December 9, 2023


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Sunday was a scary one for Travis Kelce, but it surely’s not clear who ought to be nervous

5 min read
Travis Kelce Germany

General, the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs had a really optimistic journey to Germany. Andy Reid’s option to strategy recreation time paid off, because the Tremendous Bowl champions got here out robust within the first half.

Issues acquired a bit messier as the competition wore on — it is practically inconceivable to maintain the Miami Dolphins’ offense quiet for 60 minutes — however KC held on for a 21-14 win. The membership now heads into its bye week at 7-2, and everybody contained in the locker room is probably going feeling fairly optimistic.

There was one notably quiet performer on Sunday, although: Travis Kelce. Whereas the tight finish is often on the coronary heart of Kansas Metropolis’s success, he has barely made an influence on the scoresheet.

This efficiency was notable, particularly within the context of an enormous win. Nevertheless, it stays to be seen whether or not the Chiefs or the remainder of the NFL ought to be nervous.

Let’s break it down.

Travis Kelsey Germany
Travis Kelce poses through the NFL recreation between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas Metropolis Chiefs at Deutsche Financial institution Park on November 5, 2023 in Frankfurt am Foremost, Germany. The tight finish had a quiet recreation, however the Chiefs nonetheless got here away with an enormous win.
Alex Grimm/Getty Pictures

Travis Kelce had a sluggish Sunday

Whether or not you are a fantasy soccer fan or just watch the Chiefs regularly, you may know that Kelce is a high goal for Patrick Mahomes. When the chips fall, participant quantity 87 will most likely contact the ball.

However throughout Sunday’s match in Frankfurt, Germany, that was not the case.

Whereas the competition was an entertaining one — KC jumped out to a 21-0 lead earlier than Miami scored the subsequent two targets — Kelce was constantly quiet. He was focused simply 4 instances on the day, catching three of these passes. His receiving complete of 14 yards was anticlimactic.

For context, Mahomes threw for 185 yards on the day. No Chiefs caught greater than three passes, however Kelce’s receiving yards have been the second-lowest quantity aside from zero. His 4 targets appeared a bit higher (second behind Justin Watson), however that complete was nonetheless pretty poor.

Kelce’s quiet day may scare Chiefs followers

Initially of this story, we touched on two completely different teams who could also be petrified of Sunday’s final result. The primary social gathering might be a Chiefs fan.

Whereas the AFC West escaped Germany with an enormous win, Kelce’s statistics play into the principle story of the season: The Chiefs’ offense lacks a secondary risk.

Let’s return to Sunday’s stat line for a minute. No KC receiver caught greater than three passes or totaled greater than 34 receiving yards. The bottom recreation was a bit higher, however Isiah Pacheco’s 66 yards on 16 carries is nothing to write down house about.

It is comprehensible that opposing defenses will give attention to Kelce and attempt to take him out of the sport. When you hope he can discover house and make an influence, the fixed double groups shift the burden elsewhere.

To be clear, this is not as a lot concerning the tight finish as it’s about the remainder of the offense. If 87 is closed, another person has to return ahead. Up to now, nobody has finished this constantly. That is a possible concern for Chiefs followers.

To win the Tremendous Bowl, you are going to need to beat higher and higher groups. These groups may have the expertise to exert higher defensive stress; Think about, for instance, how Miami boasts each Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard within the secondary. In these conditions, which KC receiver will have the ability to create a breakaway and make an enormous play?

This query, so far, stays largely unanswered. Rashie Rice seems to be trending in the appropriate route, but it surely’s dangerous to depend on a rookie receiver when the chips are down.

KC’s win bodes properly for his or her possibilities

And whereas a quiet day for the tight finish might be a trigger for concern in Kansas Metropolis, there may be one other aspect to that coin. If the Chiefs can beat one of many different high groups within the AFC when Kelce hasn’t had a lot of an influence, that may scare the remainder of the league.

For many of Andy Reid’s time at Arrowhead, it was the KC offense that ran the present; Outperforming the opponent was the secret. However in 2023, Steve Spagnuolo’s protection has stepped up. By means of 9 video games, the Chiefs are within the high 5 in complete yards, passing yards, and factors allowed per recreation.

For a tangible illustration of this enchancment, think about a Sunday stroll. Miami, an offense that dropped 70 earlier this 12 months, mustered 292 yards and simply 14 factors. The Dolphins have been utterly shut out within the first half, and Tyreek Hill managed simply 62 receiving yards in opposition to his previous staff.

From the Chiefs’ standpoint, this wasn’t a recreation that Chris Jones dominated alone, both. Trent McDuffie led the staff in tackles, whereas Mike Edwards recovered a fumble earlier than passing it to Bryan Cook dinner for a landing. On the threat of sounding cliche, it was a collective success.

The identical could be stated about crime. Whereas two touchdowns is not a powerful outcome, Kansas Metropolis hasn’t relied on one starter to tug a rabbit out of its hat. Mahomes accomplished 20 of 30 passes for 185 yards, whereas Rice and Jerick McKinnon caught landing passes. Gamers like Skyy Moore and Kadarus Toney did not have subgames, however every made performs when referred to as upon.

Will the Chiefs be that rather more harmful with a dependable second possibility, like they did when JuJu Smith-Schuster was on the roster? Certain, however there’s additionally one thing to be stated for true staff efficiency. If groups can hold Mahomes, Kelce, and Jones largely quiet and nonetheless fail to defeat KC, that is unhealthy information for the remainder of the NFL.

Nevertheless, a single recreation doesn’t symbolize a big information level. Possibly Kelce will come out of his bye week feeling refreshed and log an incredible outing. The Chiefs roster might have stepped up collectively on Sunday however they cannot muster that stage of efficiency each week.

Both means, Kansas Metropolis’s depth and talent to deal with that might be a actuality that shapes the rest of the 2023 marketing campaign.