Travis Kelce is on the verge of breaking the single-season receiving yards record for tight ends.
With 1,318 receiving yards heading into Sunday’s tilt versus the Atlanta Falcons, the Kansas City Chiefs’ TE needs 60 yards to break the record set by George Kittle in 2018 (1,377).
“If you look at history and you look at the seasons tight ends have had, he’s got to have one of the best as far as catching the ball and being a playmaker on offense,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes boasted of his teammate, per ESPN. “That speaks for itself.
“It’s truly a special season by a tight end and not just by a tight end but just a player, a game changer.”
Averaging 94.1 yards per game, Kelce is poised to smash the record. In the same year Kittle set the current mark, the K.C. TE netted 1,336 yards, placing him second all-time. With this season’s production, Kelce became the only tight end in NFL history with 1,300-plus receiving yards in multiple seasons. He’s also the only TE in NFL history with 1,000-plus receiving yards in 5 seasons (Kelce has done so in each of the last 5).
Kelce credits his unique athleticism, which allows him to get open where other tight ends his size struggle.
“Being able to get a big body to change direction, I think that’s huge,” Kelce said. “I don’t think a lot of tight ends incorporate that enough. I got a lot of that from playing hockey when I was younger, being able to play on the inside and outside of skates, as well as on the basketball court, being able to put my foot into the ground and crossover.
“Just being able to incorporate other sports into my game has definitely helped me out.”
Kelce also has 98 receptions in 2020, five shy of his own Chiefs record for a single season (103 in 2018) and two receptions shy of becoming the first TE in NFL history with 100-plus receptions in multiple seasons.
The Pro Bowler has earned 8-plus receptions in each of his last seven games, the longest streak by a TE since at least 1950, per NFL Research.
Kelce currently sits second in receiving yards, just six behind DeAndre Hopkins. If he could leapfrog the wideout, Kelce could become the first tight end to lead the NFL in receiving yards for a season.
Kelce has always been a productive player, but the 31-year-old has reached another level combined with Mahomes’ otherworldly play and Andy Reid’s friendly scheme to form an unstoppable force. The TE can muscle smaller defenders, streak past bigger, slower players, and find gaps in any defense. His rapport with Mahomes on broken plays is magical.
“The biggest thing in terms of route running for me is knowing what the defense is in, knowing the coverage,” he said. “Once you know the coverage, now you can start manipulating the defense. You can start to kind of trick them in where you’re going to go and where you want to get open.”
Kelce gets open with ease few at his position can boast. Sunday he could set the single-season record for his position, putting his stamp on NFL history.