Kelce is in pursuit of extending his club record and NFL record for a tight end
Blaine Gabbert will step in for Mahomes at SoFi Stadium, with the Chiefs 10-6
Travis Kelce is set to play against the Chargers on Sunday, as he targets another record: an eighth consecutive season of 1,000-plus receiving yards after 17 games, though the Kansas City Chiefs have ruled out quarterback Patrick Mahomes for their regular season finale in Los Angeles.
The team’s update came roughly three hours before this weekend’s game at SoFi Stadium, with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid deciding to rest his starting signal-caller being listed as the official reason for the two-time Super Bowl champion’s omission.
Kelce only needs 16 receiving yards against the Chargers to extend his club record and NFL record for a tight end with his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season. If he gets there on Sunday, then it is more likely to be thanks to a pass from Chiefs backup QB Blaine Gabbert, than anyone else. Gabbert will start for the first time in the NFL since 2018, back when he was on the Tennessee Titans.
It will also be the veteran’s 49th start of his career. Gabbert, who has played for six teams in 12 seasons, said he doesn’t expect many changes with him running the offense.
‘We run coach [Andy] Reid’s offense, and ultimately, that’s what we’re going to run. Every quarterback is different, every quarterback does things differently, some things better than others et cetera, et cetera,’ Gabbert said. ‘We’re just going to run our offense. Hopefully throw to the open guy, run the ball well and score some points.’
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes will be rested against the Chargers for the start of the playoffs
Chiefs starting tight end Travis Kelce will play as he chases another individual league record
Along with Mahomes, the Chiefs could rest several other key players on Sunday, and potentially cost them some significant milestones.
Besides Kelce, wide receiver Rashee Rice needs 58 yards receiving to break Dwayne Bowe’s franchise rookie record. And defensive tackle Chris Jones needs a half-sack to trigger a $1.25 million bonus for reaching 10 on the season.
Reid will not be sitting all of his starters, and he knows there are some meaningful numbers at stake.
Kelce and Mahomes have won two Super Bowls and are inarguably one of the NFL’s best duos
QB veteran Blaine Gabbert (second from left) will earn his first NFL start since 2018 on Sunday
‘It depends on what the milestone is. We´ll see how all that goes,’ Reid said.
The Chargers (5-11) have dropped four straight and seven of their last eight. They are locked into a top-eight draft pick while they search for a new coach and general manager. Brandon Staley and Tom Telesco were fired on December 15.
In the midst of one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history, the Bolts would like to end on a winning note for interim coach Giff Smith.
‘The motivation to get ready for this game is not an issue. You have seen these last two games, these guys have come out and played hard. We just have to find a way to get over the hump,’ Smith said. ‘As far as anything personal goes, that’s kind of irrelevant to me right now. I want to do right by these guys and the organization and go out there and beat Kansas City.’