Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is a Pro Bowler for the second season in a row. With two games to go, he has already set new career highs in several statistical categories, including targets (103), receptions (73), yards receiving (957) and first-down receptions (48).
"I was there last year, so I had the expectation of reaching that accomplishment again knowing that we had the same kind of core group of guys on the offense," Kelce told reporters Wednesady. "That's how you get it, you get the guys around you to play amazing. You get the accolades off of that, I can't do it without Alex [Smith], the O-line and the receiving corps. It's a testament to the guys around you."
Here are five moments that stood out about Travis Kelce's 2016 Pro Bowl season:
5. CLOSER IN RANGE **
Remember that final drive in overtime in Denver? Remember how close Cairo Santos was to missing the game-winning 34-yard field goal? Let us take you back to a play before. With the Chiefs at the Denver 32-yard line and less than 40 seconds on the clock, quarterback Alex Smith snapped the ball out of the shotgun. Kelce slants across the middle and Smith hits him. Kelce evades a tackle by safety Darian Stewart, then sprints up the field for a 16-yard gain.
Had that play not been successful, Santos may have been kicking from 45 to 50 yards out instead and perhaps the Chiefs tie.
4. QUARTERBACK TRUST
We stay with the theme of overtime for No. 4. After the Chiefs rallied back from 21 points down to tie the game at 27 and send it to overtime, at second-and-10 at the San Diego 23-yard line, Smith sees Kelce down the left sideline in one-on-one coverage. Smith sees it's a linebacker and throws it up to Kelce on a near-50-50 ball, and Kelce comes down with it for a first down.
One of the best traits of the now-two-time Pro Bowler is his ability to make defenders miss in space (See No. 5, again). This play from Week 3 against the New York Jets was one of Kelce's longest receptions of the season, but the beauty is that at the point of the catch, he's only about 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. That means Kelce went about 30 yards using his speed and athleticism. Kelce is currently fifth in the league with 512 yards after the catch this season.* *
2. GETTING DIRTY
No. 2 is the first of three touchdowns Kelce has this season. The Chiefs are in the red zone 12 yards out, and Kelce runs a drag route. Smith hits him right at the line of scrimmage, and Kelce takes it the full 12 yards by himself. The key part of the play is at its end, when hearing the footsteps of three Jets, he dives for the pylon and the touchdown.
1.SETTING THE TONE
It's Week 8 and the Chiefs are driving in the second quarter. If you watch the full clip (above), Kelce puts an insane double-maneuver on cornerback Vontae Davis, giving Nick Foles a window. Foles throws it high to Kelce, who jumps up and snags it out of the air. As he comes down, he's hit by both Davis and safety T.J. Green, but still comes down with the ball and touchdown.
It didn't matter who the quarterback was. The Chiefs had a 10-0 lead.