Kansas City Chiefs 30, Los Angeles Chargers 27
It’s a rare thing to be able to truly depend on another person. I’ve been in friendships I thought were bulletproof, and I’ve been in relationships that I believed were unbreakable. In the end I have come to realize that there is, and always has been, only one person I can unconditionally rely on. That’s my mom.
I’m not saying football is like life (and I’m also not saying football isn’t like life), but when it comes to the Kansas City Chiefs it’s undeniable at this point that Travis Kelce is that guy for Patrick Mahomes. Even on a night they were without Juju Smith-Schuster (concussion), Mecole Hardman (injured reserve) and Kadarius Toney (who left in the first quarter with a hamstring), Mahomes and Kelce still managed to connect on three scores — including the effective walkoff touchdown with 31 seconds left in the 4th quarter.
The media made a big deal this offseason about Tyreek Hill getting traded. I added my two cents before the year as well, basically saying Kansas City are sacrificing short-term success for future success by getting rid of their most talented receiving weapon. After games like Sunday night, where the Chiefs were playing without three of their four-best receivers, it reminded me who the team was willing to part with and who they couldn’t part with.
Travis Kelce makes everything go. He attracts so much attention from opposing defenses that it frees up complementary weapons like Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. And even on days where those players either aren’t available or are nowhere to be found, Kelce still is able to create enough space to get absolute nobodies open like reserve tight ends Noah Grey and Jody Fortson, or special teams guys like Justin Watson and Skyy Moore — all who made impact plays to help the Chiefs win the game.
It’s crazy, because Kelce is 33 years old. He’s like six months older than I am, playing a game where the average career lasts about two years and rosters are perpetually turned over year by year with younger, cheaper players with very specific and specialized roles. It doesn’t matter if defenses are playing man-to-man or zone; it doesn’t matter if they are playing Kelce with single coverage or if they are bracketing him with a linebacker and a safety, or a cornerback and a safety. He always finds a way to win when it matters the most.
This was my main takeaway from Chiefs 30, Chargers 27. The focus from this game on a macro level is about how Kansas City basically locked up the AFC West before Thanksgiving (which they did), that Patrick Mahomes is the undisputed best quarterback in the NFL (which he is), and how the AFC’s top seed is firmly within their sights.
This blog is not about regurgitating media talking points or public sentiment, because those things aren’t difficult to find. I realize I’m not exactly going out on a limb by opining that Great Quarterback And Great Tight End Make A Great Pair. I’m more coming to grips with my own reality. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or any random day of the week, I have a very short list of individuals I can count on to make big plays for me, in my life, when I need them the most. And I’m so lucky to have them.