He could hear the fans. He felt the pressure.
It was one of the most memorable moments from a huge win for the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
The moment belonged to rookie fifth-round pick Tyreek Hill, who only two weeks ago did something that hadn't been done since Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers back in 1965. He'd have three touchdowns—one rushing, one receiving and one on a kick return—against the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football.
That was an all-time type of game and moment for Hill in Denver, but the next big moment took place on Thursday night at Arrowhead.
Midway through the second quarter and with the Chiefs holding a 14-3 lead, the Raiders had to punt the ball to Hill, who tried his best to stay up after losing his balance. He was ultimately tackled for a loss of four yards on the return.
But there was a flag on the play. The Raiders were called for a "player out of bounds" and would have to re-punt it to Hill after a 5-yard-penalty.
That's when it started—"TY-REEK, TY-REEK."
The crowd at Arrowhead broke out into a chant supporting their young electrifying playmaker, who had just lost 4 yards on a return and had lost a muffed punt earlier in the game that led to a Raiders field goal and a 3-0 deficit.
Despite a couple of special teams struggles, Hill heard the crowd and got the message.
"It means a lot to me [to hear that] coming from the fans," Hill explained. "It boosts my confidence and I just want to thank the fans. It was crazy, I didn't know what to do. Kansas City fans put a lot of pressure on me, and I appreciate that.
"I guess the punt return team had to get one, and that's what we did. We did it for the fans."
Hill took the 54-yard punt from the Raiders' Marquette King and retreated in the middle of the field as he caught the ball, but there was nobody within 15 yards of him.
That's just too much space for Hill, who took a few steps to his left to set up the first block before breaking up the field and showing off his electric speed.
Hill, who doesn't need much space to make a play, was given plenty. With some key blocks giving him a lane—he did the rest, electrifying a crowd that just moments before were voicing their support for him.
"I do not think I have ever seen anything like what happened tonight," Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. "For them to get the penalty and we ask them to kick again and I have never seen a stadium chanting a name like that and then he houses it. It gave me chills on the sideline. I mean the whole stadium was chanting his name and he answers.
"I thought was one of the coolest things I have seen."
"I'm proud of the kid," Chiefs coach Andy Reid added after the game. "I've mentioned that in the past here that I'm proud of him more for what he's done off the field than on the field. He's trying to right a wrong.
"So, listen, he's doing the right things and trying to do the right things here now. My hat goes off to him there."
Hill became the first player in the Super Bowl era to have a kick return, punt return, a rushing and a receiving touchdown in their rookie season. It had only happened two other times ever and both of those players—Bobby Mitchell (1958) and Gale Sayers (1965) are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Pretty good company for Hill.
The return wasn't the only big play that Hill had in the game either. He finished with six receptions for 66 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown that gave the Chiefs the lead early in the game.
"It was Cover 4 (defense) and Alex [Smith] noticed it right away," Hill explained of the play. "He was able to drop in a dime and I was able to run up under it."
Hill ran a post route down the middle of the field and Smith led him beautifully into the end zone.
"It was kind of what they were playing all night," Smith explained of the play. "It was like two high safeties kind of playing what we call a cover four quarters and we just got Tyreek matched up. I felt like the safety ticked his feet and Tyreek ran right by him. Obviously good protection up front for us to do that. You know, the guys battling up front and Tyreek really blowing right by two guys."
It's now five straight games that Hill has gone for at least 50 yards receiving in a game, and he leads the Chiefs this season with nine total touchdowns (six receiving, three on special teams).
"I think he's very intelligent," Reid added. "I'm not sure people know that, but he's a smart kid. If you look at his aptitude test – it's way up there. He picks things up easily. We're moving him all over the place. Then, he wants to be here. There has to be a want to be involved in that.
"He wants to be the best one out there."
Smith, who finished the game 17 of 26 for 264 yards with a touchdown and an interception, said it's been a process for Hill.
"For a young kid, the stage is not too big," Smith added. "He does not blink out there. We can do a lot with him and move him around and he can play in a lot of different positions. He is on it. He prepares every week. There was a process but it was very clear early on in OTAs that he had a lot of ability and gradually they put more and more on his plate and asked him to do different things.
"I think he has responded really well."