The latest loss from the Chiefs became sealed by an interception thrown by quarterback Alex Smith during a drive that, in theory, could have delivered victory. Technically, the game wasn’t over the moment that Bills defensive back Tre'Davious White stepped in front of receiver Tyreek Hill and grabbed the ball.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, however, acted as if it were, throwing his hands in the air and making no effort to chase down White. On Sunday’s Football Night in America, NBC’s Rodney Harrison called out Kelce for quitting on the play.
“He’s the captain of this team, and this is just absolute terrible effort,” Harrison said. “When things are going great, he’s dancing, he’s partying. But as soon as he hits a little adversity, he pouts. The game is on the line — hustle, get back, you are the captain of this team. If I’m in that locker room, I’d would go to him and say, ‘If you’re going to be captain of the team, you have to be able to lead, and you lead with effort.’ That’s not good enough. . . . Remember last week when I said Kansas City was not playing with passion, that’s exactly what I was talking about.”
It looked a lot like the lack of effort seen earlier this season from Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who didn’t try to chase down the Broncos after a pair of turnovers in Denver. In this case, given that White seemed to be determined to get to the end zone (running across the field to elude some Chiefs players who didn’t give up on the play), the athletic Kelce arguably could have closed ground from behind and, possibly, ripped the ball from White’s grip.
Some have interpreted Kelce’s reaction as exasperation with quarterback Alex Smith, and in turn as a not-so-subtle push for Patrick Mahomes. While Kelce did indeed say during a recent visit to PFT Live that Mahomes is doing some “unbelievable” things at practice, there’s currently no indication of a locker room (wait for it) schism regarding the quarterback position.