The 2016 NFL season was the best of Eric Berry’s career. A little over two years removed from having been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and his incredible journey back to football, which led to a 2015 First Team All-Pro nod as well as NFL comeback player of the year, Berry found himself back in his home town of Atlanta Georgia where the Chiefs were set to take on the Falcons. Berry had undergone Chemotherapy and other treatment in the Atlanta area and had multiple family members in attendance.
Late in the second half, with the game tied at 13, Berry picked off Matt Ryan and had a remarkable return for a touchdown to give the Chiefs the lead headed into half time. While that play was huge for the outcome of the game, it would be eclipsed by the play Berry would make later with his team down a point with a few minutes to go. In this situation the Chiefs found themselves facing a 2 point conversion.
During his entire time in Kansas, City Berry had always had an outstanding combination of athleticism and instinct that helped him make big plays. The Chiefs are playing their corners in man coverage with Ron Parker playing zone to the left, Derrick Johnson playing zone in the middle, and EB has the right zone. Daniel Sorensen is matched up on the tight end. Atlanta runs a tight end cross and Sorensen gives up the inside release. To Matt Ryan, this looks wide open for the two. But what Ryan doesn’t see is Berry, who he thinks is back to help double team the WR has inched forward and had eyes on the whole time.
Berry shows off his ridiculous closing speed as he jumps the pass and has a wide-open field. He baited Ryan perfectly into throwing the ball knowing that from where he stopped he had the athleticism to jump the route before it got there. As it would stand the Chiefs went from down one to up one in what was one of their more interesting games in recent history.
It’s not too often a defense is able to bring back an extra point to their own endzone, but it is even more rare to see a pick two. It’s also not to often that a player like Eric Berry comes along. His departure from KC was somewhat messy and some felt in a way he owed the team more after injuries prevented him from living up to his potential on the big contract he signed in 2017. Eric Berry owes the Chiefs and the Kansas City community nothing. He gave us five Pro-Bowls, three First-Team All-Pro selections, Comeback Player of the year, and six playoff appearances. But more so than that he gave inspiration and hope to so many in need. His presence ignited his team and he made all those around him better players and better people. His presence gave hope to those who needed it the most. Fear Nothing, Attack Everything.