Kansas City wide receiver Josh Gordon has had an underwhelming season since joining the Chiefs in early October, but last Sunday he might just have dropped his biggest chance to become a significant member of the offense.
With Travis Kelce out due to COVID-19 and Tyreek Hill all but guaranteed to face double coverage all day, the Chiefs needed their other receivers to step up. Gordon had his chances, but he failed to do so.
Coming off a Week 14 performance against the Raiders that saw Gordon have season highs in targets (three) and receptions (two) as well as catch his first touchdown as a Chief, the game against Pittsburgh seemed like the perfect moment for him to have an even greater impact.
Josh Gordon dropped his biggest chance(s) yet when they came his way against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But although Gordon had his opportunities, he was unable to make them count. Gordon was targeted three times against the Steelers—all in the second quarter—but failed to make a catch.
The chances weren’t exactly easy. The first pass Gordon’s way came on a corner route near the sideline, but the ball was just a touch overthrown and out of his reach, while his third target was on a slightly under-thrown pass to the end zone that was nicely broken up by Pittsburgh cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.
However, Gordon’s second target was certainly one you would want to see the former All-Pro receiver reel in. Patrick Mahomes was forced to scramble from the pocket and threw towards an open Gordon, who made a lunging effort but failed to hang onto the pass.
The throw was a touch high and wide but considering that Gordon was able to get two hands onto it, it has to be seen as a drop. None of these targets were simple, but they were three opportunities for Gordon to step up and make a play in a game that the Chiefs were shorthanded in, and he couldn’t do so.
We saw other Chiefs step up against Pittsburgh: Byron Pringle was excellent with six catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns, and Derrick Gore had 61 receiving yards on his three catches too. But with the chance to possibly have his biggest impact to date, Gordon was MIA.
Overall, Gordon’s time in Kansas City has been … underwhelming. There was optimistic excitement about the role he could play in KC, balanced with a realistic idea of what to expect from a guy who hadn’t played an NFL game in over 21 months. But so far, we are yet to see him make any meaningful impact.
In his 10 games with the Chiefs, Gordon has just four catches for 27 yards and one touchdown. He has been targeted just 12 times and averages a measly 2.7 yards per game. He was on the field for just eight snaps against Pittsburgh, tied for the fewest he’s had in a game this season.
There is still cause for hope, however. Head coach Andy Reid has stood by Gordon, insisting multiple times this season that his production will come and praising his work at practice.
Maybe things with Gordon are still going to the coaching staff’s plan, even despite the unflattering numbers. Maybe they have a strategy in store that could still see Gordon become an important piece of this offense down the stretch and in the playoffs.
But last Sunday’s game seemed like the perfect opportunity for Gordon to make his biggest impact yet, and he was unable to make the most of it. Gordon dropped his biggest chance yet in Week 16, and he might not get many more.