Chiefs’ offense powered by Georgia speed

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the focal point of team’s potent offense, but some of his main weapons have deep Georgia roots.

Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman figure to play key roles when the Chiefs (16-2) face the Buccaneers (14-5) in Super Bowl LV at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Hill played at Coffee High before going to junior college and later playing at Oklahoma State. Hardman played at Elbert County and Georgia.

“They are both just playmakers,” Mahomes said. “That’s what they are. They are great receivers. They can make plays running the ball. They can make plays down the field. They can run the routes intermediately.”

If Demarcus Robinson (Peach County High and Florida) clears the reserve/COVID-19 list, he’ll add to the Georgia speed on the field. It was Robinson who broke free for the winning touchdown in the Chiefs’ 17-14 victory over the Falcons on Dec. 27 during the regular season.

“I always joke with them that Texas football is a little bit better than Georgia, but they’ve definitely got the speed out of Georgia for sure,” Mahomes said.

Hill has caught 104 passes for 1,559 yards and 15 touchdowns passes this season. Hardman, who also returns punts and kickoffs, has 48 catches for 622 yards and five touchdowns.

Hill knows how he and Hardman get open.

“We have (two) of the best play-callers of all time,” Hill said. “Play-callers. Play scheme. Play creators in Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy.”

When teams cover Hill deep, the Chiefs will try to spring him on shorter routes that he can turn into long-gainers.

“Those guys spend countless hours in the film room getting us open,” Hill said. “I feel like me and Mecole’s job is easy. We’ve been fast our whole entire life, so just going out (and) just playing at a very fast (pace) is basically easy.”

Playing with Mahomes, the league’s reigning MVP, also is very helpful.

“We have a great quarterback, a MVP quarterback, who’s amazing,” Hill said. “That definitely makes it easier.”

Hill was named All-Pro for the third time this season. He destroyed Tampa Bay in the regular-season meeting with 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns Nov. 29.

“It’s been fun,” Hill said. “This whole entire year has been fun, just being able to bring that energy for the team when it’s needed. For me and Mecole both, that’s been fun.”

Hill doesn’t know what to expect from the Bucs in the Super Bowl. He also brushed off Bucs receiver Scotty Miller’s challenge to a race.

“For me to just sit here and say that someone can keep up with me,” Hill said. “I feel like in my heart that no one can keep up with me. I ran track. I ran Olympic track, so somebody in the NFL, I don’t really believe so.”

For the record, Hill has covered the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds, Hardman in 4.33, Miller in 4.39 and Robinson in 4.59.

Hardman, who goes in motion a lot, also is a threat to run the ball.

“We are just giving defenses different looks,” Hardman said. “Sometimes as a decoy. Sometimes, I actually get the ball. Those type of things are to keep a defense honest, and then whenever I get a chance to get the ball in my hands, it’s like, hey man you either are going to get me on this edge or you’re not.”

If he wins the edge, the result normally is a long gain.

“Whenever I get the edge, I think I have a pretty good feel of finding my way through the holes and getting down the field,” Hardman said. “(Reid) tries to get me out in the open space.”

To go with the speedy receivers from Georgia, the Chiefs also have tight end Travis Kelce.

“We definitely have a lot of firepower, for sure,” Hardman said. “My role is the type of guy who gets to take advantage (of the defense) when the opportunity presents itself. That’s my role.”

With most defenses focusing on Hill and Kelce, Hardman tries to take advantage of any one-on-one opportunities.

“I don’t want to say they forget about me, but there is a certain amount of attention on other people,” Hardman said. “I might have a Jet sweep, and they are not respecting it. Just making that big play in the game to switch the momentum or keep the momentum going, that’s kind of like my X-factor moment in the game.”

In addition to Hill, Hardman and Robinson, the Chiefs have Sammy Watkins. Also, Mahomes has been known to scramble to give his receivers more time to get open.

“If I can give guys like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins, all of these guys, more time to get open, they usually can do it,” Mahomes said. “At that point, I try to get them the ball. Usually, it’s not that long of a throw, but when you get those guys in space, they can make a lot of yards happen after it.”

Hill relishes those second-chance plays.

“When I started playing football it was actually in the backyard,” Hill said. “Just being able to run around and find those open lanes or just get open. I’ve been doing that every since I was a kid. Running around, just get open. Pat is special. Our communication is great.”

Reid has been pleased with Hill’s growth this season.

“You look at the things that he was tweeting out, or I’m not sure how it was getting out there, but the different videos of his workouts in offseason and how he went about that and how hard he worked,” Reid said. “It’s great for the young kids to see somebody with that much skill and ability working that hard.”

If the Chiefs pull off the repeat, the Georgia speed most likely will be a factor.

“The job isn’t done,” Hill said.

Falcons’ 2021 draft position:

NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks released his Mock Draft 1.0 and has the Falcons selecting BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. He has Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields going second overall to the New York Jets.

Bucky’s picks

1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

2. New York Jets - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

3. Miami Dolphins (via Houston) - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

4. Falcons - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

5. Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

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