By Matt Derrick
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Matt Moore dropped back on first down from the Minnesota Vikings 40-yard line and did something he promised himself he wouldn’t do again – under throw a ball toward receiver Tyreek Hill.
On second down, he didn’t miss his shot. Moore floated the ball down the right sideline, and Hill chased it down, securing in his outstretched hands and diving into the end zone for a score that jumpstarted the Chiefs offense in a 26-23 win over the Vikings.
“I saw him and he did a great job winning,” Moore said. “It’s nice when you see the DB’s back turned to you, and he is going, and I just tried to put it out there as best I could.”
Moore and Hill missed connection on their first two targets Sunday, but they didn’t miss anything after that. Hill hauled in six catches for 140 yards, good for a season high and the fifth-best total in his four-year NFL career.
Hill said he and Moore worked through the week on getting the timing right on the touchdown play. The play called for Hill to run a sail route, and head coach Andy Reid and receivers coach Gregg Lewis said it would hit if Hill sold it. The designed it to be Minnesota’s cover 2 defensive coverage.
“That particular play, I believe, was Cover 1, but I sold it and Matt threw a perfect dime,” Hill said.
Moore admitted this week that calibrating his timing with the Chiefs’ speed receiving required some adjustment time. But Hill said he’s felt comfortable with Moore from the moment he stepped in for Patrick Mahomes against Denver in Week 7.
“Coach Reid, he’s been doing this thing for so long that if he puts them at quarterback, just believe they’re going to do their thing at quarterback,” Hill said. “It doesn’t matter who is at quarterback in this offense. But Matt, he’s been doing a great job ever since Pat went down.”
Hill’s blazing speed proved critical in two plays without the ball even in his hands. On Damien Williams’ 91-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter that put the Chiefs up 17-16, Hill cut off cornerback Mike Hughes and escorted Williams into the end zone.
Hill said Williams had not clue he was coming up behind him so quickly.
“I told him if we had like 5 more yards, I would have stripped the ball from him and then took his touchdown,” Hill said with a laugh.
Later in the game with the Chiefs needing big plays on special teams, coordinator Dave Toub called on Hill as a punt returner.
“Whenever he need me, I told I’m available whenever,” Hill said. “Just let me know whenever you need me.”
Vikings punter Britton Colquitt’s first kick to Hill went out of bounds after 46 yards. But the second punt played right into Kansas City’s hands. Colquitt kicked away from the Minnesota 18-yard line.
“(Coach Toub) said, ‘Hey, let’s go, ‘Reek. Let’s go,’” Hill said. ‘It’s either going to be a bad kick or a touchdown.’”
Colquitt shanked the ball down the left sideline, going out of bounds at the Vikings’ 45-yard line and netting just 27 yards. The Chiefs used the favorable field position to setup a game-winning field from Harrison Butker.
“That was Dave’s plan,” Reid said. “You hope that he gets an opportunity to catch it and return it. If he doesn’t then the results were good results.”
Hill also provided the key play that put the Chiefs in field goal range for Butker. On third-and-4 from the Vikings 39-yard line, Minnesota brought a zero blitz and quickly collapsed the pocket around Moore. The quarterback managed to shoot the ball across to Hill on a hot route for 13 yards to put Butker in more manageable field goal range.
“Matt just dumped it out to me because the dude was playing like 8 yards off,” Hill said. “I was able to make him miss, get a few more yards and Sammy made a great block for me to get a few more extra.”
Hill said the Chiefs needed a win like this. After three-straight losses at Arrowhead and dropping three out of four overall, the Chiefs lost some of their swagger, especially playing the last two games without Patrick Mahomes.
“This team needed this victory because the vibe in the locker room past few weeks had been down,” Hill said. “A win like this is great, especially against a great team like this whose got a great quarterback, great head coach, great team period, so this was a great win for us.”
Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and a contributor for Sports Radio 810 WHB. Follow him on Twitter @mattderrick.