Chiefs vs. Raiders: The mastery of Andy Reid and other lessons learned
By Byron Smith
Offense relies on Next Man Up
With Tyreek Hill out for the next couple weeks (at the very least), this game was important to judge how the Kansas City offense and the league’s reigning MVP could handle losing a massive component in the game plan. The verdict: Kansas City can handle itself in his absence.
After last week’s 198 yard and 3 touchdown performance by Sammy Watkins, it was clear that he was going to receive the number one receiver coverages in Hill’s absence. With Watkins taking on such a major share of the opposition’s attention, the Chiefs were reliant on someone else behind Watkins to step up just the same.
That man was Demarcus Robinson.
Where Watkins uses his skillful route running and shifty ball carrying to make plays, Robinson was able to use his speed to exploit Oakland’s lack of vertical speed on defense. He took the lid off the top of the defense and opening up the underneath middle routes for Travis Kelce in the process. This allowed Robinson to end the day with 172 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns.
Even from there, each next man up on the depth chart continued to make plays in the wake of the opening given to him, which included seeing rookie wideout Mecole Hardman prove himself on an NFL field. With 4 catches for 61 yards and a touchdown (and another that got called back on a holding penalty), Hardman showed he is much more than a Tyreek Hill insurance policy; he’s an actual offensive threat that pulled attention away from Robinson and Kelce.
The Kansas City Chiefs may have the best receiver core in the league, with fourth, fifth, and even sixth receivers who can step up and play second and third receiver reps with success.