Add another football award for Chiefs rookie Tyreek Hill.
On Wednesday, Hill was chosen AFC special teams player of the week for the third time, matching former Chief Tamarick Vanover as the only rookie to receive that honor three times.
Hill broke free for a 95-yard punt-return touchdown in the third quarter of the Chiefs’ 37-27 win over San Diego on Sunday, yet another play that made his coach, Andy Reid, shake his head.
“I look at that, and he’d get a speeding ticket in a school zone, he’s going 22 mph — that’s pretty good,” Reid said of Hill, who reached that speed on a free-kick touchdown return against Denver in November. “He’s moving pretty fast. When he goes by you, it’s amazing how fast he can corner and edge things. A lot of guys have speed, but can’t corner, they don’t have the quickness that he has. He has a unique blend there. He’s fun to watch.”
Hill, a fifth-round pick who made the Pro Bowl as a returner, has 12 touchdowns, matching Abner Haynes’ 1960 club record for rookies.
As a receiver, Hill has caught 61 passes for 593 yards and six touchdowns, adding a bit of explosive, game-changing speed the offense had been missing.
“Yeah, I think (he’s) a guy that obviously comes to mind when making a difference,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “He’s a face of … guys that are new this year, and bring new energy and new makeup. I think it speaks to our well-roundedness this year. I think that’s what I speak to as far as all three phases. I think everybody trying to take on that accountability and holding up their end.”
Hill also has returned two punts for a score, a free kick for a score and rushed 24 times for 267 yards and three touchdowns.
The way he’s been able to impact the game in multiple ways not only speaks to his rare athleticism — he pairs blinding 4.24-second 40-yard dash speed with a muscle-bound, compact frame that speaks to his long-term durability — it also speaks to his ability to quickly grasp the Chiefs’ offensive concepts.
That’s something few receivers — other than the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson in 2009 — have been able to do immediately with Reid’s voluminous playbook.
“I had DeSean Jackson and he kind of was the same,” Reid said, comparing Hill to the Pro Bowl speedster he coached in Philadelphia. “When he was young he did all of the return stuff, we moved him all around the offense, he took snaps as a quarterback, we had him everywhere. He made it to the Pro Bowl in two different positions — as a wide receiver and a returner.”
Hill, who has been targeted 15 times the last three weeks and caught five passes for 46 yards, has also had a handful of uncharacteristic drops of late, though Reid doesn’t seem overly concerned.
“It hasn’t really jumped out at me,” Reid said. “Normally the ball is somewhere where it’s a tough catch if he’s going to drop it. He’s got really good hands. He does it in cold weather. He’s had a couple of drops on the punts that I noticed, but the other ones I never really considered drops necessarily.”
Reid was asked if Hill, who has only played 41 percent of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps — fourth among Chiefs receivers — could see his role increase throughout the postseason.
“We’ll see, every week we’ve given him a little bit more or moved him around,” Reid said. “I think he had 38 snaps the other day, so he’s averaging about 35 in there. I’d tell you we’re just kind of moving him in different areas.
“Will he be higher? I don’t know. I can’t tell you that. We try to give him a little something different to his game every week.”