Travis Kelce’s 179 yards headline Chiefs’ win over Chargers
Travis Kelce turned 34 on Oct. 5 and since then has had the best three-game stretch of his career, with the biggest being his 12-catch, 179-yard, one-touchdown game in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said it’s because Kelce is getting better with age. He allowed that it could also be the Taylor Swift effect. She was in attendance at a Kansas City Chiefs game for the fourth time this season, and Kelce has averaged more than twice as many yards with her present as without.
“Taylor can stay around all she wants,” Reid said after the Chiefs’ 31-17 win. Either way, Kelce has delivered in the three games like at no time in his accomplished career, with 31 catches against the Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and the Chargers.
“You can know what he’s going to run and you still can’t stop it,” Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling said.
Sometimes, as quarterback Patrick Mahomes said, Kelce doesn’t always know before the snap what route he’s going to run. He has the freedom against certain coverages to alter his route and took advantage more than once against the Chargers.
“The main thing is the way he’s able to recognize coverage and adjust on the fly,” Mahomes said. “We always talk about it, but it’s something that you can’t take for granted. It’s almost like he’s playing Madden. He can read the coverage and stop in the windows and be open and be on the same page as me at all times and so he did a great job.
“It seems like he does it week in and week out and that’s why he’s the player that he is and he’ll be a Hall of Famer one day.”
Kelce sat out the Chiefs’ season-opener last month against the Detroit Lions. He has had 48 catches in the six games since, which is tied for the most in NFL history for a tight end over the player’s first six games.
Mahomes wasn’t disputing that in some ways, at least, Kelce has improved with age.
“The way he’s able to recognize coverages is probably even better,” Mahomes said. “He’s played against every single team and every coverage and every way to try to take him away and so he’s able to recognize that and then dissect it on the fly.”
Mahomes couldn’t resist a friendly dig at Kelce. The two connected on a 53-yard pass in the second quarter with Kelce catching a short pass and taking it to the Chargers’ 6, where he was tackled.
The Chiefs scored on the next play, anyway.
“Younger Trav would have scored on that one touchdown,” Mahomes said. “I’ll say that. But other than that, I think he’s doing a great job of finding ways to get himself open and having these monster games.”