The Kansas City Chiefs had more than one guy snubbed from the Pro Bowl roster.
Every year there are always guys who are snubbed from the Pro Bowl. Matthew Stafford is a prime example of that this season. The man has once again put the Detroit Lions on his back, and is trying to singlehandedly take the team to the playoffs. He’s top three in just about every major category in the NFC but was not voted in.
The Kansas Chiefs, on the other hand, are headed to the playoffs with a roster full of talent that a bunch of teams would love to have. Unfortunately, because of a 1-6 stretch in the middle of the season, it looks like it killed a lot of guys Pro Bowl chances.
Tyreek Hill was actually selected as a Pro Bowler for the second straight season, but only as a returner. It’s a slight to the incredible season he’s had in his first year as an actual wide receiver. Hill isn’t even top 10 in return yards and hasn’t returned kickoffs this season. Hill is an alternate at receiver, but he has a good case to start. He is a wide receiver and it needs to be recognized.
Hill has five 50-plus yard touchdowns this season. Twelve teams have that many among all of their receivers combined, which is utterly absurd. Hill also has four touchdown catches of at least 60 yards this season. No other player has more than two.
He’s routinely made All-Pro corners look like they are standing in cement. Casey Hayward has been nothing short of a shutdown corner for San Diego, but in two games against the Chargers this season, Hill has 10 catches for 165 yards.
Hill’s overall season numbers read like a seasoned veteran. He’s currently one of only seven receivers with 1,000 yards, more than guys like A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Brandin Cooks and Larry Fitzgerald. Among receivers with a minimum of 60 catches, he’s seventh in yards, second in yards per reception, first in yards per target, second in catch percentage and sixth in touchdowns.
For a guy in his first full season at the position, he’s certainly made quite the impression. To think that he’s admitted he’s not a good receiver but a great athlete is scary for the rest of the league.
Alex Smith is having the best season of his career — and it’s not even close. The list of career bests he’s posted is extensive. Yards, touchdowns, interceptions, QBR, 20-plus-yard passes and 40-plus-yard passes are all at career best levels with two games to go. He’s also tied a career high in YPA this season.
Smith threw his NFL-leading eighth touchdown pass of 50-plus yards last week against the Chargers. No other quarterback in the NFL has more than five this season. Smith has put up all of these numbers despite having the worst seven-game stretch of his career this season. If you look at the numbers during that stretch, it wasn’t even statistically bad. A 62 percent completion percentage, 12 touchdowns against four picks and a 92.1 QBR isn’t all that bad.
The only reason Chiefs fans wanted him benched was because he left too many plays on the field. Phillip Rivers goes in as the third quarterback, and Smith has outperformed him both head-to-head and all season. Smith has a better touchdown to interception ratio, QBR, completion percentage and yards per attempt average, and he’s breathing his down Rivers neck in passing yards.
Smith has had the best season of his career by far, and it’s a shame that he isn’t rewarded for such a performance mostly because of the team’s brutal middle part of the season.
Justin Houston is a curious case in this scenario. If you are an edge guy with the talent he possesses, most of your performance is judged by the amount of sacks you get. Houston only has 9.5 this season and has only recorded two sacks in the past six weeks. That doesn’t mean he isn’t playing well; it just means the numbers don’t match the film.
Houston is still a premier pass rusher and is borderline impossible to block one on one. The problem he’s run into is that the teams the Chiefs play tend to get rid of the ball pretty quickly. Houston didn’t record a single sack in week 15 but was still the highest graded edge defender according to Pro Football Focus.
Why? Because Houston does everything well. In week 15, he recorded five pressures in 28 pass rush snaps and two run stops in 18 run snaps. Those numbers are a reoccurring theme, not just a one-off. Houston has proven he’s not a one trick pony and is quite possibly the best all around edge defender in football.
The sack numbers may not show it, but Houston has without a doubt had one of the most dominant seasons at his position.
All three of these guys were selected as alternates, but all three of them have serious cases to be Pro Bowl starters. If only the Chiefs hadn’t have gone 1-6 in the middle of the season.