10) Albert Wilson tip catch TD vs. Oakland, week 7
Opening the list is a play that some may have forgotten, but in many ways represents so much about the 2017 season for Wilson, Alex Smith, the Chiefs and the Raiders. Down 21-20 in the third quarter, on third and 12, Smith connects with Wilson for a 63-yard touchdown.
This was one of eight Smith touchdowns of more than 50 yards. To put that in perspective, as a Chief, Smith never had more than one touchdown pass of 50 or more yards in any of his earlier seasons. The fact that it was tipped off of a Raider defender shows the type of good fortune Smith had in a career, and a fair representation of a disappointing 2017 season for Oakland.
For Wilson, this was not even his most important catch of the season. The 5’9 wide out set a career high in touchdowns, yards per game and catches per game, highlighted by a 37-yard catch on third down against the Redskins that set up a game-winning field goal. Wilson’s productive season has been an underrated part of Kansas City’s success and the team did not win a game where Wilson did not suit up.
9) Marcus Peters strip fumble vs. Denver, week 8
The lone win in Kansas City’s 1-6 fall from Grace was one of the defense’s best of the season, led by cornerback Marcus Peters’ strip of former Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. Still scoreless at the time, Peters recovered his own fumble and took it to the house, the first of five forced turnovers of the game for the Chiefs.
Peters turned in a career high three forced fumbles in 2017, along with two fumble recoveries and five interceptions. The strip fumble has become a staple for Peters’ game, which sometimes has led to missed tackles, but also served as key moments for Kansas City. His strip fumble against Carolina in 2016 led to another Chiefs victory.
8) Kareem Hunt 69-yard TD vs Los Angeles, week 3
The running back has set more franchise and NFL records than anyone expected out of a third-round pick, and the rookie’s game-clinching 69-yard run sealed the deal in what would ultimately become a favorable opponent for Hunt.
It was just a seven-point game when Hunt took off with two minutes left, ending in one of three scores for more than 50 yards. This was also his third touchdown of 50 or more yards in his first three weeks as a pro and capped his most productive day of the year with 172 total rushing yards. It signified Hunt and the Chiefs’ early season ability to play even better in the fourth quarter.
7) Harrison Butker’s debut game-winner vs. Washington, week 4
Hunt gets and deserves all the accolades, but in any other year Butker would be a landslide winner for Chiefs rookie of the year. After missing the first three weeks of the season, all the rookie did was set the franchise record for most made field goals in a season and tie the record for most 50+ yard field goals in one season as well.
Butker has eight games with three or more made field goals, but no game was bigger than his week debut performance against Washington. After missing his first field goal attempt of his NFL career, Butker kicked through three straight, including the game-winner with just seconds left in overtime. A moment fans will look back on as the first of many for what ultimately may be the franchise’s best kicker.
6) Travis Kelce’s soaring TD vs. Philadelphia, week 3
2016 may have been the Pro Bowl tight end’s breakout season, but Kelce doubled his touchdown total in 2017 with eight scores on the season. He was Smith’s top target in the red zone and it’s not a coincidence that Kelce and Smith’s success are intertwined.
The raw skill of Kelce was never more on full display than in week three, facing his brother’s team, when he dropped everyone’s jaw at Arrowhead by jumping from the 5-yard line on a Smith inside pitch. He pushed off the backs of Eagle defenders and reached the end zone for one of the most entertaining touchdowns of the season and his career.
5) Tyreek Hill’s 57-yard Hill Mary vs. Dallas, week 9
Hill’s touchdown down in Dallas may be the top play of the season for Kansas City, but falls to five on the only because the Chiefs would go on to lose by 11 and waste any momentum that the play brought. But the play itself, as Jim Nantz said on the broadcast, impossible.
With two seconds left in the half down 14-3, Hill caught Smith’s pass at the Dallas 42-yard line and followed three Chiefs blockers, Kelce, Demetrius Harris and Demarcus Robinson, past seven Cowboy defenders into the end zone. While many teams opt for a “Hail Mary” at the end of a half and chuck a pass into the end zone, the Chiefs’ “Hill Mary” proved to be more effective and thrilling. The third most important score of Hill’s season, but easily the most impressive.
4) Alex Smith-Tyreek Hill 75-yard TD vs. New England, week 1
Down 17-14 with nine minutes left in the third quarter, Kansas City looked to be just hanging around in New England. The Chiefs had never led, and multiple fourth down stops had really kept things in check. But when Alex Smith unloaded the deep ball, for the first time in the game, shocking everyone, it was a statement that Kansas City could really win this game.
Smith and Hill connected for 75 yards to give the Chiefs a 21-17 lead. It silenced the crowd in New England and caught the attention of the entire nation watching the NFL season’s opening game. It would go down as one of the best games in Smith’s career, and this touchdown was the one that started it all and perhaps gave the quarterback even more confidence for what would become one of the franchise’s all-time most impressive regular season wins.
3) Chiefs win second straight division crown vs. Miami, week 16
No miraculous play or statement was made when the Chiefs beat the Dolphins, and perhaps the most memorable part will be head coach Andy Reid dressing up in a full Santa Claus suit for the post-game press conference. But the significance of the win stands right up there with all the other great moments that will be looked back upon in 2017.
The Chiefs clinched the AFC West division crown for the second straight year with the win, something that had never been done before in the franchise’s 58 years of existence. While excitement faded following the team’s 5-0 start, it meant that 2017 was in many ways still a success and solidified even more the regular season success that Reid and Smith have brought.
2) Alex Smith-Tyreek Hill 64-yard TD vs. Los Angeles, week 15
If the Chiefs didn’t beat the Chargers in week 15, the playoffs would be in serious jeopardy and sweeping changes would be fast approaching over the horizon. Losing six games after starting 5-0 was already a collapse, but Kansas City needed this win more than ever to prevent utter disaster.
When all was said and done the Chiefs walked away with a 17-point win, but the play that set the tone was the game’s first touchdown pass when Smith perfectly hit Hill in stride. Smith released the ball when Hill and the Charger defender were even with each other, showing the faith that Smith now has in his deep ball and receivers, along with the impressive ability for Hill to consistently burn corners and make big plays. This was his most important toasting of 2017.
1) Alex Smith-Kareem Hunt 78-yard TD vs. New England, week 1
The week one victory over New England simply set the tone for what would be a shocking start to the season. Kansas City was the talk of the NFL after accomplishing what so few have ever done in New England. In the fourth quarter, down six, Smith’s tight spiral of a deep ball found his rookie running back for a shocking 78-yard score, giving KC a lead they would not give up
It’s a perfect representation of the narrative the game would take on, with an out of nowhere rookie fumbling his first carry only to rebound in historic fashion with 246 total yards, and a thought to be game-manager quarterback slinging the ball all over the field. It’s hard to shock the reigning Super Bowl champs, but the Chiefs did just that with this game-winning play. It was a sign of things to come for the season, with both Hunt and Smith taking the league by storm.
Tyreek Hill punt return TD vs Houston, Kareem Hunt’s third TD vs New England, Travis Kelce TD vs. Washington, Chiefs’ potato sack race vs Dallas.
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