Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill enters rare air with 1,000-yard season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Receiver Tyreek Hill does most things in style, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone he sped past the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season while hauling in a 64-yard touchdown catch and flashing the peace sign on the way to the end zone.

“It means a lot,” Hill said after the game about posting his first 1,000-yard season as a receiver. “I’m very happy.”

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill races to the end zone for a 64-yard touchdown catch during the team’s 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 16, 2017. (Photo by Justin Olson, ChiefsDigest.com)

Hill accomplished the feat midway through the second quarter. The Chiefs lined up for a third-and-2 at their own 36-yard line with five-wide formation. Quarterback Alex Smith saw Hill on the outside right in single-man press coverage against Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward. Hill ran a straight go-route, using his blazing speed to get past Hayward.

“Casey is a great defender, a Pro Bowl player,” Hill said. “I was fortunate enough to get this one.”

As hard as it might be to believe, Smith nearly overthrew Hill on the play. The speedster found an extra gear to track the ball down.

“He almost overthrew me,” Hill said “I went to the sideline and gave him crap for it. It was a good ball and I was able to run up under it.”

Smith worried for a moment he overthrew the ball, but then he remember who he targeted with the pass.

“I did think in the back of my head that if I did overthrow him on that one, that’s when I’m thinking, please don’t overthrow him,” Smith said. “He just has such an ability to track down footballs and made the play. That is the nice thing with him, there usually is not a lot of thinking.”

Hill led the Chiefs in receiving yards in the 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, hauling in five catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers came despite the Chargers paying plenty of attention to Hill much of the night.

“I thought they were very aware of where he was and giving him a lot of respect,” Smith said. “I think that’s why you saw a lot of the stuff underneath, open.”

The Chargers made just one mistake covering Hill all game, and the second-year receiver took advantage with the touchdown bomb.

“You just can’t do it in all situations and we got a good look there,” Smith said. “He was able to make the play which was sweet.”

Hill gave credit to Smith for making the quick read.

“It was just what Alex saw at the line,” Hill said. “I just run my routes. If the ball is up, I’m going to go get it.”

The 23-year-old Hill reached the 75-yard mark in each of the last three games, the first such streak of his career. He has 15 catches for 348 yards and three touchdowns, marking the most explosive three games of his young career.

He believes the Chiefs may finally be playing their best football, which a high-octane offense and opportunistic defense rounding into shape for the season’s stretch drive.

“We’ve got so much firepower,” Hill said. “Anybody’s capable. Especially with the offensive line protecting and Alex under the helm. Anything’s possible.”

Hill now has 69 catches for 1,074 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. That marks just the 20th time in franchise history for a player to break the 1,000-yard mark and just 10 players have accounted for those 20 seasons. Reaching the franchise record of 1,391 posted by Derrick Alexander in 2000, might be just out of range, but Hill still stands to turn in one of the best seasons by a wide receiver in team history

Only two receivers have posted 1,000-yard seasons under head coach Andy Reid during their first two years in the NFL. DeSean Jackson caught 62 passes for 1,156 yards and nine touchdowns in his second campaign in Philadelphia during the 2009 season. Hill has two more games to try to top that mark.

“Just to be up there with a name like that is absolutely amazing to me,” Hill said. “It’s a blessing. I’m thankful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to see where it takes me from here.”

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.

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