Notebook: Chiefs learning to live with Travis Kelce’s fumbles

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When Travis Kelce fumbled away a catch late in the first half of last Sunday’s game against Oakland, it was another chapter in what has been a bad habit the tight end has displayed over his short career

Dec. 6, 2015; Oakland; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) loses a fumble as he is tackled by Raiders defensive back Nate Allen (20) at Coliseum. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Dec. 6, 2015; Oakland; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) loses a fumble as he is tackled by Raiders defensive back Nate Allen (20) at Coliseum. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

“One play does not define you either way,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said in speaking about Kelce. “With him, he’s going to give you a handful of those (fumbles). You know that, but it’s not going to discourage you from continuing to throw him the football.”

Kelce’s 28-game career with the Chiefs has featured 123 catches and six fumbles, five that were recovered by the opponent.

The other guys turned those five recoveries into 20 points, including the Raiders’ touchdown at the end of the second quarter.

“When that happened before the half,” said Pederson, as a coordinator, I feel like it’s part of my job to go to him and say, We are going to keep coming to you. It’s not like we are not going to come to you; you are one of our leaders.’

You saw on that third-down catch (26-yard completion) and then the two-point conversion the trust that Alex (Smith) has in him.”

The third-year tight end had four fumbles last season, with three lost and two fumbles this season, with both going to the other team. Pederson and the Chiefs coaching staff would like to see Kelce improve his security of the ball when it’s in his hands.

“It’s the same old thing,” Pederson said. “It’s high and tight, it’s having ball leverage in his arm, he’s got to be aware that they strip the ball, he’s got to know the game situation in that moment of the game.”


The Chiefs had a pair of botched PAT kicks in last Sunday‘s game in Oakland and without question that was a subject of discussion and practice-field work this week.

Special teams coordinator Dave Toub absolved long snapper James Winchester of culpability in either attempt. Toub said the first PAT that was botched came when holder Dustin Colquitt lost control of the ball as he was placing it down for the hold. The second play was simply a miss by kicker Cairo Santos.

“Dustin in a rare occasion had the bottom of the ball slip out on him and when Cairo came to kick it, the ball was on an angle and he aborted the kick,” Toub said. “In a perfect world we still want him to try and kick that thing. Going forward, that’s what we’ll do.

“On the next one, Cairo just missed it, he didn’t follow through.”

How much did the first miss cause the second one? “It could be a little bit,” said Toub. “Fortunately our other guys came through and it did not cost us the game.”


The Chargers have lost seven of their last eight games and injuries have decimated the wide receivers position. But defensive coordinator Bob Sutton does not think that’s slowed down San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers.

“He’s playing at an extremely high level,” Sutton said. “I don’t think he even blinks an eye and worries about who is playing with him. He’s attacking you, full-fledged, no holds barred, nothing being saved. He’s done a great job. I think he’s done a great job considering all the injuries around him.”

Rivers has thrown 498 passes for 3,713 yards and a completion percentage of 67.3 percent. He’s tossed 23 touchdown passes against nine interceptions.

“He’s ultra-competitive,” Sutton said. “He doesn’t blink. He’s tough minded and he’ll sit in that pocket and you’ve got to come to work when you play a guy like him.”


Bob Gretz is the senior editor for Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @BobGretzcom.