KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every week it seems a different Chiefs receiver steps up with a big game, and in Sunday night's 19-13 loss to the Colts, it was Byron Pringle's turn to deliver a career outing.
Pringle hauled in six catches for 103 yards along with his first NFL touchdown. He entered the contest with two catches for 20 yards in the first four games of his professional career. Pringle enjoyed the moment, but would have preferred walking away with a victory.
“It doesn’t feel great without a W and without celebrating with my team,” Pringle said. “We'll get back in tomorrow and get everything situated and move on to next week.”
Pringle got involved quickly, catching three passes for 37 on the team's opening drive, which concluded with a 29-yard field goal by Harrison Butker.
The opportunity for Pringle arose when starter Sammy Watkins left after just two plays. Watkins entered the game with a hamstring injury and tried to gut it out to no avail. Pringle stepped up in his absence, said quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“He came and whenever he got his chances, he made plays,” Mahomes said. “That’s what we have to do on this team no matter who is out there.”
Watkins' departure left the Chiefs with a relatively young receiver corps with Pringle, Demarcus Robinson and rookie Mecole Hardman. The trio understood the burden on their shoulders with both Watkins and Tyreek Hill unavailable to the offense.
“We work at it, we work hard, we play hard,” Pringle said. “You don't ever know if a man will go down, so you got to know the playbook and be ready to step up in any given moment.”
Pringle didn't allow himself anytime to be nervous stepping in for Watkins.
“It's just like practice,” Pringle said. “It's time to show it though what you've been working hard for all week and be out there to showcase your talent and all the work we put in during the week.”
Pringle's biggest showcase moment came on Kansas City's second drive. Colts defensive end Justin Houston sacked his former teammate Mahomes on second down, setting up a third-and-18 from the Indianapolis 27-yard line. Mahomes immediately felt pressure and scrambled nearly all the way to midfield before reversing course.
Mahomes bolted back toward the line of scrimmage, letting loose a dart from around the 30-yard line. The rope found its way into the waiting hands of Pringle in the end zone for a touchdown.
“One thing about Mahomes, you just stay alive and keep moving because he will find you, anywhere on the field,” Pringle said. “Even if you were in the stands.”
The big day comes after a series of stops and stars for Pringle in his football career. He seemingly clinched a spot on the 53-man roster last season as an undrafted rookie before a torn hamstring in the preseason finale sent him to injured reserve. He made the active roster this season, but the team waived him Sept. 10 to make room for the return of receiver De'Anthony Thomas. Four days later, he returned to the roster.
Through it all, Pringle recalled one of the rules taught to him in college by former Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder – don't give up.
“I always keep a positive mindset even when I'm down,” Pringle said. “I've been in tougher situations and overcome adversity. I just always keep a positive mindset and smile at the end of the day.”
After Pringle's touchdown, the Chiefs offense went into one of its prepared group celebrations. Hardman, Robinson and tight end Travis Kelce joined Pringle for the Macarena dance in the end zone.
“We planned it during the week,” Pringle said. “I didn't know how to do that, man.”
That was the only thing it looked like he didn't have down pat on Sunday night.