LAS VEGAS, Nev. — All year, there was a consensus about the Kansas City Chiefs’ receiving corps: It wasn’t good enough. At least, the reasoning goes, Patrick Mahomes and Co. were really serious about winning a second straight Super Bowl.
It turns out those concerns weren’t entirely justified. Because the Chiefs hoisted the Lombardi Trophy again on Sunday night and their sloppy pass catcher rotation proved important in the brightest spots, with Mecole Hardman sealing the championship with an overtime touchdown – just the second frame more action in Super Bowl history.
Two years after saying goodbye to All-Pro speedster Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs had a total of 333 receiving yards from eight different players against the San Francisco 49ers. Prop Travis Kelce led the haul with nine catches for 93 yards, but everyone on the skill and position depth charts rounded out the production. Hardman also went for a 52-yarder on a drive downfield. Justin Watson took a 25-yard shot to the sideline. Rookie Rashee Rice showed up late with a keychain. And Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who only managed 20 yards as the most proven deep threat, still scored KC’s first touchdown of the night.
In other words, this was a true group effort and, most importantly, no glaring mistakes were made. Mental errors and untimely drops plagued the WR corps earlier this year, and Hardman was one of them. KC sure deactivated the polarizing Kadarius Toney, who played a role in some of this season’s most notable mistakes, but the endgame is all that matters: The Chiefs are champions again, and that means their setup at the broad level was championship caliber. , even if it’s barely.
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How well does Mahomes elevate the guys he targets? It’s difficult to quantify; he is obviously one of the most accomplished – and impactful – QBs in NFL history, even at 28 years old. Certainly, players seem to be producing higher clips with him as the signal-caller. But number 15 could not have won it all again without the presence of his supporting roles. Perhaps the Chiefs will look to improve this offseason. They probably should if they intend to go for a triple.
But for now, Hardman, Rice, Valdes-Scantling and any players deemed unworthy of the Super Bowl stage can rest easy Sunday night. Because they are indeed world champions.