The Kansas City Chiefs’ 2021 season is 10 games old — with the Chiefs standing at 6-4 and first place in the AFC West.
Before we get to Week 11’s highly-anticipated matchup against the 7-2 Dallas Cowboys, we’re taking a look back at Kansas City’s boldest plays of the 2021 season.
Let’s go to the countdown:
Honorable mention: No shame in Nashville
It may not get any bolder than a tight end making a reception and having the wherewithal to try a no-look lateral to a running back darting down the sideline. That is exactly what happened in Tennessee, as tight end Travis Kelce was willing to try anything he could to get the Chiefs’ offense going.
Honorable mention: Trying to get something, anything going in Nashville, Travis Kelce goes with the no-look lateral pass to Jerick McKinnon, and it works (!). First down, Kansas City. pic.twitter.com/QIMbdcD9wQ— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 19, 2021
Fortunately for Kelce, running back Jerick McKinnon corraled the ball, and it led to the first down. It did not lead to the win, however, with the Chiefs only managing 3 points on the day in a 27-3 loss.
No. 5: Bolton breaks out
As mentioned, it wasn’t such a good day in Tennessee for the Chiefs. That we know. But it was a good day for bold individual days, such as that of Nick Bolton.
No. 5: We'll stay with the worst game of the #Chiefs' season for a second. Can't leave Nashville without talking about Nick Bolton's breakout game. Bolton was all over the best RB in the NFL, giving him confidence that he can do this against anyone (and he since has). pic.twitter.com/DITfqKVzDp— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 19, 2021
Bolton finished with a team-leading 15 tackles on the day, including four for a loss against a red-hot Derrick Henry, who came into the game as a potential MVP candidate. Bolton has since become a staple for the Chiefs’ defense in his first year with the club.
No. 4: Kelce’s finest play
Why are all of the bold plays coming in Chiefs losses? We’re going back to Kelce for No. 4, which came in Kansas City’s Week 2 36-35 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
No. 4: Back to Travis Kelce. This is the best play of No. 87's career, in my opinion (in a pure-play vacuum, please save the #SBLIV TD take). @NextGenStats gave him a 3.3% chance of scoring when he caught the football. pic.twitter.com/QtJZiFhB30— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 19, 2021
First, right guard Trey Smith deserves a shoutout for the hurdle-block to springboard the tight end. Kelce had no business scoring on this play, but he still managed to juke and dash his way to a 46-yard touchdown. The Chiefs might have lost the game, but you can jot this one down in ink for the Pro Football Hall of Fame highlight reel.
In my opinion, this was the best play of Kelce’s career.
No. 3: “Vingage” Patrick Mahomes
Can a 25-year-old really tap into a vintage version of himself?
When you have accomplished as much as Patrick Mahomes has in such a short period of time, the answer is a resounding YES. It had been about two months since we had gotten a dose of that Mahomes magic, and an interesting game at Arrowhead Stadium against Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers called for a recall to seal it.
No. 3: Patrick Mahomes taps back into the 'backyard football' to go and win a tough game against the Green Bay Packers. In hindsight (through one game), this may have opened up the floodgates we saw vs. Raiders on Sunday Night Football. pic.twitter.com/7ACrsvMDid— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 19, 2021
Flushed out to his right, Mahomes lifted his head and saw wide receiver Tyreek Hill beyond the first-down marker. The quarterback may have been overthinking a little bit early on in the season — but not on this play. Throwing on the run, Mahomes hit Hill in the chest for a game-sealing 13-yard game. What would follow would be the offensive explosion last week in las Vegas.
No. 2: “Tommy Guns” with the bullet
Punter Tommy Townsend was coming off the best game of his career with five punts inside the 20-yard line. How could he ever top such a feat? Just ask Uncle Dave Toub. Let’s remember the situation: fourth-and-7 and the Raiders are trailing by 13.
No way that the Chiefs call a fake-punt, right? Wrong.
No. 2: This is a 'bold' countdown, and the punter threw an A-ball on fourth-and-long. The drive ended up in a touchdown and the rout was on in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/bijMUON6A8— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 19, 2021
“We saw that it was available,” head coach Andy Reid said after the game. “They were cheating back a bit, and you’ve got a punter that can throw the ball. He does it every day in practice, and you’ve got (Marcus) Kemp out there — who is a good receiver. There’s a risk involved, but we thought the benefit was even greater.”
I love this quote from Reid because, though the play appeared to be bold — and it was (you could easily make a case for this as the boldest play of the season considering you’re up two scores in what became a must-win game), Toub had the Raiders well scouted, and the play was well-practiced.
Fair to say there will be no more cheating back on Townsend and Kansas City’s punt team.
No. 1: Turk uses any means necessary to clinch the game in Washington
The Chiefs have had some growing pains this season, and early on, that equated to being down 13-10 to the Washington Football Team at halftime. Fortunately for the Chiefs, they rallied back after the halftime break for three straight scores and 31-13.
It all led to the boldest play of the season to date, made by defensive tackle Tershawn “Turk” Wharton.
No. 1: Turk's one hand, an offensive lineman's helmet, his own helmet, ballgame in DC. pic.twitter.com/O7fAgF6A5x— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) November 19, 2021
This play is fun.
Taylor Heinicke is looking for the screen pass to J.D. McKissick, and all Wharton has to do is put up his right hand and pin it to the offensive lineman’s head. Defensive linemen’s opportunities to catch interceptions are few and far between, so kudos to Wharton for taking full advantage of this one.
That was game in Washington D.C.