No one knew what the dance was called, or if it even had a name.
But when Travis Kelce scored his 12-yard touchdown late in the first quarter for a 7-0 Kansas City lead, the video of his celebration spread quickly around social media.
The moves, which combined an exaggerated “stirring the pot” motion with a shoulder shimmy, were more than a bit improvised. But the moment also symbolized a Kelce who felt more like himself, an offensive weapon getting past the Jets’ defense on the way to a Chiefs 24-3 win.
“I just act silly,” he said. “It’s a party down in the end zone.”
It was a party for the Chiefs, too, and early: Kelce’s touchdown itself gave the Chiefs aconfidence boost offensively, a week after struggling to put up 12 points in a loss to Houston.
Kelce couldn’t get rolling in that game either, catching five balls for only 34 yards.
And although his number of receptions didn’t jump up dramatically against the Jets (he caught six), Kelce was a steady presence Sunday and averaged 14.8 yards a reception.
“They (Jets defense) changed it up … they’re not a defense that just lives in one thing,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. “So they covered (Kelce) with corners, they covered him with safeties, they tried a double on him at times, so it was a little bit of everything.”
Kelce’s first-quarter reception that he took to the end zone served as the Chiefs’ only offensive touchdown. He was a bright spot in an offensive unit that was balanced, yes, but not overly efficient. The Jets, who turned the ball over eight times, actually outgained the Chiefs: 305 yards to 293.
But Kelce’s 89 total yards were the most by any Kansas City player not named Alex Smith.
“Just being on the same page with Alex … when the ball’s up in the air, just being able to go up and make a play for him,” Kelce said of what was working for him Sunday. “He’s kind of a rhythm thrower, so just being in a rhythm with him and making sure I’m in the right place at the right time.”
He was: On the Chiefs’ two offensive scoring drives, Kelce was instrumental. The first was obvious, with Kelce pulling down the 12-yard touchdown. The second came on a 15-yard gainer on third-and-8 at the Jets’ 18-yard-line in the second quarter. Three plays later, Kansas City added a field goal.
It was most obvious in the third quarter, though, that Kelce was having more of a Kelce kind of day: After catching a ball across the middle, Kelce stiff-armed Jets safety Marcus Gilchrist near the sideline and ran him over on the way to a 42-yard gain. Kelce was tackled more by his own forward momentum tripping him up.
That play, of course, was nearly as celebrated as Kelce’s touchdown: a tight end getting back to his normal offensive burst, and giving the Chiefs the balance they need.
“I think coach did a great job of moving him around so the defense wasn’t zeroing in on him as much,” Smith said. “To be honest, I think it comes down to the other guys making plays. The other guys making plays early allows Travy to be singled up at times, and then he’s just a heck of a player; obviously he wins most of the time when he is (singled up).”