Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle took full advantage of his opportunities on Sunday.
When Byron Pringle returned to the sideline after returning a kickoff 102 yards for the longest play from scrimmage in the NFL this season, his Kansas City Chiefs teammates were quick to congratulate him. One of them, the source unknown, said he “ran like a horse” in his fast, powerful effort to put the game away against a division rival.
On Sunday, the Chiefs did exactly that, as they slammed the door early against the Denver Broncos on the road at Mile High. It was a 27-point victory on a day where the defense scored on a pick-six and Pringle provided the year’s first special teams touchdown. In fact, it was Pringle’s ability to seize limited opportunities that had Chiefs Kingdom buzzing after the game.
In case you missed the electric touchdown return—the Chiefs first special teams score since last December—here’s a quick replay:
It might be hard to believe that this is Pringle’s third season with the Chiefs. He signed as a rookie free agent following the 2018 draft and missed the year on injured reserve. He made the active roster last season once again and earned considerable playing time on special teams and limited reps on offense. He did, however, deliver a standout performance and a true breakthrough game with 6 catches for 103 yards and 1 touchdown in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts last season. That single game was an outlier, however, as he had only 6 more catches for 63 more yards for the entire rest of the season.
Pringle’s third season with the team has seen a slight uptick in playing time on offense—18 percent of snaps versus 14 percent last season—with equal time on special teams units. However, he has only three targets in seven games and the opportunities on offense aren’t likely to come soon if he’s not earning more looks with Sammy Watkins out of the lineup.
Consequently, it was nice to see him coming up big in key moments on special teams when they presented themselves on Sunday. With the 102-yard return, Pringle made highlight reels coast to coast and proved the Chiefs can be dangerous in all facets of the game. He spoke to reporters after the victory to detail how his return unfolded.
“When they kicked the ball to me, I knew it was going right,” said Pringle. “I just took full advantage of my opportunity being back there for one as the kickoff returner for this game. I knew I was going to hit it hard, and once I saw the hole open up, I just ran through with power. I knew I had two dudes backside to make miss and once I made them miss, I just ran to the touchdown. I wasn’t looking back.”
However, the return wasn’t his only excellent play on the day. In fact, Pringle’s ability to think quick and get downfield helped the team also pin the Broncos offense at the 1-yard line on an excellent punt from rookie Tommy Townsend.
Pringle said the play was a result of the Chiefs practice and his own determination to make up for a lost moment.
"“We never stop working on it, me especially, because last year in the Super Bowl, I missed one in the Super Bowl. I told myself, “Next time I’m able to be able to throw it back into the field of play, I’m gonna do the best I can to get it back to the other players on the field.” When the returner was blocking me, I knew he wasn’t going to block me for that long. Once I seen the ball take a bounce, I knew it was coming back toward me so I just picked it up. I was so happy to make that play.”"
It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs give Pringle a chance to shine with further opportunities in the coming weeks. The cupboards are so full on offense in K.C. that it might be difficult, but Pringle is ready and waiting for any potential knock at the door.