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Rashee Rice sets rookie single-game postseason yardage record vs. Dolphins

The rookie recorded a record-setting 130 yards against the Dolphins.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images

With his 130-yard outburst on Saturday night against the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice has arguably become the team’s most important piece as it tries to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

Headed into the season, Kansas City knew that it would need someone to step up to fill the void left by JuJu Smith-Schuster’s departure to the New England Patriots, and returning names such as Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore were assumed to be the collective answer.

But it was neither Toney nor Moore to take on the role. Rice has become that guy for quarterback Patrick Mahomes — the unlikely solution, considering it often takes rookies a bit of time to excel in head coach Andy Reid’s offense.

“We were hoping that he was as good as what we saw at SMU,” said Reid of Rice, who the Chiefs selected in the second round of this past year’s draft. “I’d tell you the best part about him is he just keeps working. He’s relentless with that, and he’s got a good relationship. He’s got Pat’s respect, and he wants to do it the right way. I know how many times I’ve stood up in front of you and go, ‘We’re this close with him. He’s getting better every week.’ I think we’ve seen that the last four games, five games.”

Rice’s final five games of the season saw him average around 82 yards a game, which helped guide him to the 130-yard playoff performance. Rice already held the franchise’s regular-season rookie touchdown record; now he has the franchise’s postseason rookie single-game yardage record.

Mahomes began the game with a touchdown to Rice on the opening drive to give the Chiefs an early 7-0 lead.

“He’s doing great, man,” said Mahomes of Rice. “He’s getting better and better every single week. Some of those guys hit that rookie wall, and it seems like he just pushed right through it. And he just continues to get better and better. He’s a great player. He has that right mentality. He comes to work every single day, and he made a lot of great play for us today that helped us win the football game.”

Miami’s strategy throughout the game was to bring extra pressure on Mahomes, meaning he had to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible. Rice worked fast against the Dolphins, and the quarterback noticed.

Mahomes targeted Rice 12 times on the evening, and he caught eight passes.

“They were in zero [blitz] a lot of the time,” said Rice. “When they’re in zero, we know that Pat’s going to get the ball out quick, so it’s best for us to get open as fast as we can. Just being able to know how to get open as fast as you can on certain routes. That’s all we had to do on that.”

Rice believes he has grown the most throughout the year in identifying coverages, affording him the ability to process the play as it happens and get open.

“I would say I progressed a lot,” said Rice. “A lot of our offense goes off of man and zone defense as far as if it’s zone or man at the beginning of a play, it could change, and you’ll be able to change your route in the middle of the play.”

He was thrilled to hear his production again led him to the record books.

“It feels great,” smiled the receiver. “I’m going out there to just get a win, first of all. But everything else just comes with it, and I look forward to keep putting my name down as much as I can in this program, and stay here.”

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