans want to see Tyrod Taylor more effectively work the middle of the field, and he did it some against the New York Jets.

He better be careful throwing between the numbers against Carolina middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.

This is one of Kuechly's more famous plays, an interception he returned for a TD on national TV in 2015 against Dallas QB Tony Romo.

Kuechly is great at undercutting routes. In this Cover 2 defense, he started to drop to the deep middle to follow the tight end but knew he had safety help deep and recognized Romo was targeting receiver Terrance Williams (83). Kuechly returned the pickoff 32 yards for a TD.

In Sunday's season-opener at San Francisco, Kuechly jumped in front of an underneath in-cut throw by Brian Hoyer for an INT.

Bills middle linebacker Preston Brown watched video of Kuechly in the offseason.

"The understanding he has of route progression is outstanding," Brown said. "That play vs. Dallas a couple years ago. It was Cover 2, a guy was going vertical, he saw the guy coming in on a dig and he broke down on that dig and made a nice interception. There are plays he makes like that every week that are great to watch and get a feel for."

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