‘Guys, we’ll be fine’

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy began Friday’s press conference by praising his team’s “brave and tough team victory” in Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, mentioning that many of the young players in the team excelled.

Soon after, Bieniemy went into detail about what made KC’s 23-20 victory possible when they were limited to three receivers for most of the second half following multiple injuries.

A large part of the win that sent the Chiefs to Super Bowl LVII was the resilience of rookie receiver Skyy Moore.

“I have to talk about this,” Bieniemy said, “because this is just to show you the growth of this guy.”

After game injuries to Mecole Hardman, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kadarius Toney, KC only had Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Marcus Kemp available as late wideouts.

This meant unexpected shuffling. And switching roles for each boy.

Bieniemy admitted on Friday that in that kind of situation, one of the biggest challenges is just “making sure we can get in line.” Moore, for his part, would often be asked to play somewhere other than normal.

On the sideline during the game, Bieniemy said he pulled the rookie aside to explain a particular play. And as Bieniemy recalls, that’s when Moore “yelled at me and said a few words to me. He won’t mutter those words.

“It was something like, ‘You just put me in, just tell me the personal and I’ll make it right,'” Bieniemy said.

The Chiefs’ offensive coordinator smiled as he told the story Friday, impressed by Moore with both his fire and adaptability.

“I said, ‘Guys, it’s going to be okay,'” Bieniemy said. “So that was nice to see.”

Moore received his greatest notoriety Sunday for a fourth quarter team special game, when he returned a punt 29 yards in the final minute of the game to set up Harrison Butker’s game-winning field goal.

In attack, however, his presence was also significant. He had 39 snaps at catcher—a season-high—with 19 of those coming as an outfielder, according to Pro Football Focus records.

For comparison, Moore had not gotten more than five snaps at wide receiver in any of his previous seven games.

“It’s tough when you’re out of your main boys, but I feel like we have one of the deepest receiver rooms in the league, just as ready as any man is to play every Sunday,” Moore said later. “And I feel like he showed it.”

He wasn’t the only receiver to step forward as he dealt with a unique situation Sunday.

Kemp – had played 10 offensive snaps all season for Chiefs coming into games – was up for 11 offensive snaps during the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game. He finished with 22 offensive plays and added a 13-yard catch.

Bieniemy described Kemp as an “outstanding pro football player”.

“He helped Skyy through the whole game, but then he just stepped up,” Bieniemy said. “Get a hold here. She is lining up. You are creating key and critical blocks for us. So I’m not shocked or surprised.

Valdes-Scantling, who had six catches for 118 yards and a touchdown, was also picked up by quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Thursday for helping the team’s second-half operation amid the chaos.

“He does a good job, but he not only walks his own paths, but when he was kind of the last guy out there, he was helping other guys get in the right position,” Mahomes said. “This is a testament to him studying the game plan and knowing the whole concept of the game plan, not just the paths to him.”

Bieniemy also highlighted wide receivers coach Joe Bleymaier’s contribution, saying he “did a great job with those guys all season.”

The end result advanced the Chiefs to Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles.

With Bieniemy particularly proud of the way these bosses have gone about getting there.

“The thing that stood out was the young players we’ve been working with all season, just having those guys set up to be at their best when the best was needed because of all the injuries that have been going on,” said Bieniemy . “I just thought it was a great team win.”

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