Instead, their leading pass-catcher in Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Carolina Panthers was a rookie -- and a fifth-round draft choice at that. The Chiefs didn’t accomplish a lot when they passed the ball against the Panthers but when they did, inevitably the receiver was Tyreek Hill.
“He has a lot of tools,’’ quarterback Alex Smith said. “This isn’t a guy that I think you can box in as a speed guy, a quickness guy, an inside guy, a bubble guy. He can do a lot and I think he showed a lot of that today, (with) route-running, yards after the catch. He’s made plays with the ball down the field.’’
The Chiefs didn’t intend for him to be such a major factor in their offense. They thought he could help as a deep threat but mainly as a complement to Maclin, Chris Conley and Albert Wilson and also as a kick returner. Hill has become more than just a complementary player. Some of that is because the Chiefs have been unable to get more from Maclin and their other leading wide receivers. But Hill also has shown the ability to handle all of the various tasks the Chiefs ask of him, including sweeps and reverses in the running game and a lot of the receiving routes they have in their playbook.