Tyreek Hill shines bright despite glaring absences from Chiefs
By Matt Conner
In a year where Tyreek Hill’s numbers should be sliding due to myriad reasons, both personal and professional, the Chiefs are learning how valuable he is.
When we all look back on this season, we’ll forget exactly how much time Tyreek Hill will have missed. It’ll be easy to look at a stat sheet and reference the complete absences from Weeks 2 through 5, in which time he was healing from a sternoclavicular dislocation. Even if that was the only missed time of the 2019 season, Hill’s productivity for the Kansas City Chiefs would still look remarkable.
We’ll come back to exactly how much time Hill has missed in a minute, but let’s first set the numbers out there:
- 33 catches
- 543 yards
- 5 touchdowns
- 24 first downs
These are the current stats for Tyreek Hill at the present moment, heading into the bye in Week 12. He has more receiving yards than any other wideout on the team and is second only to Travis Kelce overall (833 yards). He’s 32nd among wide receivers in overall yards and tied for 10th in touchdowns. He has any many scores as Michael Thomas and more yards than JuJu Smith-Schuster.
But here’s where it gets even more impressive. The stat sheets will relay that Hill has played in 7 games this season, but that’s only true on the surface. In Week 1, Hill was injured after 12 snaps and never returned. In Week 11, Hill played only 7 snaps before a hamstring injury surfaced. Even when he returned from a month away in Week 6, Hill played in 51% of the snaps—a total of 28. His totals in that (half) game: 5 catches for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Giving Hill credit for 7 games is giving Dennis Rodman relational credit for being married to Carmen Electra for 9 days. The reality is that Hill has played 4.5 games on the season and has put up those numbers. Even if we round up to 5, here are the averages:
- 6 receptions/game
- 109 yards/game
- 1 touchdown/game
- 5 first downs/game
Stretched out over a full season, Tyreek Hill’s pace for this year—a season that’s given him no consistency, no additional chemistry, injuries to get over and rust to shake off—is good for 106 catches, 1,738 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 77 first downs. Those numbers are insane. Those numbers would lead the league most years, and that yardage total would place him No. 7 all-time on the NFL’s single-season list (Calvin Johnson once had 1,964).
It is, of course, silly to project out 5 games worth of stats over a full 16-game season and say, “This is what Tyreek would have done!” But the thing about Hill is that he is that special. Even when the stop/start hurdles of this season in terms of his ability to play, Hill is still putting up eye-popping numbers on the field in a year where you’d expect him to have lingering effects and lower averages.
Even looking back to his offseason, Hill has to be thinking of this entire year as one to forget. The investigations and ensuing drama. The public relations job he’s had to do off the field and the focus he’s had to learn on the field were already major hurdles and that’s before injuries got in the way of his ability to even take the field. Yet when he’s been able, he’s proven himself to be an elite target with very few peers in a league filled with exceptional athletes.
Even in a forgettable year, Hill has given the Chiefs memorable moments—from outrunning Damien Williams on his record-tying 91-yard run to the leaping physical touchdown grab against the Houston Texans. And in his unfortunate absence(s), we’re coming to realize more and more just how special Hill really is.