Wide receiver Kadarius Toney came up with some big plays in the closing minutes of Super Bowl LVII that helped the Chiefs beat the Eagles, but he didn’t have the same kind of positive impact to kick off the 2023 season.
Toney dropped three passes, including one from Patrick Mahomes that bounced off his hands and into the hands of Lions safety Brian Branch. Branch returned the pick 50 yards for a game-tying touchdown in the third quarter and the overall performance made the Chiefs miss injured tight end Travis Kelce even more than they did when the night began.
Head coach Andy Reid said the drops — which were not limited to Toney — were “unusual” for the team and that they need to fix any issues with catching the ball before they get back on the field next week. Toney missed almost all of the team’s summer work while recovering from a knee injury and Mahomes said he trusts the wideout will not continue to have the same problems in the weeks to come.
“Stuff’s not always going to go your way, obviously. He would’ve wanted to catch a few of those in the game,” Mahomes said, via Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star. “But I have trust that he’s gonna be that guy that I go to in those crucial moments, and he’s gonna make the catch and win us some seasons like he did last year. So we’re gonna continue to work him in, get him more and more reps, and I’m sure those drops will kind of disappear.”
Missing Kelce definitely hurt the Chiefs, but they are going to need strong performances from Toney and their other wideouts whether the tight end is on the field or not. Thursday night showed there’s some work to do on that front.