Since he first arrived at rookie minicamp last spring, Kansas City Chiefs rookie fifth-round pick Tyreek Hill has been dazzling everyone with his speed and athletic ability. The only question was whether or not all the moves and ability he was showing in shorts would translate over to the game field.
Through the first 14 games of his career, he's seemed to answer that question.
Hill is the sixth player in franchise history to earn a Pro Bowl invitation following his rookie season, joining cornerback Marcus Peters (2015), safety Eric Berry (2010), linebacker Derrick Thomas (1989), running back Joe Delaney (1981) and punter Bob Grupp (1979).
Through 14 games this season, Hill has 56 receptions on 71 targets for 547 yards receiving with a team-high six touchdown receptions, also adding 15 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns out of the backfield.
In the return game, Hill leads the NFL with an average of 14 yards per punt return, and he has touchdown returns on both a punt and a kickoff.
With a lot of different options to choose from, here are the top five plays from Hill's rookie season:
- Hill comes up clutch
Trailing 24-16 with three minutes left in the game, the Chiefs offense, which had struggled for much of the game, had to go 75 yards for the score, and then they'd have to pick up the two-point conversion if they were going to extend the game.
That's exactly what they did.
The 13-play, 75-yard drive led by quarterback Alex Smith culminated with a 3-yard touchdown pass to rookie Tyreek Hill, which was reviewed. It was determined that Hill had possession of the ball in the end zone before he was ruled down.
Hill finished the game with three touchdowns—one receiving, one rushing and one on a kick return.
That touchdown was only possible because of a fourth-and-10 conversion on the play prior— a pass to the far left side of the field, which also went to Hill. It was arguably the biggest play of the game, and Smith, while under duress, threw a perfect strike to the outside.
Hill finished the game with a team-high nine receptions for 52 yards.
- Hill takes the handoff 68 yards
Early in the first quarter, Hill, who was lined up in the backfield at running back, took the inside handoff and bounced it outside and was gone—racing 68 yards for the touchdown.
In the blink of an eye, Hill put the Chiefs on the board and scored his team-leading 10th touchdown of the season.
Hill now only trails Abner Haynes (12 TDs, 1960) and Billy Jackson (11 TDs, 1981) for the most touchdowns by a rookie in franchise history.
- Hill high-fives De'Anthony Thomas mid-touchdown return
After a couple of returns earlier in the game against the Denver Broncos were within inches of being broken off for a legitimate touchdown opportunity, Hill finally got loose on the ensuing punt after the safety forced by linebacker Justin Houston midway through the second quarter.
Hill put on the jets and raced around the right side 86 yards for the touchdown.
But perhaps the greatest thing about Hill's touchdown was the fact that he high-fived De'Anthony Thomas before he got to the end zone.
It was glorious, and it gave the Chiefs a 9-0 lead.
- Hill shows he's more than just speed
It was the kind of play we had seen from Hill going back to rookie minicamp last April, OTAs in June and then training camp in July, and the rest of Chiefs Kingdom just got to see it at Arrowhead Stadium when it mattered the most.
Hill burned the Saints for a 38-yard touchdown that can be considered the perfect example of Hill's speed translating to a big play for the offense.
The Chiefs lined up three receivers to the left with Hill on the far side running a go-route—the go-to route for a guy who can fly.
Smith threw it up and just let Hill go and run underneath it deep down the field, and that's exactly what Hill did as he seemed to turn it into another gear as the ball was in the air.
Hill tracked the ball well and even with some contact from the Saints defender, managed to haul it in for the third touchdown of his season.
- Crowd fires up Hill to break off a touchdown return
Hill finished the Thursday night game against the Oakland Raiders with six catches for 66 yards, which included a beautiful 36-yard touchdown from quarterback Alex Smith, who perfectly placed the ball to Hill on a post route against a Cover-4 look from the Raiders.
But the most memorable part of Hill's night came on a punt return in the second quarter, when the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium began a "Tyreek" chant after a penalty forced the Raiders to kick it to him again, and he made them pay.
Hearing his name echo throughout the stadium on the NFL's biggest stage in a primetime game, Hill made a couple of moves and accelerated 78 yards for the touchdown—similar to what we saw the last time he played in primetime earlier in the season against the Denver Broncos.
Hill became the first player in the Super Bowl era to have a kick return, a punt return, a rushing and a receiving touchdown in the same season.