“Why aren’t they covering him better?” is a funny question, because naturally every defense on the planet wants to eliminate Kelce from the game. Most don’t, though, which is a testament to the bond Mahomes and Kelce have built in their six-plus seasons together.
It’s also a product of a Chiefs offense that reached its final peak Sunday, a 31-17 win over the Chargers in which Los Angeles couldn’t find a way to stop Kansas City on consecutive possessions until the fourth quarter.
“The offensive line does a good job,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We always talk to the receivers (and) about having the clock in your head. Trav has the ability to keep it going; how long can I do what I need to do to get open and Pat is in tune with that They have good rapport, that’s what makes them special together. From a defensive standpoint, (if you) try to put too many guys on one guy and then the other guys have a battle so it can be tough from that end.”
No one finds a soft spot in zone coverage when it’s absolutely necessary like Kelce, who knows exactly when to get open to help his quarterback complete unlikely passes. But Kelce isn’t just producing; he is also drawing attention and opening up opportunities for his teammates who catch passes to make a difference. Rookie Rashee Rice has benefited, and on Sunday, Valdes-Scantling thrived as well.
Now the onus shifts to Denver’s defense, which did a surprisingly good job of limiting Kansas City’s offense in their first meeting. They will need every available means to repeat such a performance in the Mile High City this weekend.
“No. 2 [Broncos CB Patrick Surtain II] jumped on him on third down the last time we played,” Reid said. “They know who Trav is, and they had a plan there so maybe you’ll see a little more of that or whatever but teams are taking and putting good players on Trav or are doubling him. He and Pat have a unique chemistry there.”
Mahomes and Kelce are both headed to Canton, and at this rate, they look like a strong contender in the AFC. It’s hard to sustain that kind of production on a weekly basis, but at 6-1, the Chiefs are doing a pretty good job. We’ll see if Denver slows down on Sunday.