Andy Reid joked Taylor Swift can stick around after another dominant display from Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in his side’s win over the Chargers; Kelce recorded 179 receiving yards and a touchdown in a 31-17 victory for the Super Bowl champions
Last Updated: 23/10/23 10:04am
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid continues to buy in to the Taylor Swift brouhaha, insisting the singer is welcome to stick around if it means Travis Kelce remains in the same vein of form.
Kelce made 12 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown as the Chiefs recorded a 31-17 victory at home to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, more evidence of his league-shredding understanding with Patrick Mahomes lifting the defending champions to 6-1 for the year.
It marked Kelce’s fifth career game with 10-plus catches and at least 150 receiving yards, while he become just the second tight end in history behind Shannon Sharpe to record five games of 150-plus receiving yards.
The 34-year-old tight end now has 31 catches for 370 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games despite nursing a couple of niggling injuries in the early weeks of the campaign.
“He keeps getting better with time, Taylor can stay around all she wants,” joke Reid in his post-game press conference.
“He and Pat are on the same page, that’s a challenge for defenses. This isn’t a secret, they’re working on those things.
“He might be getting better with age!”
Reid will send Kelce in motion pre-snap to deny defenders the opportunity to manhandle him at the line of scrimmage; in other instances, he merely torches coverages with the head feints, sharp cuts and proclivity for piercing soft spots that has fuelled his ascent as one of the league’s all-time great receiving tight ends.
“I think the way he recognises coverages is probably even better [than ever], he’s played against every single team and every coverage and attempt to try and take him away, he’s able to dissect it on the fly,” said Mahomes.
“He’s doing great at finding ways of getting himself open and having these monster games.
Kelce was again watched on in the stands by Swift, who yet again warranted the attention of the NFL broadcast at the sight of most Chiefs flashpoints. Whatever may be thought of it, the Kelce-Swift axis has become a somewhat quintessential beacon of crossover appeal.
Apparently it’s working on the field.
“It’s almost like he’s playing Madden,” Mahomes added. “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.”
It was not all about Kelce on the day, the Chiefs also taking enormous satisfaction in a spread of the ball between a receiver core that, outside of their tight end, has come under scrutiny over the opening weeks of the campaign.
Rookie wideout Rashee Rice continued his emergence as a trusted target for Mahomes with five catches for 60 yards and a touchdown, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling made three receptions for 84 yards and a score as the Chiefs’ field-stretcher.
“They’re doing great,” said Valdes-Scantling of his fellow Chiefs receivers. “Every year they’re trying to bring young guys in and get the old guys out, I’m one of those old guys so it keeps me on my toes and keeps me competitive.
“I love I can teach these young guys, they see me as a leader and a mentor. I’ve been in this league a long time so it’s being able to explain different things, what to look for, how to run certain routes, I love that I can be that guy.
“I had great veterans like Davante Adams and Randall Cobb [to learn from].”
Mahomes threatened the NFL’s single-game passing record once again as he put up 321 yards through the air in the first half alone, putting him in good shape to challenge Norm Van Brocklin’s 554 with the Rams in 1951. He wound up finishing the game with 32/42 passing for 424 yards, four touchdowns and one interception with a passer rating of 129.5 to further pile on the pressure facing the Brandon Staley’s Chargers defense.
“He’s one of the best in the league at extending plays with his feet and he can make any throw from any position,” said Valdes-Scantling.
“Having a guy like that who can run around, he’s a sneaky runner but he doesn’t want to run, he wants to throw the ball. Being able to get him to find guys open and make plays for him is how we live.”
There was meanwhile a happy return for Mecole Hardman as he featured for the first time since being traded back to the Chiefs from the New York Jets, the two-time Super Bowl champion announcing himself with a 50-yard punt return.
“He’s been away for six months, going away and learning that offense and then coming back is not easy to do,” said Reid.
“Mecole is smart though so it wasn’t hard for him to jump back in and pick up a few things.”