Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill went on the COVID-19 reserve list Dec. 21 after testing positive for the virus. He cleared protocols four days later and played Sunday against the Steelers.
He played only 29 of 69 offensive snaps and made two catches for 19 yards.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Wednesday, via James Palmer of NFL Media, that Hill was “exhausted out there.”
A week later, Hill hopefully has further recovered.
11-4 · AFC No. 1 seed
Don’t overthink this one. Riding the NFL’s longest active win streak at eight games, Kansas City is peaking at the right time. Here’s the surprising part, though: It’s the defense that pushes these Chiefs over the top. Crazy, but true. Since K.C. traded for Melvin Ingram and moved Chris Jones back inside full time, Steve Spagnuolo’s unit has been the best defense in the game. Over the Chiefs’ past seven games, they’ve yielded 14 points or fewer six times. Quite a turnaround from the first five weeks of the season, when Kansas City opponents averaged 32.6 points per game.
Patrick Mahomes, despite rumors to the contrary, is still Patrick Mahomes. A true nightmare to defend. The same can be said for Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. You can ask for more depth or a more consistent ground game, sure, but this team’s full of star power and championship fiber. Andy Reid has the Chiefs in position to make a third straight Super Bowl — and no one will be surprised if they lift the Lombardi.
6 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 5
2021 stats: 15 games | 66.1 pct | 4,310 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 33 pass TD | 13 INT | 302 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 9 fumbles
Even among Chiefs enthusiasts, there was a thirst to see the offense put together four consistent quarters against a non-Raiders defense. Mahomes checked that box Sunday, at least until he sat out most of the fourth. Mahomes’ calm staying in the pocket while delivering third-and-long throws was reassuring because he’ll need that in the playoffs. He also led Kansas City to 33 points in just eight drives without Travis Kelce while barely targeting Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs have solved their offensive line issues, and Byron Pringle looks ready to step up as a valuable role player. Be afraid.
Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals (+5)
Cincinnati Bengals +5
This is the game of the week. The Bengals are riding high after blowing out the Ravens last week, while the Chiefs are the top seed in the AFC. This has all the makings of an offensive shootout, with Joe Burrow trying to match Patrick Mahomes. It will be a treat to watch. It will be close, too.
Pick: Chiefs 33, Bengals 31
What’s your top upset pick for Week 17?
I’m going Bengals (+5) over the Chiefs. Because why not? I’m all aboard the Joe Burrow bandwagon, the Chiefs have to lose at some point (I think?), and with the ability to clinch a division title staring them right in the face, I think Cincinnati muscles up and has a chance to pull the upset. The Bengals are a weird team. They’ve lost some games they shouldn’t have lost (Jets, Bears) and they’ve either won or been in some games they shouldn’t have won or been in (Packers, Ravens). They can play with anybody, and Burrow is a winner who has a chance to show it in a big way this weekend.
Roger McCreary CB
McCreary has years of awesome man-coverage experience in the SEC. The Chiefs could use more reinforcements in their secondary.
They grew closer over the years, and when Reid was ousted as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, Madden helped encourage Reid’s next step to become the head coach of the Chiefs.
It was funny too, coming from Madden. After coaching the Oakland Raiders for a decade, Madden wasn’t exactly fond of Kansas City.
“Well, he loved to hate the Chiefs, but he loved the Hunt family,” Reid said. “He’d tell you that they had some knockdown drag-outs. And he could remember about every single play. But he said, ‘It’s a great organization. The Hunt family is phenomenal.’ He would always remind me to tell Norma Hunt, ‘Hello.’ He liked them, but he didn’t like them.”
Around the NFL
“It won’t be something where I’ll drag it out for months and months,” Rodgers said at the end of a lengthy answer about his future.
Rodgers said he will have conversations with his “loved ones” after the season, with the front office — team president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and vice president of football operations Russ Ball — and with coach Matt LaFleur and his staff, and then make a decision.
“I’m not going to hold the team back from anything,” Rodgers said. “And once I commit — and if it’s committing to move forward here — it will be a quick decision.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
We should begin by recognizing the entire defense’s great all-around effort — especially in the early going while the game was still within Pittsburgh’s reach.
KC's defensive pursuit was inspiring Sunday. 3rd&10, Spags goes to a signature 6-man pressure vs. empty formation leaving everyone 1v1. PIT smart to go screen against it, but too much red running to the to make anything happen. pic.twitter.com/re4ZjRAf6m— Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_) December 28, 2021
This sort of hair-on-fire pursuit of Pittsburgh ball carriers showed up against both the pass and the run. In particular, third-year free safety Juan Thornhill stood out by consistently displaying a willingness to throw his body around to reduce the yardage surrendered to the Steelers in space.
Nor did it take long for budding superstar cornerback L’Jarius Sneed to remind everyone what the Chiefs had been missing during his two-game absence.
3rd & 4 - from the slot, really tough down & distance on a CB b/c it's easy to get grabby and hold WRs as they break any which way. Sneed checks all the boxes though, so gifted. Can play off-man as he does here and close so quickly yet on time. pic.twitter.com/JN2BMPcfYh— Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_) December 27, 2021
A tweet to make you think
Chris Jones recalls playing Madden on Nintendo 64 .. Madden 1998 and said, "It actually brought me closer to football." -- He also played on All-Madden mode and thinks of himself as an "All-Madden" guy. #Chiefs— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) December 29, 2021