For a week, Andy Reid confidently brushed off any concerns about going into the season opener without a third tight on the roster. Now, we know he was probably hiding a smirk under his poker face because he knew he had a secret weapon: a “sausage.”
Eighth-year fullback Anthony Sherman’s role most times he steps on the field entails throwing his body around. He’s an active contributor on special teams, and, offensively, he’s primarily there to help open holes for running backs, assist in pass protection and get out in the pass pattern when needed.
During the Chiefs’ season-opening 38-28 win over the Chargers at the StubHub Center on Sunday, Sherman played tight end and hauled in the third touchdown reception of his career with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.
“He’s got crazy hands,” Reid said. “You think of him as a sausage, right. So he goes out and he’s a sausage with hands. It’s a good thing.”
Sherman pulled in a beautifully thrown pass on a wheel route up the sideline as the ball floated over the outstretched arm of a leaping defender and right into the paws of the Sherman for a catch and run into the end zone for a 36-yard gut punch to the Chargers. The touchdown gave the Chiefs a 31-12 lead.
Backup tight end Demetrius Harris served a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy on Sunday. Sherman, a 5-foot-10, 242-pound UConn graduate, showed defenses he’s an option they’ll have to account for in the passing game along with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Chris Conley.
“I’m last for sure with the options,” Sherman said with a grin. “But it’s good for me because I go out there and run a route, and you’ve got Kelce and (others). I’m the last guy that they’re thinking is going to get the ball, so it works out.”
Sherman capped his rare scoring opportunity with an emphatic spike because, as he summed it up, “I don’t really have any moves. I’ve only got the spike.”
Sherman received a fist-pound from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who dressed nearby in the visiting locker room as Sherman spoke to reporters. Mahomes also made sure to point out that in his two starts, including last season’s regular-season finale in Denver, Sherman has two touchdowns. Sherman played tailback and ran for a touchdown against Denver.
“The play actually wasn’t designed for Sherm,” Mahomes said of the touchdown pass, “But the craziest things is, the three times we ran it in practice this week, he came open and caught touchdowns. We were trying to get it scouted up to get it to the two inside guys, but it just kept working out that way. Of course it comes to the game and works out exactly how we practiced it.”
The 36-yard touchdown reception marked Sherman’s first since he caught an 11-yard touchdown from Alex Smith against the Chargers on Oct. 19, 2014.
This time around, Sherman credited Mahomes for doing most of the work. Once Sherman got behind his defender, all he had to do was “just put my hands up.”
“That’s just why he’s special,” Sherman said of Mahomes. “There’s times that guys are covered and somehow he gets that ball in there in a tight seam. It’s just like wow! There’s no one dead in our offense at any point, so everyone is running hard for a that split second he might just dot that ball in there and you can go to the house.”