Confidence in Kansas City Chiefs rookie WR Chris Conley was low entering Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after he had a couple of drops in recent weeks. Conley went a long way to erasing some of those doubts with career highs in catches (six), yards (63) and his first NFL touchdown.
"It feels great," Conley said after the game of his first career touchdown. "Shaky week last week for me. For the team to come out and for Alex to still believe in me and give me those opportunities today speaks volumes of his trust. And Coach Reid's play-calling was on point today."
Conley's longest play (25 yards) came on a play action where he flashed across the middle of the field (the route you seem to see Travis Kelce running all the time). A better throw from Alex Smith and it would have been longer than 25 yards but it was still a positive for Conley and the Chiefs offense.
Conley also had a quote after the game that helps explain the volume of knowledge needed to play receiver in Andy Reid's offense.
"A lot of the plays that we ran today, we just ran them out of different sets, different people in the same spots," Conley said. "And moving it around, you have to know the concepts because you can be in anywhere in any situation, especially in hurry-up when you have to run every route. I think the offense is getting to that point where we can move around and play fast like we want to and we showed that today."
Conley has all the physical ability in the world and now he has a confidence building game to keep it going.
"Sometimes, with young guys, you've got to take a step back to take a step forward," Reid said of Conley's performance. "I think he did that. Today will help him in his maturation process here, but he's a talented kid and it's just a matter of keep working through any hiccups that you have. You just work through it and stay positive, don't beat yourself up over it. You're going to get other opportunities to fix it."
What's so encouraging for me is that the Chiefs receivers performed well without Jeremy Maclin, who was out with a concussion. I was not confident entering this game and Maclin's absence was a big reason why. But Conley and Albert Wilson, who had three catches for 71 yards including another 40-plus yard catch and run, came to play and helped the Chiefs to a victory.