Sunday did not mark the first time in history the turning point of a Kansas City Chiefs football game came down to Patrick Mahomes throwing a ball that seemed to hang in the air forever, only to be corraled by Tyreek Hill.
A play earlier, former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt ran the ball the two yards necessary to give his Cleveland Browns a 29-20 lead. With a little more than 10 minutes to go in the game, things appeared dire for the Chiefs.
Hunt felt so comfortable, he attempted an Arrowhead leap. Everything changed on the ensuing possession.
Another angle on the Hill touchdown. (via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/gf7iTOgVXJ— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) September 12, 2021
“They actually played a different coverage than they had been playing Tyreek in; he kind of packaged that and threw a little wrinkle in it,” said Mahomes. “They covered up Kelce pretty good, and I looked at Mecole (Hardman), and he was getting covered pretty good. I kind of started scrambling – I joked to Tyreek that I saw his little hand just pop up like this, and I was like, if I just throw it far enough. And so, I didn’t throw it far enough, but he adjusted to make the catch and once he’s in space, it’s a touchdown.”
Safety John Johnson had good coverage on Hill, but his strong defense actually may have worked against him.
“I guess he was thinking that Pat was going to launch the ball about 80 yards,” explained Hill of the play. “I was able to adjust [to] the ball. That’s really hard for any DB. I don’t care who you is. If you’re running full speed, and I stop and catch the ball, it’s going to be hard for any DB.”
One of the more underrated parts of Hill’s game has always been his uncanny ability to track the ball. That helps when receiving from Mahomes, who can throw at any time and from any arm angle.
“What a great job he did getting open there, just coming back to the ball,” said head coach Andy Reid. “Pat went full speed to make that throw back across there, and how many times have we seen that?”
The 75-yard score was one of 11 catches on the day for Hill, who finished with 197 yards. But he believed he could have had more.
“When I catch the ball in open space, I’m like just trying to score — I need to get out of that,” he explained. “I’m trying to reverse field, I’m trying to go left-right, I’m trying to do everything instead of just getting up field and just taking the yards. It’s all about getting better, so I feel like when we watch this tape with [offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy], he going to chew me another a—h— because there was a lot of plays where I could have had so many more yards.”
This past summer, Hill’s fellow players rated him No. 15 as part of NFL Network’s “Top 100.” Only three receivers were ranked higher — No 11 Stefon Diggs, No. 8 DeAndre Hopkins and No. 6 Davante Adams. With plays like the ones he had Sunday, perhaps next year, Hill might trump them all.
He used his post-game presser to share his why on the desire to continue to seriously grow his skill set.
“I’ve just got a lot of pride in this game,” he said. “I feel like each and every day, I come out here to prove myself, and every time I get on Twitter, people are doubting me because of how fast I am. I just want to retire my mom. That’s what drives me to just come out here, work hard and just be the best, my mom, my family, everything in general.”