Travis Kelce Milestone at Risk as Patrick Mahomes Sits Out Game

Chiefs Face Critical Decisions in Season's Final Game.

by Nouman Rasool
Travis Kelce Milestone at Risk as Patrick Mahomes Sits Out Game
© Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In a decisive Week 18 showdown, the Kansas City Chiefs face a crucial decision regarding their star tight end, Travis Kelce, as they prepare to take on the Los Angeles Chargers. Head coach Andy Reid is still weighing his options on whether Kelce will step onto the field.

The veteran player is on the cusp of an impressive milestone, needing just 16 yards to mark his eighth season with over 1000 receiving yards. However, with only one game left in the regular season, Kelce's opportunity hangs in the balance.

Adding to the Chiefs' strategic dilemma is the confirmation that their ace quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, will be sidelined for Sunday's game. In his stead, backup Blaine Gabbert will take the reins. This marks a rare occasion for the Chiefs, as the last time a quarterback other than Mahomes started a regular-season game was two years ago - coincidentally, also against the Chargers, with Chad Henne at the helm.

During that previous game, Reid had chosen to rest Kelce and other key starters, a decision made easier as Kelce had already surpassed the 1000-yard milestone. When questioned about the importance of reaching such milestones, Reid's response was cautious, noting the decision around Kelce's participation is "probably one-sided."

Rice and Pacheco's Milestones

The Chiefs are not just contending with Kelce's record.

Two other players, wide receiver Rashee Rice and running back Isiah Pacheco, are on the verge of their own significant achievements. Rice is a mere 62 yards away from a 1000-yard rookie season, and Pacheco is close to his first 1000-yard year, needing only 65 more yards.

However, both Rice and Pacheco were absent from Wednesday's practice, focusing instead on rehabilitation and recovery. Rice is grappling with a hamstring injury, while Pacheco is dealing with a quad contusion. Kelce, fortunately, is not hampered by any known injuries.

Gabbert, speaking about Kelce's potential participation, said, "If he wants to play, he'll play. If Coach Reid says have him rest, he's going to rest. But we're prepared to do our best to get him those 17 yards if he's on the field.

It means a lot to this organization." Reid has made it clear that Mahomes will be resting, but the strategy for other players, including Kelce, remains fluid. Kelce himself is undoubtedly eager to achieve the milestone, particularly in a season where his average yards per reception have dipped to a career-low of 10.6, a noticeable decrease from his previous lowest average of 12.2.

The tight end's year has already been marked by challenges. He missed the season opener against the Detroit Lions due to a knee injury sustained just days before the season's start, his first injury-related absence since his rookie season a decade ago.

Apart from two end-of-season games in 2017 and 2020, and a game in December 2021 due to COVID-19, Kelce has been a consistent presence on the field. As the Chiefs gear up for their final regular-season game, all eyes are on Reid's decision, with fans and the team alike hoping Kelce can secure his place in the record books.

Travis Kelce Patrick Mahomes Chiefs