KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyreek Hill so shook up teams on the Kansas City Chiefs’ schedule with his season-opening performance — 11 catches for 197 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown, in a comeback win against Cleveland — that the next two opponents dedicated two defenders to him at all times.
Baltimore bottled up Hill, allowing only three catches on four targets for 14 yards, while the Los Angeles Chargers held him to five catches for 56 yards.
The Philadelphia Eagles took a different approach Sunday, and the result was an All-Pro performance that helped the Chiefs to a lopsided 42-30 victory.
“The past two weeks, I feel like I wasn’t in the right frame of mind,” Hill said. “I felt like this week I was able to get back to who I am.”
Hill made 11 catches for 186 yards with three touchdowns in thoroughly roasting the Eagles’ secondary — setting up the Chiefs’ first score with a 36-yard catch and run, finding the end zone on 6- and 12-yard passes to help build the lead, then getting free for a 44-yard dagger over the top to ice the win.
“It wasn’t just the last play,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “It was all the way through there. We’ve got the two guys you know people are going to try to take out of the game between (Kelce) and him. They’ve got to really work for everything that they get.”
Philadelphia made Hill work, but he said that renewed mindset helped him overcome those efforts.
“Those guys do a great job of being physical at the line of scrimmage,” Hill said. “... They (the coaches) were telling us all week that we’ve got to beat man coverage. We’ve got to find a way to beat man coverage, and we’ve also got to find a way to find voids in the zone, so that’s what I was able to do all game long. Pat trusted me downfield and the offensive line protected (him).”
But Hill also relied on advice from his father in amassing the fourth-most yards he’s ever had in an NFL game and tying his career-high for touchdown receptions.
“My dad would always tell me, ‘You’ve got to be able to get out of a phone booth — you cannot let people tackle you one-on-one,’” Hill said. “The first big play ... I was able to make a few people miss inside of a phone booth and create magic. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get in.”
That was the only time he’d be denied the end zone.
Hill capped Kansas City’s second drive with a 6-yard score that put the Chiefs in front for good.
The second touchdown — a 12-yard slant punctuated by a backflip — came in the fourth quarter and provided the game-winning points.
The last touchdown ensured the Eagles’ wings were well and truly clipped.
“You’re impatient when you’re young,” Reid said. “You see new things and you panic. Now, you’re getting the mature Tyreek here. Over the last few years, he’s got it figured out, and he tries to battle through everything.”
The Chiefs moved Hill around, getting favorable matchups in the slot to help get him going while putting Philly’s defense in a tough spot by isolating him on one side.
“If you’ve got Kelce on the other side, both safeties have to pay attention to him, because he’s also like a huge threat in this offense,” Hill said. “... Me being on the solo side, I’m not used to it, but I’m beginning to feel more comfortable and more confident on that side.”