With two TDs, Travis Kelce returns to form in Chiefs’ victory over Steelers

TE Travis Kelce on Chiefs 42-37 win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce talks the teams 42-37 win over the Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
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Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce talks the teams 42-37 win over the Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

A week earlier, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was the first player off the field and didn’t spent much time in the locker room.

The Chiefs had beaten the Chargers in Los Angeles, but Kelce wasn’t much part of the game, at least statistically.

In the Chiefs’ 42-37 triumph over the Steelers on Sunday, Kelce was back to his old self, on the field and holding court in the locker room.

Kelce finished with seven receptions on 10 targets for 109 yards and two touchdowns from Patrick Mahomes. The scores matched his career high for a single game, a feat he has accomplished two other times. The century mark for yards was the 12th of his six-year career and he now has 4,015 career receiving yards.

Early on, Kelce extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 65.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones talks to reporters in the locker room about the team and defensive performance after a 42-37 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018.

“You aren’t going stop him,” Steelers linebacker Jon Bostic said. “It’s about slowing him down and figuring out what they’re going to do with him.”

The Chiefs sent Kelce down the seam on several occasions and on both touchdowns, from 19 yards out in the first quarter and from 25 in the third.

“They ran cover two (defense) on both of them, and sure enough I was open on both of them,” Kelce said.

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Kelce was one of seven players to catch a pass from Mahomes and one of five to post a receiving touchdown. It was an amazing display of wealth distribution that kept the Steelers’ defense off-balance most of the afternoon.

Mahomes, whose 10 touchdown passes marks a NFL record for the first two games of a season, leaned heavily on Tyreek Hill in the opening week victory. Sunday was more about equal opportunity and capitalizing on what the defense presented.

“I see Pat doing this all season long,” said Kelce, who had one reception last week. “He has the confidence, and as long as we give him the time and get open as wideouts, tight ends and running backs, he’s going to get the best of everyone.”

In return, Mahomes will continue to target some the NFL’s best at their respective positions. Kelce, Hill and running back Kareem Hunt have each played in the Pro Bowl.

They all caught scoring passes on Sunday, along with wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Chris Conley. A week earlier, Hill had two touchdown catches and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas and fullback Anthony Sherman had the others.

Additionally, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who also has a quiet day in the Chiefs’ opener in L.A., finished with six receptions for 100 yards and a 31-yard rush on Sunday.

“(Mahomes) has playmakers around him that can do different things out of the backfield as receivers,” Bostic said. “They are well balanced offensively.”

And when those stars play to their highest level, like Kelce did on Sunday, the offense is at its best.

Blair Kerkhoff

Blair Kerkhoff covers the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals and college sports for The Star.