Quarterback Matt Moore stood at the podium on Wednesday, gearing up for his first start since 2017 (so we think). It is an idea that could understandably be daunting to consider — especially given the 2019 Chiefs’ sky-high aspirations.
But fortunately for Moore, he did see two and a half quarters on Thursday night, and after shaking off some of the cobwebs, was able to fire off a 57-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
“Yeah,” said Moore, when asked if completing the throw to Hill gave him confidence. “There was a couple of nice rhythm throws before that, that kind of got it going a little bit. I’ve said it a bunch but I started a little slower than I wanted to, that was pretty evident. Obviously, you hit the big one and it gets things going. It was good.”
Against the Broncos, Moore finished 10 of 19 for 117 yards — a year after he thought it was all over. After sitting out of football in 2018 when the Chiefs chose Chad Henne as their backup, Moore was helping coach high school football.
Back in March, Moore could be seen in the background of a video from Kyler Murray’s pro day. He was scouting Murray for the Miami Dolphins. Now, football fans are wondering whether to start him or Murray for their Week 8 fantasy football matchup.
Moore said that when he got the call from Kansas City, he felt like he had to come.
“The chance to get back in the locker room with the guys, be around back in the league, coach (Reid), Patrick (Mahomes),” said Moore. “You can name a bunch of guys, all those guys are reasons. Like I said I was out for a year and I was happy but there’s things you miss as time goes on and when this opportunity came, it was something I couldn’t say no to.”
And so just like that, Moore is back, and thanks to all the dominoes — Henne needing late-preseason ankle surgery and Mahomes (the NFL’s equivalent to Superman — sorry, Cam) with no choice but to sit out — he will actually start for Andy Reid.
That apparently includes the complex game planning — the end-arounds, the tight end screens and the RPOs. Reid said he expects Moore to have no problem with all he asks of his quarterback on Sundays.
“Since he has been here, he has just grinded to learn all of this stuff,” said Reid. “I’m not worried about that part of him going in and working. I wasn’t worried the other night. He knocked a little rust off as he went, we all saw that. I think this week of practice, him working in there and having an opportunity to at least get in and do a couple of things, would benefit him if he has to go.”
“I feel good,” added Moore. “I feel really good with everything. Obviously, it’s been eight weeks here now. I’ve been studying and working and watching, so I feel good.”
Moore said when he had to suddenly enter the huddle on Thursday night, he told the Chiefs everything would be OK. Then the Chiefs won the game — their eighth in as many tries against Denver — and really, that is all you could ask given the situation.
“I said we’re going to be fine and just let them know we’re going to be fine and showed confidence,” Moore said. “Which I was confident, but I think you have to show it at a moment like that. Then they all fired back at me and a lot of ‘Hey, yeah, we’re good.’ I don’t think I can even name anything specific. Obviously, on the sideline, you get a lot of encouragement from guys and praise in some situations. They’re trying to make me feel good which is natural on any team. It worked out good.”
Working with Mahomes the past eight weeks, Moore explained that it becomes natural to want to play like him, but he can’t. But the relationship they have built provides him with a bit of self-assurance.
“I actually told him the other day that I like listening to him to see if my brain matches up with his brain,” Moore said. “We all eventually see it the same way, we just kind of get there different ways. We’re constantly talking to each other and using each other in that way. Especially on game days. I kind of had to learn Pat a little bit when I first got here, like what does he like to hear, what can he use that he’s not getting and what’s my role on game days. We’re constantly talking about that stuff.”
That will be critical this week, as Moore suddenly has a chance to relaunch his career — whether it be as a backup, or maybe even more. Who knows?
For the Chiefs, it will be just another game on what they hope is a road to the Super Bowl. But Sunday night is Moore’s Super Bowl.
“I think any day in this league is an opportunity,” said Moore when asked if he is thinking along those lines. “You earn everything you get in this league, good or bad.
“You constantly are playing for something so, yes, to answer your question. That could happen.”