The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-17 on Sunday afternoon thanks in large part to an offensive explosion from tight end Travis Kelce. He had over 100 yards in the first half for the second week in a row and finished the game with a massive stat line of 179 yards on 12 receptions and a touchdown. After the game, head coach Andy Reid kept the praise for his future Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end simple and sweet.
“[Travis] Kelce keeps getting better with time,” Reid said during his postgame presser, ”and Taylor [Swift] can stay around all she wants.”
While Kelce’s rumored high-profile relationship has taken all the headlines this NFL season, the 34-year-old’s production on the field remains just as dominant as it has been throughout the course of his eleven-year career.
“He’s the best tight end in the NFL and in the history of football,” said wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. “There’s not really much to say past that. He’s the best to ever do it, so you can know where he’s going to run and he’s still going to get open.”
As usual, Kelce was at his best against the Chargers when improvising with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. At any moment, Kelce has the wits and savviness to adjust his route and find an opening for Mahomes to throw to in a way that simply continues to befuddle opposing defenses.
This chemistry was on full display as the quarterback-tight end duo connected for their 50th touchdown on Sunday.
“It’s a lot of things but I think the main thing is the way he’s able to recognize coverage and adjust on the fly,” Mahomes said, explaining what makes Kelce so great. “We always talk about it, but it’s something that you can’t take for granted. I mean, it’s almost like he’s playing Madden — like he can read the coverage and stop in the windows and be open and be on the same page as me at all times. So, he did a great job. It’s like he does week in and week out. That’s why he’s the player that he is and why he’ll be a Hall of Famer one day.”
When asked specifically about his off-script plays with Kelce, Mahomes explained that although it may look completely improvised, the duo actually discusses these types of situations during practice throughout the week. This gives them an idea of where the openings in the defense may potentially be, making it easier to read and react when the situation presents itself during the game.
“It’s hard to say because even though it’s not technically scripted; we talk about it throughout the week,” Mahomes noted. “If you look at the one where I throw in the middle of the field, right between people, we kind of discussed like, if that guy flies out, just be in that window and I’m going to throw it. I think by practicing it and doing it in practice, I have confidence he’s going to do it in the game. I always joke around with him like, ‘Man, just take a rep off at practice.’
“But he doesn’t want to. He wants to be out there all the time. So, I think he understands how important it is to build that chemistry and that’s what makes him so great.”
Despite opposing teams knowing what’s about to come, they continue to have no answer for this dangerous duo. As seen in the second half of this one, teams can eventually decide to dedicate extra attention to Kelce — at times triple-teaming him to take him out of the play. However, this inevitably creates open opportunities for Kansas City’s other receiving options — something Reid says represents a tough challenge for the opposing defense.
“I think when both he [Travis Kelce] and Pat are on the same page, that’s a challenge for defenses,” Reid explained. “I know they work on it. This isn’t like a secret. They’re working on those things now... Then for those two going out there and executing like they do; he might be getting better with age.”
While Mahomes fully agrees with Coach Reid’s sentiments on Kelce “getting better with age.” he couldn’t help but poke fun at his elder tight end as the team happily moves on to a first-place record of 6-1.
“Younger Travis would have scored on that one touchdown though,” Mahomes joked. “But other than that, I think he’s doing a great job of finding a way to get himself open and having these monster games.”