4. Kelce’s drop looms large
(9:24 – 2nd) 3rd & 8 at KC 17
On a 3rd-and-8 early in the second quarter, Mahomes expertly escaped the pocked and with the defense on his heels, lofted a perfect ball to Travis Kelce, who dropped the pass.
This play was consequential for a couple reasons. The first is obvious: had Kelce come down with the pass the Chiefs would’ve converted a daunting third-down, keeping their drive alive. In a game where Mahomes didn’t have much time to connect on deeper throws, this was a big opportunity to find some rhythm.
The second reason it’s important is that if Kelce catches the pass, the Chiefs would not have had the punt/penalty fiasco that gave the Bucs such brilliant field position. We can see how these big moments are not only consequential, but also linked. If the Chiefs complete this pass, they in effect would have eliminated a future mistake.