The biggest hit for the Kansas City Chiefs Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks came on the kickoff coverage unit, and it was delivered from a guy who isn't even used to playing special teams.
In his four years at the University of Hawaii, Marcus Kemp, whom the Chiefs signed as an undrafted free agent this year, said he played *maybe *10 total snaps on special teams in college, and that was only during his senior year because he knew he'd be going pro and that it was important for him to figure it out and get some experience there.
"When I got here, I knew that was how I was going to make the team, so I really took pride in it," Kemp said Friday night after the game.
Throughout training camp, Kemp was a guy who would often flash offensively, becoming one of rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes' favorite targets—even catching his first touchdown pass in that first preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers a couple of weeks ago.
As a senior last year, Kemp was consistent in his ability to make plays offensively, finishing with 73 catches for 1,100 yards with eight touchdowns.
But Friday night against the Seahawks, Kemp was a standout on special teams. He not only had the big hit on kick coverage, which backed up the Seahawks to their own 9-yard line and was one of his two special teams tackles on the day, but he also blocked a punt early in the second half.
"Being an undrafted guy, it's a big focus," Kemp explained of standing out on special teams. "Going through that (kickoff coverage), I got down there pretty fast and the guy who was supposed to block me, I don't think he expected me to be there when I was.
"So, he kind of got a bad drop and I got past him and Jehu [Chesson] did a great job pushing the (returner) towards me from the other side—so big ups to him, too. If I wasn't there, he probably would have made the tackle. So, [Chesson] pushed him towards me and I happened to be there for the big hit."
After the hit on the kick coverage, Kemp said his teammates were pretty happy for him on the sideline.
"This team is a family, so everyone was really excited," Kemp explained. "Especially if you're a guy like me, a rookie and young guy, who gets to go out there and make a play—everyone was giving me love. (Special teams) Coach [Dave] Toub let me know I did a good job, and that's all he needed to say."
"I was happy with some of the things he did," Chiefs coach Andy Reid added of Kemp. "He had a nice block there and he actually did pretty good things offensively, too."
Overall, Kemp was happy with his performance Friday night.
"It feels good," he said. "On the offensive end, I didn't do as well as I could have, but that comes with the territory. But on the special teams' front, I felt really good about my performance and I felt like I put on tape, even if I don't make this team, for another team to see that I can play. "I really feel good about watching the film and seeing good stuff."