What the Chiefs learned from Travis Kelce's absence

The Kansas City Chiefs were forced to take the field last Thursday night versus the Detroit Lions without their star tight end Travis Kelce.

Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs
Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs were forced to take the field last Thursday night versus the Detroit Lions without star tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce sustained a bone bruise just two days before the team's season opener which forced Kansas City to drastically change the gameplan that was surely going to lean heavily on Kelce before he got hurt.

Furthermore, Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported that the team had initially feared that Kelce sustained a season-ending tibia fracture.

While Travis Kelce and the Chiefs seemed to avoid any long-term injuries, Chiefs fans were quite close to facing a reality where Kelce was out for the entire year. That's scary, especially when paired with the absence of defensive tackle Chris Jones at the time. It's hard to fathom the Chiefs being without two of their best three players in Kelce and Jones for a significant stretch of time, but it was the potential reality unfolding for the Chiefs for a minute.

Being with Travis Kelce forced the Chiefs to learn some lesson

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know what the results were of the contest between the Chiefs and the Lions. Kansas City lost 21-20 as the offense sputtered for most of the night. The wide receivers were dropping passes left and right, Patrick Mahomes didn't look like his usual self as he completed less than 60% of his throws, and the offense struggled to sustain most drives all night.

The offensive weapons let Patrick Mahomes down. The skill position players that were out there didn't get the job done, and it's fair to assume that Mahomes was a little thrown off by the fact his security blanket wasn't present. Essentially, the Chiefs got a glimpse into the future of what life without Travis Kelce could be like.

If these are what the weapons are without Kelce, then it's not good enough. Mahomes lacked a consistent threat to go to all night and the Chiefs were rotating guys in and out hoping anything would work. It's fair to think that the receivers won't be as bad as they were last Thursday night all season, but it seemed rather easy for the Lions to defend them knowing there was no Kelce to double or bracket. The Chiefs receivers struggled to get open, and even when they did, they couldn't catch the ball.

Luckily, the Chiefs will be getting Kelce back in the near future, but his absence echoes a concern that some Chiefs fans have had for a long time. Kelce is already about to be 34 years old in about a month and it was bordering on irresponsibility for the Chiefs to rely on Kelce the way they do for another year.

A lot of fans were clamoring for the Chiefs to sing a veteran wide receiver this offseason because of the uncertainty with the wide receiver corps. However, it also would've helped to remove some of the offensive load from Kelce, who has talked about how hard the NFL seasons are getting on his body as he gets older. You would think that would be a clear message to the Chiefs to start prepping for the twilight of Kelce's career.

While the Chiefs may be able to get away with using Kelce the way they do for the moment, it's something that is going to have to be addressed sooner rather than later. We learned what life without Kelce could be like last Thursday in his absence. We also learned that the Chiefs aren't ready for it as currently constructed. There aren't many players that if they were to go down, the Chiefs' championship odds drastically decrease, but Kelce is one of those players.